ImageImageImageThis past weekend, I hiked to the bottom of Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville, Georgia. “Hiked” might not be an accurate term, since I really walked down the 425 iron steps to the bottom of the main falls, and then back to the top. Amicalola is a Cherokee word meaning “tumbling waters”, and the falls are the tallest east of the Mississippi river, at 729 feet high. Starting from the top, the hike down was easy, but I found my legs shaking when I got to the walkway at the bottom, and I had to keep moving periodically because I felt I might fall if I didn’t. The hike back up was not as bad as it could have been, but much harder than it should have been.  My goal was to stop  two or three times during the hike back up, and I ended up stopping a bit more than that (think every landing). I had a stitch in my side, and I was breathing rather heavily. I made the mistake of being somewhat unprepared, since it was a spur of the moment trip that my family hadn’t planned on taking. The plan was to go to Tellus, the science museum in Cartersville, GA, but somehow we got turned around and passed the falls, and decided to go there instead, since we were lost.

 The weather was perfect for a morning hike, with none of the summer heat and little of the humidity indigenous to Georgia having set in yet,   and the scenery made the trek down as pleasant as any hike I’ve been on.  The signs marked the difficulty of the trail as strenuous. As much as I’d rather not admit it, with all the other things going on in life, I’ve become something of a weekend warrior. Seven years ago, when I returned from my two years of Peace Corps service, the trail would have been rather easy, but that was before the seven years of 60-80 hour weeks in the classroom, the fifty extra pounds I have found in the interim, and my grandmother’s illness for which she required round the clock care for two years before her death.

Since I am not teaching this year, I am making a special effort to get back to that same level of fitness I once enjoyed. This weekend’s hike reminded me that there is room to do more on that front, although I do try to stay pretty active. I walk regularly, play catch with my brother and my niece, and am learning to play golf. I had considered Couch to 5 k last year, but because of work, it didn’t fit my schedule, so I dismissed the idea. That was before I learned that iTunes carries podcasts of the C25k workouts, so I could do it on my own. So, I plan to start this week.  I’ll let you know how it goes, as the weeks pass.

What places do you like to visit with your family? What do you do to stay active? I’ll look forward to reading about it in the comments below.