My Monday solo hike of the Sulphur Springs Trail at Paris Mountain State Park was my pacing hike. Sulphur Springs Trail is rated strenuous and makes a good stamina-building hike within an easy drive from my home or my paying job. On the park’s rating system of 1-10 with one being the easiest, the part of the trail that challenges me the most physically and mentally is rated a 9. I looked up the rating of the rest of the trail this morning and was surprised to see it is an 8. Still pretty strenuous, but perhaps I’m not as much of a remedial hiker as I first assumed because I don’t really struggle to hike anything but the Please Someone Come Get Me Path (my current name for the rated-9 section).
In my day pack, I had a first aid kit, hand sanitizer, two granola bars, keys, my wallet, earbuds, my phone, my journal, and a 5-lb bag of flour. No joke. I packed the flour for extra weight as a way of beginning to train myself for the weight I will be carrying in my big girl backpack on trips. With a full bottle of water, the weight of what I carried on my back came in at just under 9 lbs starting weight. Not too shabby for my first weighted hike.
I was hoping for a better completion time, but I did take two photo stops and two Is-this-how-I-die? stops on the most taxing section of the trail. Also, when I finished the roughest bit, I thought I was way closer to the car than I actually was and lollygagged until I heard some other hikers start to come up behind me. Then I hiked double-time in an effort to avoid them seeing my tomato face and asking concerned questions about my wellness.
Sulphur Springs Trail Stats
Length: Approximately 3.6 miles
Time from start to finish: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Stops: 4 (I am not counting pauses of less than 30 seconds or so to take a drink of water or readjust my pack as stops. I took two stops for photos and two rest stops.)
My goal on my next trip along Sulphur Springs is to improve my time. I’ll get to cutting down my stops in the next couple trips. Since I’m writing about my hikes, I know one or two photo stops are a must. But I will be able to cut out my rest stops along the most strenuous portion of the trail soon(ish). I’m won’t rush it, though. After all, just the fact that I’m out there is a pretty big accomplishment. I’ll revel in that for awhile until it gets old (which will probably happen in one or two more hikes) and then I’ll find some new something to overcome.