On the last day of May, 2020, I took a hike on Grandfather Mountain. The route was on the Profile Trail from NC Hwy 105 most of the way to Calloway Gap at the top of the mountain.
This trip was my first real mountain hike in several years. Due to several illnesses, injuries and medical procedures – including two hip surgeries – plus getting older and fatter, I had lost most of my conditioning. Recently I would get out of breath walking up a set of stairs in a building. Thanks to many tennis matches and some town park trail walking this spring, I have regained some of that conditioning. Now that I am 68 years old, I probably will never again have the stamina I had in my thirties and forties [who does?] but at least things are improving.
Starting out I still had to stop and rest about every five minutes to settle my breathing, especially while climbing uphill. After a couple of hours I got acclimated and needed fewer rests.
Most of my time was spent fiddling with my fancy-dancy GPS. It is made for backpacking or canoeing trips far into the wilderness, so it is more complicated, and less use intuitive, than a vehicle GPS. It has all kinds of powerful functions that work outside cell phone range, like sending and receiving texts with friends, emergency rescue calls with your exact latitude and longitude location given, weather reports, planning routes, marking important spots on maps, showing your location, navigating and many kinds of status reports [such as how may miles to the next camp spot and how many hours to get there based on current travel speed].
I have had several similarly powerful backpacking GPS’s in the past, which were mostly as non-user friendly. I used them on numerous extended trips, like in Grand Teton National Park, Wind River Range Wilderness and Glacier National Park. But I was never able to make them fully functional. There was always some software or hardware component which I could not master.
The good news is today everything seemed to work. I did a number of tests which were all successful.
Now I need to get in even better physical shape so I can invite some friends to go with me and not be dragging behind the first two hours.