Today was our first training climb at the highest point in Alabama. Mt. Cheaha is around 2400’ high and they put a nice little state park all around it so flatlanders like us can experience some views and hiking. We are training to hike Pike’s Peak in June which will start around 6000’ and climb 13 miles to 14,110’. How does a person from Alabama train for something like that? A lot of hiking, treadmill incline training, and tons of cardio training. We are not worried as much about physical strength. Cardio strength in elevation is the main obstacle.
We got up early Monday and threw lunch together. After spending some time checking out other trail reports, I knew the Lake Trail would be the most challenging. It’s a 1000’ drop in the first half mile. It’s rocky. It’s technical. We wanted to carry our packs and trekking poles and get in some good hiking. We planned to hike down to 1,000’ to the valley lake, eat lunch, then hike up.
The hardest part about this trail is finding it. The trail head is about .2 of mile down a hill from the parking for another shorter trail head. We didn’t realize this since the map said “parking available at every trail head”. The Lake Trail head is between cabins 8 and 9. We had to circle back around the whole park so we could use the legal trail head parking and walk down to the cabins.
This is where I say, wow.
All of those are from the top. These boulders are the only things we climbed down for about .4 of a mile. It was treacherous and very slow. I remember thinking “climbing this back up is going to be….tough”.
The look back up to what we must now climb.
The look down. The bottom of the picture shows the trail. It’s a definite “single track”.
Almost to the top. We were now scrambling. Using hands and legs to pull/propel.
Done! Back at the top.
The next time we travel to hike, we are going to check out parts of the Pinoti trail which is part of the Appalachian Trail. Many sections of it begin in the Talladega Forest, close to Cheaha. Next weekend, we are going to tackle the 18 miles of a lake trail in Tuscaloosa. Not much elevation, just long intense cardio training and time on our feet. June will be here before we know it!