Oh Kennesaw…every time I’m here, I have some kind of issue. This hike was full of all kinds of “adventures”…and lessons learned.
Well. This hike was actually intended to be a short trail run. Starting at the Visitor Center, jogging along the Visitor Center Cutoff Trail, then cutting back at the Camp Brumby Cutoff and returning to the Visitor Center via the Kennesaw Mountain Trail. I got my run in, but missed my turn for the Brumby Cutoff. I should have just turned around and headed back the way I came, but I thought I’d head around the Camp Brumby Trail and take a short cutoff trail I saw on a map in my hiking app. Unfortunately when I got to that turn…there was no built trail. So I kept going. At this point I had settled in and knew it was going to be a much longer day, but I still thought there was a way around the Little and Big Kennesaw Mountain peaks. Wrong.
I preach the ten essentials, but for this hike I really didn’t do much prep, and suddenly found myself without enough food or water. I was hiking about 5 more miles, hundreds of feet of elevation and in much hotter and more exposed temperatures than I had planned and packed for. UGHHHH…lesson learned, Mother Nature.
As I rounded the Pigeon Hill Trail to start climbing Little Kennesaw, I was quickly warming up. I realized I would probably need to ration my water. Had I not been so wiped from the beginning of my hike (I ran, remember? probably another reason I was so wiped out), this would have been really enjoyable. I was on a new-to-me trail that was quite pretty, and I even stumbled upon a cactus! I didn’t expect to see that on a bald mountain top in Georgia. As I climbed French’s Rock Trail, I started to feel a little off balance. Not quite disoriented, but it was clearly time to stop, eat something, and drink some of the little water I had left.
After this break I felt a lot better, and headed towards the Kennesaw Mountain summit. From the top, there are two ways down. Although I wasn’t prepared like I should have been, there are still lots of little decision points along the trail (like picking when to eat and drink). Heading down the mountain was one of those points. I could head down the trail, or walk the road, which added distance to my hike, but in case I got into REAL trouble, I could signal one of the cars driving the road that connects the parking lots at the top and bottom of the mountain. I felt so terrible I went with the road.
Luckily, I made it down just fine and made a beeline for the water fountain at the Visitor Center. After chugging water and scarfing down whatever food I had left on me, I felt well enough to drive the few minutes to get McDonald’s. It’s amazing how fast some salty fries and a sugary Coke can snap you out of a big bonk. At this point I felt fine and headed home, resolute to carry what I SHOULD when day hiking from now on…
Have you ever had a big bonk on a hike? What did you do? How do you plan for your hikes?
After this hike I went to get my husband some soup. He was sick and had requested Panera. While leaving the restaurant, a car backed into mine, capping off a day of…”adventure” 😆