Journal: Two nights at Hercules Glades Wilderness, May 2022

A two-night stay visit to Hercules Glades Wilderness. Ginger and I hiked in Friday night and camped at a nice spot Ginger found last year. Saturday I hiked the six or so miles to ‘Deep Hollow’ and spent the night there. Sunday I hiked back to Ginger’s camp, had some lunch, and then we headed back to the trailhead.

  • Day Two – Back at the Pole Hollow cairn

    Back at the Pole Hollow cairn. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Here I am, back at the Pole Hollow cairn in Hercules Glades, but this trip is a little bit different.

    The difference is Ginger and I came out yesterday and spent last night camped at Ginger’s new favorite campsite. Today, I left Ginger back at camp and I’m off on a solo one-night trip staying at ‘Deep Hollow.’ I’ll be back tomorrow, meet Ginger at her campsite, and we’ll hike out together. This plan gives Ginger some R&R time in the woods, and I get to hike a few miles.

    It’s hot today and there’s a bathing pool at ‘Deep Hollow’ that I’m looking forward to cooling off in when I get there. But that’s six miles away, so I’d better get on.

  • Meanwhile, back at basecamp

    Copyright © 2022 Ginger Allman, all rights reserved.

    While I’m off hiking Ginger’s enjoying her spot in the woods.

  • Inaccessible

    Inaccessible. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Well, almost inaccessible. Looking downstream from the Bathing Pool in ‘Deep Hollow.’ I timed my arrival just right as the sun was shining through a gap in the trees and lighting up the creek, pool, and falls.

  • Bathing Pool in ‘Deep Hollow’

    Bathing Pool in ‘Deep Hollow’ — It looks very inviting, but the water was cold! Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Bathing Pool in ‘Deep Hollow’

    Bathing Pool in ‘Deep Hollow’ — It looks very inviting, but the water was cold! Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Bath time

    Bath time. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    I’m looking pleased with myself. That’s probably because I have warmed up after my wilderness bath. The pool wasn’t as deep as I thought — mid-thigh — and a lot colder than I’d anticipated, so I didn’t go for full immersion, but I did stick my head under the falls.

  • Mini campfire

    Mini campfire. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    I left a full fuel bottle with Ginger, and while I had enough alcohol for dinner and breakfast, I decided to save fuel and get out my Nano Firebox and have a mini campfire to cook on.

  • Day Three — Trail Buddies and the end of the trip

    Trail Tortoise #1 – I found this little fella/fellette on the trail. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    It had been a good night, but I woke up feeling very unsettled and a quick check of my pulse confirmed what I thought. I was in AFIB again. I took a pill, tried to relax — hard when your heart is going all over the place — and worked out a plan of action for the day. I was due to meet Ginger between noon and 1 p.m., the latter being the deadline we’d set to head back to the trailhead from Ginger’s camp. That meant I had to leave by 9:30 latest. I could have messaged Ginger’s InReach, and delayed our exit, but I didn’t want to do that and mess with the plans for the rest of the day. I decided to take it easy until around nine, and hope that my pill and some gentle exercise hiking out would help to settle my heart back into a regular rhythm.

    By 9:15 a.m. I was ready to get on the trail. I was feeling a bit better and I made sure I drank plenty of water on the hike out.

    I’ve met several tortoises on the trail over the years, so seeing the one (above) wasn’t a huge surprise. But less than an hour later I came across another!

    Trail Tortoise #2 – less than an hour later I came across another little fella/fellette on the trail. Copyright © 2022 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    The hike out went without incident (thankfully) though the final climb up to the Pees Hollow Trail Junction was harder than it should have been. Once I got there I managed the descent down to Ginger’s camp in 10 minutes. When I arrived Ginger was already packed and ready to head out. However, I needed a rest before turning round and climbing back up to the trailhead.

    At 1 p.m. we set off, and the climb out to the trail junction took nearly 30 minutes with lots of stops. From there it was only a short 10-minute walk to the trailhead and the end of our trip.

    Later in the day I checked my heart rate for the hike and discovered that I’d maxed out at 177 BPM on the last climb on my way to meet Ginger. That’s way above my recommended max of 155 BPM, and not good when I’m supposed to be recovering from/controlling a bout of AFIB. Taking it slow on the climb back to the trailhead kept my heart rate down where it ought to be, 151 BPM.

    Lessons

    • Backpacking, none really. It was a good trip. Nothing broke or went wrong. Life lessons, however, are a different story…
    • Having access to all this health ‘information’ all the time, makes one wonder. What would I have done ten years ago? Just keep plugging along probably and hope for the best — which I tend to do now anyway — Is it actually good, or bad? Does having this knowledge make any real difference?
    • Keep exercising regularly between trips.
    • I have got to be more careful and less concerned with the clock and deadline watching. What is it they say — Better late than dead?

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