Equipped for the Wilderness ~ Part 2

I’m back from an amazing 3 days in the wilderness! We  {All of us, with the exception of my mom, older sister, and youngest brother} hiked a trail called Big Creek Loop, in the Smoky Mountains {right near the NC/TN borders}…and oh my was it an incredible adventure 😉 ! IMG_6962_2 I think I’ve been backpacking somewhere around 20 times, starting just after I turned 5. It’s a Stelzl family tradition that my dad takes each of us kids when we turn 5 on our first backpacking trip. So long story short, I’ve been doing this pretty much my whole life, and loving it… :-). I posted a few days ago about some favorite things I was bringing along. I’m grateful to say we didn’t need the cayenne 🙂 but everything else was put to good use! Day 1: it drizzled rain our entire hike in, although we stayed pretty dry until just after dinner when it started to pour. My toe was a little sore after hiking the 5.2 miles to camp site 37. I soaked it in the rushing {FREEZING} river, then put some Lavender Oil, Helichrysum Essential Oil, Sore Muscle Salve, and Healing Salve on it. I wrapped it up, although I ended up taking the bandage off about 3 hours later when the rain started pouring down, because it got wet… IMG_7007 IMG_7098 Day 2: My Sore Muscle Salve and Lavender Oil froze… I used Helichrysum Essential Oil and some Healing Salve {that had been in my tent all night}, then bandaged my toe. This was the hardest day of hiking, 6+ miles entirely uphill. here’s nothing quite like the feeling of looking up the trail, only to see a never-ending-ascent as far as the eye can see…and always one more bend in the trail to conquer. I was concerned about my toe, but happily it didn’t bother me at all. Instead, I arrived at the end of our long trek with a VERY SORE back and shoulders. Bethany and I both rubbed Sore Muscle Salve on our shoulders, neck, and back before bed. IMG_7149 IMG_7215 Day 3: I woke up feeling almost completely recovered, with only a little stiffness in my shoulders/back {I’m breaking in a new backpack}. I didn’t use any oils or salve because it was FREEZING and WET, and SO WINDY. We wanted to break camp as quickly as possible. The entire 6+ mile hike was downhill {steep}, which meant a LOT of pressure on my toe.. but there was no pain or discomfort! IMG_7398 IMG_7399 IMG_7406 So now I’m back home with a very BUSY December schedule…my shoulders are happy, but my legs are SORE… I guess that’s the difference between treating something at the first sign, vs. waiting until the pain is intense. Life is full of lessons 🙂 … Check out these three posts on our family blog for more pictures and videos – here, here, and here !!!

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