In my post on Sunday about my Commitment to Exercise I talked about how getting started is the hardest part. You really have to force it to get over that hump and make exercise part of your lifestyle. So that’s exactly what I did… the very next day!
I mentioned in that post I wasn’t feeling particularly motivated, and still struggling, but I know from experience the only way to change how I feel is to TAKE ACTION.
I put together this quick video to give you a visual overview of my hike on Monday, but I’ll share the photos and the story of the hike with you below too:
Let me start by saying I was NOT feeling well on Monday.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been sick lately, and really struggling with my appetite. I feel sick when I don’t eat, then when I do eat, and it had really taken a toll on me: lack of energy, gut aches, etc.
I also was not planning to do any major workout that day, much less go on an adventurous hike. My goal was to start small and work my way back up to that. 😉
I was actually out running a few quick errands in town when I found myself turning the wheel and making the 50 minute drive toward Fall Creek Falls, thinking at the time: I’ll just go sit at the Overlook for a bit and take a break.
I planned to pick up some maps at the Nature Center as well, to map out some fun hikes for the rest of the year.
When I got there though, the Overlook and the Nature Center were both closed and under construction. Hmm… What now?!
That’s when I remembered reading about the Cable Trail, and decided to at least go check it out while I was up there.
The Cable Trail leads to the base of Cane Creek Falls, which is part of the Fall Creek Falls State Park.
On my way down the path through the woods, I ran into a family coming back that I had seen go in ahead of me.
I had a quick chat with them about what it was like, and they said they’d turned back because it was too dangerous for them – especially with the kids.
I decided to continue down the path and at least go check it out, figuring even a short walk through the woods would do me good.
This is what I came to at the end of the path:
I peaked over the edge at the 2″ cable that went straight down and disappeared in the darkness down below…
I was standing above the treetops, with NO idea just how far down you would have to climb to get to the base of Cane Creek Falls – or if I had it in me to make it all the way down. Much less back up again!
I was also standing there alone, considering the family that turned back and how quiet the area was, and whether I should turn back and at least “check in” somewhere before committing to this crazy hike.
The beginning of the descent looked easy enough, but I could tell it was going to turn more challenging. I decided to climb down just far enough to see how bad it would get – and then make an assessment from there.
Warning: this trail is not for short people. 🙂
There were a few places that were a bit of a stretch (literally, lol) for me at just under 5’5″ tall, and halfway down the cable was way above my head so I just had to climb the rocks with no guide.
I did make it down to the bottom, taking my time and watching my footing cautiously, and for the very first time in all my trips to Cane Creek Falls… I got to see it from the bottom. 🙂
I stood there catching my breath and admiring this new view of the waterfall, splashed some water on my face to cool off, then crossed the river to hike around the other side to the base of the waterfall.
This wasn’t a trail, but the water was down enough that you could make out a rocky path if you watched your footing (for both loose rocks AND snakes). There were a few larger rocks to climb over, but otherwise it was a fairly easy path.
Except one large tree I had to climb over and another I had to climb under. 😛
By the time I made it around to the base of the waterfall I was drenched in sweat, and sat behind it to enjoy the cool mist – and the amazing view of the gorge. 🙂
By now several other people and even an entire family had hiked down too, so I felt a lot more comfortable knowing there were a good number of people around.
Plus the kids swimming and laughing and playing made me smile as I sat in the spray cooling off. 🙂
I’ve always loved the TOPS of waterfalls, even if I had to find a way to climb up to the top. I love to see where the water comes from, and I love that feeling of being on top of the world!
But on this hike, this day, I really enjoyed this spot at the bottom. 🙂 I sat there for quite a while feeling the sun shine through the spray, and watching a butterfly dart in and out of the waterfall…
It was a gorgeous July day in Tennessee, and I had the perfect spot to enjoy it!
But the best part… as I was sitting there, I felt HUNGRY. My stomach actually growled even. 🙂 The exercise and sunshine and fresh air were working their magic!
Of course, I had to get back to work…
It was Monday after all!
I was already wiped out from climbing down into the gorge, and knew I still had to climb back up and hike out – and drive almost an hour home.
This photo was taken about halfway up the climb back out of the gorge:
I was already exhausted. I’ve had zero energy lately, with an ache in my gut, now matched by the grumble of hunger in my stomach.
I stopped a few times at the base of the climb to catch my breath, and also to let other hikers pass, and I finally decided:
MIND OVER MATTER
I was strong once, and I didn’t get there by playing within my limits. I got there by finding my limits – and surpassing them. There’s been more than one hike that I wondered if I could make it out of.
I had a bit of a smile then at the rule I came up with, but have never been good at following: Only hike half as far as you can go. Because you still have to hike back out! 😉
I had to summon my inner strength, because my physical strength alone was not going to get me up this bluff – not the way I felt that day.
I reminded my body that it had done this before, that it KNEW how to carry me through. I kept my mind on the goal, and imagined myself strong like I used to be, watched my footing carefully of course, and just willed myself to the top.
And then back up the trail and down the road to my car – too. One foot in front of the other.
But in all honesty, if I didn’t have work on the schedule at 7pm that night – I could have just curled up on the trail and slept there for awhile. 😛
The Cable Trail itself isn’t a very long hike, it’s just a challenging one – especially if you don’t like heights. The trail start to finish is only half mile, so 1 mile total – with the climb alone being a quarter mile long.
I didn’t get a ton of “steps” but it was a GREAT workout! 🙂
And of course the views made it totally worth it. 🙂
I’ll definitely be going back. It’s a great swimming hole, and I’d love to explore downriver from the falls – and see just how far I can follow it on foot…
I was EXHAUSTED by the time I got done working Monday night.
I wasn’t as sore as I expected to be on Tuesday though…
But by Wednesday, I could hardly move. 😛
I gave myself a couple of days to recover, and had a busy workweek anyway, and then today I did 20 Tricep Dips right here in my office in between tasks. 🙂
I loved the Cable Trail SO much, and it was such a GREAT full-body workout, that I’d really like to find time to go at least once a week!
My goal is to get back to two hikes a week, or at least two outdoor workouts every week – which might be as simple as swimming across the river and back when it’s too hot to hike.
It IS July in Tennessee after all, lol.
The best part about this little unplanned adventure is that it worked.
I mentioned in my previous posts that I felt like exercise would make me FEEL better and help stimulate my appetite again. Mission accomplished!
In my next post I’ll share my meals for the week to give you some low carb food ideas, and also give you an update on my plans going forward – and how I intend to break out of this funk and drop the mystery pounds. 😉
I have to say, even though this was NOT a planned hike… it really helped. The sense of achievement boosted my confidence, and the extreme physical exercise and change of scenery both helped me break out of the mundane routine I’ve found myself in lately.
Adventures are good for the soul! 🙂
How are things going with you this week?
Are you on track with your health goals?
Leave a comment & let’s chat!
p.s. Alice asked how I took the photos since I was hiking alone. I use a Samsung Galaxy S7, but my S6 did this as well – it has a feature on the camera where you can turn on the Timer and take interval shots. So you position it somewhere and press the camera button, then it will wait 10 seconds and start taking interval shots. That’s how I take almost all of my hiking photos! 😉
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