Our story begins five weeks ago when Sydney called me one afternoon and said,
“Do you want to get up at 5am and hike 20 miles of mountanous trails in the pouring rain with me?”
Well this isn’t exactly what she said. But it was pretty close.
She had her fall break from dental school the week after our undergrad homecoming, so I agreed to go with her and hike the Perimeter Trail (a 20 mile long trail surrounding Sewannee) after Homecoming. We would do it in 12 hours – from sun up to sun down.
Sunday after brunch, we drove in separately to Sewannee, giving me plenty of time to make my way down south from Nashville. The afternoon had been misty, and it had drizzled most of the afternoon, so a soft fog settled over the interstate as I drove. My playlist of Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, and George Ezra fit the happy yet calm mood of my drive.
When I pulled off the interstate onto a smaller state road towards Sewannee, I began stopping every mile or so to take a picture of the mountains and the fields. The fog was thicker near Sewannee as I entered the woods and drove up the mountain, but it was more comforting rather than the creepy kind of fog you see in zombie movies.
At 5am on Monday morning, we made our way to Shenanigans in downtown Sewannee to start our adventure! It was already warming up even though it’s OCTOBER. The mist had settled on the mountain again, so the first few miles of our trip were in fields covered in mist that looked like I was walking through a Jane Austen novel.
Each mile looked different as we went through different environments on the trail! Some areas were sandy, others full of pines, and some felt humid like the rainforests that I’ve hiked before.
At mile 10, we stopped for lunch on this beautiful bluff called Armfield Bluff, and then we continued on our journey.
20 miles later, we finished the hike back where we started – at Shenanigans where we enjoyed pizza and some cold drinks.
All in all, we hiked 20 miles over 8 hours and 30 minutes. Our total elevation change was equivalent to 232 flights of stairs, and totally 45,500 steps! It didn’t rain at all, and the trail took four hours less than we thought it would!
How much water did I drink? Over 64 ounces. So much water.
What mile was the most difficult?
I think a better term is miles. Miles 11-14 I think were the most difficult miles. After we ate lunch, it started getting hot as it got later and later in the afternoon. Sydney and I were both thirsty and wishing we could stop every fifteen minutes. It was so hot, but it was around mile 14 that we started seeing amazing views and were able to push through
What’s the most interesting thing I learned about Sydney?
She has an incredible memory. She told me a story while we were hiking about a car ride she had in middle school. In explicit detail, she was able to describe how her friend accidentally flung a ground beetle across the car that was the class pet.
Fun fact: With the exception of our pizza at the end, we both at vegan on the trail! Our diet consisted of peanut butter, trail mix, vegan granola bars, grapes, mangos, and cheerios!
Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY.
Hands down the best fall break decision ever.