I am too weak to hike Burgess Falls in Tennessee

Every spring when the trees turn green and the flowers bloom, I get the itch to hike. This is not an itch I had before I married Troy as I was very much a city girl who smoked, wore black and swilled martinis regularly. Once married, I developed a fondness for seeing places that you have to work to get to and that most people are too lazy to ever see. This fondess is in direct conflict with my intrinsic laziness and my loathing for sweating, chafing, etc. Since late April, I have been trying to get a weekend free to hike Burgess Falls, which is a picturesque little state park an hour or so east of Nashville not far from Cookeville, Tennessee. Since the state parks allow dogs on trails, we take our more athletically-inclined dogs with us.

Only two get to go hiking. Also, I suck at vacuuming.

The weather has been a problem this year. Lots of tornadoes, tons of flooding. I am not fond of the duck and cover approach to outdoor events, so it took a while to get a weekend when it wasn’t raining, hailing, blowing, etc. Finally, we loaded up and headed out. As someone with legendarily bad knees, this hike is one I can even manage without a lot of trouble. However, I failed to consider the effects of taking chemo dugs on my hiking abilities. (note to readers: I do not have cancer, I have lupus which sucks, but not nearly as badly as cancer). I take a cocktail of things to keep the lupus at bay and recently started on the chemo route again when my eyes started to swell and other drugs did not work.  On the plus side, I no longer look like an extra from Twilight with blood red eyes. On the downside, I can’t drink martinis and I find that I am really missing the red blood cells I used to have in abundance.

Burgess Falls is a gorgeous hike and with all the rain, the falls are in full show:

Burgess Falls, Lower Cascade

This is the easy part and pretty much the first thing you see in the parking lot. The climb up starts after this:

Burgess Falls, Middle Falls

Getting to Middle Falls requires a mild cardio workout with lots of steps and a steady incline over a short .5 mile climb. On chemo, it’s painful. When I have to rest at the overlook, this is a problem. I really miss my red blood cells.

At the end of the trail, you see the big falls which are really quite impressive and a good 50+ feet tall:

Burgess Falls, the reward for breathing hard at the end of the trail

Inexplicably, the trail was heavily populated by tourists from India, some of them swathed in saris and sandals, which I do not consider a good choice for hiking on rocky trails. Their children all wanted to pet Bess and Zoe:

Zoe, Bess and their Daddy pose for the camera, and Indians.

One last little bit of pretty:

Cascade at Burgess Falls

A simple little 1.5 miles and I am nearly defeated. This bodes badly for the upcoming trip to Yosemite. Encroaching old age sucks.

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4 Responses to I am too weak to hike Burgess Falls in Tennessee

  1. David says:

    Awwwww … ;-( My wife has rheumatoid arthritis and we were introduced to the “joys” of heavy duty chemo. after her second bout with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma late last year so we can sympathize. I can’t speak for you but our experience is it’s very frustrating to want to get much done yet feel like your body is a car stuck in low gear with the handbrake jammed on. Hoping your counts are up for Yosemite. My parents really enjoyed it when they were visiting from Australia.

    Great pics! Baxter doesn’t look too impressed about being left at home, though. I’ve never met him but in photoes he generally looks quite charming and dignified – a true Southern gentleman!

    I think a great deal of your animal charity work. Perhaps there is something clerical I can help with until we move somewhere we can offer more substantial assistance. You and Troy are in our thoughts and prayers.

    – D

    • Thanks David. I am sorry your wife is enduring this. I am not taking the heavy crap cancer patients take, so I have nothing but admiration for those folks who endure it. Baxter was not happy about being left behind, but gimpy Newfie mixes are actually less helpful on the trail than surly, ill-tempered lawyers with bad knees. We are 10 days out from Yosemite, so we shall see.

  2. bschooled says:

    Because you just won commenter of the year, I had to bring my depth-less spirit (does it ever end?) over to your blog. I’m glad I did.

    When I read the part about your intrinsic laziness and my loathing for sweating, chafing, etc., I was hooked. I’m officially asking you to join the sister wives club. Don’t worry that you’re already married, it’s only a part-time commitment.

    Oh, how I love the internet.

    • I would be honored and I love your blog. I spit the Diet Red Bull I am not supposed to be drinking out my nostrils when I read about your painful loss. Certainly not enough attention is paid to the pain brought on by skin tags. Currently, I am in grave actual wife trouble for bringing home 34 puppies (long story and they have moved on today) so having a part-time sister wife would be much preferable.

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