My Very First Bonehead Maneuver

I went to the Lake Houston Wilderness Park today.  It wasn’t much of a workout; I live in Houston and when I ask people in this area where I can do some hiking that involves actual ups and downs I’m often referred to a local bridge. Houston is flat, flat, flat.  Unfortunately, the nearest long-distance hiking trail, the Lone Star Trail, is closed until damage from Hurricane Harvey is repaired, so I went to the next best place I could find, a park with hiking trails and campgrounds.

It was my first time going out with my backpack fully loaded.  It weighed 25 pounds with two to three days of food and two liters of water.  The pack felt great and I left the park feeling optimistic about my next, longer hike.  My last long hike was 15 years ago carrying I don’t even know what huge amount of weight on my back.  That ended with someone else having to carry my pack up hills for me while I cried with embarrassment and frustration.

Those days are gone.  The AT is in my sights and God willing nothing will weigh me down, literally or figuratively.

My only issue today made itself known at lunchtime.  Roll tape.

Going hungry on a shakedown hike in Lake Houston Wilderness Park.

A post shared by Ruth Nasrullah (@ruth.nasrullah) on

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Comments 10

  • Nanook : Oct 28th

    Hi Ruth,
    It is said ” If it didn’t kill you, it will make you stronger”. I’m pretty sure that won’t be your last faux pas.
    Anyways, Hope to see you on the trail in the spring in GA.We can compare “Bonehead moments”.

    • Ruth Nasrullah : Oct 28th

      Very true. At least I had food, I guess…

  • Leslie Hurst (Kitty 2013 and 2015) : Oct 28th

    You really don’t need a bear canister on the AT?

    • Ruth Nasrullah : Oct 29th

      That is true and it took me a while to make the decision to use one. I have never hung a bear bag and don’t see myself easily doing it. At the end of a long day I’d rather just have a canister to open. It has its drawbacks and we’ll see how it goes.

  • Lindsay : Oct 30th

    Hi Ruth. I’m over here in San Antonio. We have a few more hills than you, but nothing like out east! I feel your pain there! I would likely have done the same with the canister. I know it’s designed for bears, but probably great against raccoons. I’ve fallen victim to some pretty smart bandits before! I might have to try one. Wish I was heading out to the AT with you! *trail envy*

    • Lindsay : Oct 30th

      Also, in the past I trained for a mountain trail by climbing staircases at an apartment complex with my pack. Definitely not as scenic! Haha.

      • Ruth Nasrullah : Oct 30th

        Yes, stairs are good, and cheaper than the gym!

        Unfortunately I have started to have a weird sensation in my knee when I flex it. It doesn’t hurt but it’s like “ew, what’s that” and I’m afraid it will get worse if I keep going up stairs, the elliptical, etc. I’m seeing an orthopedist today to stop whatever it is in its tracks (so to speak). Fortunately it doesn’t happen with walking.

        • Ruth Nasrullah : Oct 31st

          Good news is I just have a quadriceps strain. Phew!

  • Wa : Dec 9th

    Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of folks have hiked the AT without a bear canister.
    You can too.
    Hills in Texas: Enchanted Rock. Up & Down & Up & Down. Go in the middle of the week. Hike to the far side of the rock to camp. Hike to the near (road) side of the rock and go up and down a few times. Hike back to your campsite. Repeat. I’m older than you and carried a 4×5 field camera up and down and I didn’t die.
    I do hope that you have a realistic idea of the temperatures and weather that you will encounter in February, March & April on the AT. You need to dial in your gear selections in those conditions before you start the hike. Houston is not the place to find out if your sleep system isn’t up to the task.
    Good luck!

    • Ruth Nasrullah : Dec 9th

      Thanks, Wayne.

      I’ve been thinking about doing a shakedown in the Ouachita area. Are you familiar with that trail? It’s about a day’s drive from me.

      I’ve been camping out in the backyard to test out shelter/sleep. I lucked out the last few days when Houston’s temps went down to the 40s/30s. I missed the night it snowed; I didn’t really believe it would happen.

      As for the bear canister, maybe my strategy should be to start out with it and if I can’t stand it I’ll return it by mail to REI, which would require having the box it came in ready to be mailed to me. And I’d need a kind soul to help me/cheer me on with a bag hang.


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