Often, I hear someone say that they don’t mind the downhill part of a climb so much; it’s the uphill that gets them. I admit, the uphill is hard on the cardio side, but I find it’s the down part of a climb that really hits me where it hurts (i.e. the knees). A slow, controlled descent just gets my muscles wobbling.
The long-term solution, of course, is to build up the muscles in my legs. In the short term, though, there are times when other solutions are possible.
For example, hiking the mountain backward.
(There’s an image, right?)
On our Acadia trip in July (see previous posts here and here), we started at the scenic overlook (and convenient parking lot) at the top of Cadillac Mountain. From there, the trail led down a ridge of Cadillac Mtn into the saddle between Cadillac and Dorr, then up the middle of that saddle to a nearly-vertical climb back to the summit. The vertical was the best part. What can I say, I like climbing on things.
I wasn’t sure my theory of backward would work, but in practice I found it remarkably effective. The very steep downhill was much easier while my legs were fresh.
Since most of our hike was over bare granite, the way was marked with blue paint blazes on the stone itself, and by traditional cairns like these. The little houses main ‘straight ahead’.