Chimney Rock Trail
We decided to do the Chimney Rock trail after consulting one of the rangers at the visitor's center. He assured us that the hike wouldn't be too bad, if we didn't mind a few minutes of steep hiking.
"No big deal!" I declared to Seanie. "We hike in the High Sierras, like, all the time. This will be cake."
I should really learn to keep my mouth shut. The incline wasn't that steep as we climbed up to Chimney Rock, and yet I could not catch my breath. I was panting, hard, and every few feet I had to stop and gasp for air. I've never been impacted by altitude, or the dry air, so badly before. I assume that was the cause of my suffering - I hope my physical condition hasn't deteriorated that much! Seanie was trying to be kind and supportive, but I could tell he was laughing at me a little.
In front of Chimney Rock
Things got better once we got to the top. First, the ground flattened out for a while, and then the descent fell more gradually that the ascent had risen. We also ran into a retired couple from Missouri, and we ended up hiking the remaining mile or two with them, chatting about their travels and my new job at the museum.
It was a beautiful hike. The canyon walls are such a brilliant red, and a storm was rolling in so there was a dramatic black cloud slowly coming over the cliffs on the opposite end.