It felt like the trail to our destination was never ending. It literally took us 2 hrs and 22 minutes to just get through the first 3.5+ miles!! The trail guide says that this trail has 1000 foot gains and a 1200 foot decline as the approximate max. It really was UP and DOWN both ways with cresting mountains 3 times each way.
My feet slipping on loose rock didn't help my knees at all! OWW!!! Also, carrying an additional 15 pounds of camera equipment and hiking supplies (water, snacks, gatorade) took a real toll.
Was it worth it? HECK YES!!!!!!!!!
I went through the most BEAUTIFUL fairy woods I have ever seen in my entire life! I saw an amazing waterfall at the end of the trail that I hear rivals those in Hawaii. It was a little under 5 hours of total hiking time and I have my aches and pains from it but I feel STRONGER THAN EVER for not having given up. :)