Walking the walk…

Have been continuing to work on building up my endurance so that i will be ready when we hit the trail. I think the biggest challenge will now be the Zion Narrows hike, as that will be two days of walking 6.5 hours per day thru a river. It doesn’t sound so hard on paper, but I am sure walking thru water isn’t as simple as a walk in the park… and so I have decided that I will make sure that I am ready by training on a longer walk…

So yesterday for my “walk in the park” i took the backpack too… and did 6.5 miles (the actual distance we will have to walk each of the days)… 3 hours (on normal trails… not thru water)…

I have decided to train up for an 8 hour walk on normal trails…because I do these walks without stopping… and I am sure that the 6.5 hour time that the rangers estimate includes some stops (as they say so on their trail map)…

Then I will try one day at least to go down to the beach and walk along the coast in the water (with shoes, clothes and backpack)… just to get an idea of the difference…

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A chance encounter in the park…

photo-2So today i was inspired by the incredibly great weather to get out for a long long walk, working towards improving my trail endurance (now that i don’t have Cactus Killer’s hill to train on!)… Was up early, around 730am, and went to the nearby state park here on Long Island.

It was pretty empty so early on a Saturday morning in March, and i set off on a trail i had done before, planning to loop into a slightly longer trail further up. The skies were blue, and the sunlight filtered through the branches of the pine trees in sharp rays. All around were signs of spring. As well as some newly fallen trees — signs of a series of big storms that had effected this area only last week.

And i was just walking along enjoying the fresh air and morning light, when i had the sensation that i was not alone. It’s strange how you sense the presence of someone before you see them.deerInpark

But i heard no one, and looking up ahead on the trail, i saw no one either… i stopped. i listened. then i looked around 360 degrees, and at about my 3 o’clock, across the woods, there were four deer. the deer stopped. they listened. they looked up at me… we stayed for a moment looking at each other, then they continued eating… i went to continue on my way, but my motion must have spooked the leader, and he took off running, and the others soon followed him running along the tree-line of the parallel trail.

deerZoom

photo-3I considered myself quite lucky to see the deer this morning, and smiling I continued my walk. Eventually i hit the intersecting trail, and followed it around. This trail was a bit swampier than the other one, and though the last rain was several days ago, there were still patches of thick mud to cross. I was near the river. There was a small path leading off the trail to the water’s edge, and I decided to go over and watch the ducks… Looking across the water, i saw them swimming in a row… They were awfully BIG ducks… I looked a bit closer, and realized they were not ducks… nor were they swans or geese… I stared at the movement and realized i was just seeing the heads above water… it was the DEER swimming across the river!!!!

I have never seen anything like that before (I didn’t even know deer could swim!!!!)… I waited until they got across, then waded up out of the water — just to be sure i really DID see deer swimming… and then i returned to the trail and finished my 4-mile loop. What an unexpected surprise!

photo-4

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The hill remains the objective…

Am laughing to myself thinking of all those stories of military campaigns where the objective is to take a hill, because these days my objective is to take a hill in a different sense — Cactus Killer Hill…

Have been pretty faithfully going up there when the weather is not too awful, and I do feel like I am getting a little more accustomed to the steep climb. Not sure I am doing it all any faster. Though I guess I make less stops along the way, or maintain a more stable pace going up. In any case, I do feel like I have made some small progress after only two weeks (it’s too bad that once I am back in NY I will no longer have this challenge to help motivate me! oh well, I will have to continue training in the gym, like “normal” people do… anyway, it’s been fun while its lasted!)…

On another note, they say that there will be a big storm here tonite — with very strong winds. The local media have been talking about it for a couple of days already, so I am guessing it will be unusual. Am wondering if it will be anything like that storm almost ten years ago that tore up all the trees in the parks around the city… Today when I went up the hill I couldn’t help wondering if I would have the same view in the park at the top after the storm passes. We will see…

For now we are still in the calm before the storm, though the first raindrops began falling as I walked home from the store a little while ago…

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New York State parks and rivers

So thinking ahead, I know I will be needing to continue the work I started on Cactus Killer Hill once I am back in NY, and have been doing some research into local state parks, rivers, and public land.

Once weather clears up a bit I will need to start using the local parks for “training.”

Canoeing on the Nissequoge River – there are several options listed on the site. The local canoe liveries offer trips on the river that last about 2-3 hours.

Trails in state parks – there are a number of state parks not far from our location that should permit me to keep up with the walking workouts.

Entrance Pass for NY state parks – Empire Passport will allow entrance to state parks for a one time fee of $65.

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Cactus Killer’s Hill…

So am still following up on my idea to get into better shape for the grand adventure, but here in Paris I don’t have the gym, nor the routine that could keep me on program… ¬†However, there is Cactus Killer’s Hill!

Actually it isn’t exactly her personal hill, but it is a big steep hill that goes to the park where she runs regularly (even when she is NOT preparing a marathon), and it is two minutes from our location here — so there are no excuses… up that hill I go! (and I keep telling myself that I will have to be doing this in 125 degree heat in Death Valley, so I’d better become really close friends with this hill during my stay in Paris!)

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A walk on the beach…

Beach_10-0126-03LR

So far I have been sticking to my informal training program…

Today i took advantage of the relatively nice (for winter) weather here to go for a walk on the beach. Not exactly sure what distance I walked, but between the sand and the wind I feel like it was definitely some kind of “resistance workout”! I am finding it is easier to motivate myself to stick with the program by going to the park or the beach (both of which are extremely empty in the middle of winter) rather than the gym…

Anyway it seems like I am making a good start… Last week I saw two deer in the woods at the state park! That was a bonus!

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Getting in Shape for the Trail…

We have almost seven months to get ready for our cross-country adventure… And most of my focus is on planning logistics and routing for the 6 week road trip, but I have decided that I should probably also use this time to get myself in better shape for the physical challenges we will be facing on the trail.

We have a pretty intensive agenda, with hiking, canoeing, canyoneering, hang gliding and extreme desert trails in the hottest part of the summer, and I am definitely the “weakest link” in our team when it comes to the physical activity dynamic. Hence the idea of my informal training program!

Goals are to lose some weight, and gain some strength, endurance and flexibility!

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