Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Solo 2017 Day 1 Photo Summary

Getting started before the sun crests a nearby butte. 

Where are all my trees at? 

Sometimes the Idaho Centennial Trail signs were a bit hidden. 

Here the trail skirts the Jarbridge Bruneau Wilderness area. 

I swear the wind blowing in my face had been chilled on those snowy slopes. 

Sure, there's water out here. It's just all muddy and in wheel ruts and often cow pies. 

Teeny tiny desert flowers. 

Definitely an odd feeling to walk up to construction equipment in the middle of nowhere with no one around. 

They watched me carefully while I sat to eat lunch. 

Theoretically, there was once water down there. 

They were surprised to see me. 

Done for the day after about 25 miles. I was in shock that I'd covered so much ground. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Backpacking and Crossfit - Solo 2017 Day 3

When I was out on my solo trip this year, I went out a lot faster than I intended to. I covered about 50 miles in 2 days, with about 11 hours of hiking each day. (So I could have gone farther, since I had 14 hours of daylight.) And in those 11 or so hours per day that I hiked, I divided my time up into 50 minute sections.

Every 50 minutes, I would stop for a brief break. The break was untimed, but it had to include either sitting down or taking my pack off. Often it would include a nature break. And rarely did I take more than 10 minutes.

For whatever reason, I felt good. I wanted to keep walking, to keep my pace up on this crazy journey.

It was on the third day that my breakneck pace began to catch up with me. I met up with my husband at the Bruneau Dunes Scenic Overlook (and made grateful use of  the restroom). After that, I hiked another 4 miles or so and met up with him again on the road.

I could have stopped there. About 65 miles in 3 days. Not bad, right?

But instead, I kept walking, right through the Saylor Creek Bombing Range.

And as I walked I thought about Crossfit. I thought about how I was doing AMSAPs (As Many Steps As Possible) in 50 minute time domains. I thought about the coaches yelling encouragement, hearing their voices in my head, urging me on to keep walking til that alarm sounded a break. I thought about the crowd cheering me on when I did the last workout of the '17 Open Rx.

I pulled on the discipline that I've learned, the ability to push myself past pain (when that pain doesn't signify injury) and the belief that I was not the only one who believed I could do this.

I did stop the next day, short of my 100 mile goal, but that goal was arbitrary. Part of my challenge was determining when I should stop versus when I should push. Sure, 100 miles is an impressive number, but so is 92. And I'm not going to stop doing my segments, no matter how long or short, until I've walked the whole of the Idaho Centennial Trail.

Good morning trail! (Photo courtesy of Ambrose)

The scenery that day changed but slowly. 

Hard to believe the landscape is hiding canyons and buttes somewhere ahead. 

A little companionship. 

As close as I got to the scenic overlook with my camera. 

This is a "draw" also known as a place where water may have been once upon a time. 

So tempting to just get in the car and go home. 

Into the bombing range. 

Heading out of the bombing range. 

Home sweet home for the night. I sincerely regretted the spot I chose once I tried going to sleep. Too slanty. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Training as I Mean to Continue

I think I must be going insane. I voluntarily let the alarm go off at 4:30 in the am on Saturday morning so that I could drag myself out of that nice, warm, cozy bed, eat breakfast and take myself on a hike up to Table Rock.

Even though I don't strictly need to use trekking poles for this particular hike, I brought them. Rather useless on flat pavement, they sure come in handy going up the last few switchbacks to Table Rock. But that's not the only reason I brought mine and encourage Ambrose to bring his.

I believe that one should train as one means to work. Even on flats, even on roads on my solo trip this year, I had my trekking poles and I used them. Over the long haul, they reduce impact on my knees and feet. They keep my arms engaged in the hiking when they would otherwise be doing nothing. Why would I want to train without them when I would be working with them?

Well, on Saturday, I found one reason. It's not a very good one. 

After I finished Table Rock and climbed back down with a sore left IT band, I was headed home, walking on the sidewalk and using my trekking poles just a little, to move my arms and help keep me going. I wanted to beat 3 hours, and I also didn't want to check my time until I was at the door, so I tried to keep my pace up. 

An old man was walking on the sidewalk approaching me, so I lifted my poles so the ends lifted up behind me. In my mind, I was being courteous so as not to seem like I was going to stab his foot as I walked by. I don't know what on earth was going on in his mind when he decided to mock my trekking poles as we passed each other. 

He made these gestures with his arms, faking the movement one would make with trekking poles and gave me a look like I was just such a fucking funny joke. 

I was not amused. 

But I also didn't say anything. I didn't tell him that mocking women was not the way to get positive attention. I didn't put on an air of concern and ask him what was wrong, was he having a seizure perhaps? Did he need an ambulance? 

No, I had a time to beat, so I walked on and I stewed. 

So that's a reason. 

But it won't stop me from training as I mean to continue. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Driving to Queens River Trailhead

The water wasn't as high in this reservoir as I expected. Still plenty of beach showing. 

An awful lot of water coming out considering how low it is down there. 

I guess it's because the spillway isn't completely full. 

That's more like it. Water right about to the high line. 

I wonder why I never see any rafters in the Middlefork? Maybe it's too calm most of the year and too deadly right now.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Backpacking and Crossfit

When I was on my solo trip this year, I used a tactic similar to one that I used the year before to make sure I got sufficient rest and took regular breaks. I had a timer set for 50 minutes and when it went off, it was time for a break.

Now, last year, I was a bit more flexible with it, because if I came across water, which I did with great frequency in the Sawtooths, then I might want to stop and fill up outside of my 50 minute intervals. In the desert, there was no water to tempt me to stop early or keep walking until I reached it.

I hiked for 50 minutes and then I stopped for 5 to 10, sometimes sitting down on the ground with my pack on, sometimes standing with my pack off. I also tried to limit my "bathroom" breaks to those breaks so I wouldn't impinge on the 50 minute intervals with activities that tended to take a long time.

And, sometimes I thought about how Crossfit had prepared me for such a strange thing as hiking over 25 miles in a day.

I explicitly thought of the intervals in Crossfit terms - they were the time domains for my "AMSAPs" - as many steps as possible. I never counted the steps, but I could pay attention to the mileage. I was travelling between 2 and 2.5 miles every 50 minutes.

I hurt while I walked. My feet hurt, my legs ached, my shoulders were bruised after the first half day.

But I kept on moving, pushing through the pain to get to the next rise. To finish the next interval. To get to a place where I could stop for the night and make my miles the next day.

I'm not going to be backpacking like this for the rest of the summer, because I'll be travelling with my husband. He's slower than I am. On trails we both know, I might still hike intervals, but my rests will be waiting for him to catch up, and they'll be longer than 10 minutes most likely.

But now that I know what it's like to maintain that kind of pace, I won't forget.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Eyeing the Bar

A while ago, I was at the gym, getting ready to do a few pull ups before ending my workout and heading out. My favorite pull up bar was occupied. Well, not really occupied, but the space around it was occupied. My favorite bar is at a cable cross machine, between two lifting set ups that people often use in such a way that the bar can't be used.

And that's fine. There are other bars. They're thicker, which make it harder for me to grasp them, but I can handle them. So I walked on and came to the other bars - also around cable cross set ups, but there were a lot more bars to choose from. Since people were using some of the cable cross set ups, I chose the one closest to the mirror. I put down my gym bag and started to move a few free weights that someone had left lying around when a man walked up to me.

This was an older guy who I often see around the gym. He lifted, mostly, but also had a pair of metal ankle thingies that he used to hang upside down from the pull up bars. I had been at a point of friendly nodding with him until this very day.

"I'm eyeing the bar," he said. Then he proceeded to edge me out of the space and blatantly steal the bar I had been intending to use. He acted so benignly, as if he had every right to take the bar I had arrived at and claimed first.

There was another bar available, between two people using cable cross stations. I did my pull ups and went on my way, but I didn't forget that strange assumption of primacy. Since that encounter, I stopped smiling or nodding at this guy at the gym. I might not have had the ability in the moment to respond appropriately and tell him I had already "eyed" the bar, but I wasn't going to reward that kind of behavior.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

100 Mile Failure; 92 Mile Success

The desert caught me by surprise.

Flatness, I expected. An arid landscape, lacking drinking water. Wind, tearing at my face, pushing against my body with every step. The terrain was miles of sameness appearing in every direction, hiding draws and canyons in its rolling.

But I was fast. In spite of the wind, in spite of the lack of water. I moved with a speed that I didn't even believe when I camped on the first night, more than 25 miles from the border with Nevada. Tomorrow, I told myself, I'll see whether I really hiked that far. Because if I could reach my husband, waiting with the car at the 50 mile point of my hike, on the second night instead of halfway through the third day as planned, then I would have proven I could hike over 25 miles in a day.

And, to my surprise, I did.

I slept in a tent with my husband the second night, a tent that I did not have to pitch, with plentiful water and food, and a friend to bring me one or the other if I asked very nicely. It would have been so easy to call it then. To declare that 50 miles in 2 days was plenty.

But I didn't.

I pushed on the next day through another 24 miles. I met up with Ambrose twice more that day, at the Bruneau scenic overlook and again on the road. Then I hiked off for my third night, knowing I would have about 26 miles to go to finish up my planned route. Not knowing whether Ambrose would be able to drive the car to pick me up at the designated spot.

Between that uncertainty and the intense pain that developed on my right foot when my pinky toe decided to try to bore a hole into its neighbor, I ended the hike at Hammett, ID. With the out and back on Sunday, that made for a total of 92 miles in about 3.5 days.

I've learned to be more careful in trimming down my toenails before a long fast hike. Next time, they'll be close trimmed and filed. I'll do more route scouting beforehand to make sure my car can handle the pickup where I want it to, though for next year, I know it can meet me at either end to link the sections from this year and last year.

I believe that I can do a 100 mile hiking trip. I'll have to, for some of the sections of the ICT that go through remote areas. I know I can handle the weight and the distance. Next time I will have to pace myself a little better, and it sure would help if those sections weren't through desert.