~ Intertwining Lives ~

Memoirs, Life's Journey, Fitness/Health, Hiking/Trailing!


How Trailing is Helping to Redefine Myself ~

Memoirs Trail Hiking ~ March 1, 2014

I was 62 and a half (2013) when I started trail hiking with a passion. I had trail hiked with family members in Vermont and Colorado, but I was a youngster and was simply following my father around some trails. Even though I somewhat discount this as real trail hiking, I found a love of the woods or plains and the solitude and peace that is found during trail hikes. I also found it a sense of adventure, finding deer antlers and rocks I found interesting.

I had camped and taken day hikes over the years, but again, not what I would consider trail hiking.

Even my trip half way down the Grand Canyon in 1995 did not seem like a real trail hike to me. I had three of my four children with me and for water we carried 2 or 3 gallon water jugs. We got half way down at the Corral and had to climb the corral rails in order to miss the flash flooding that happened within minutes of our arrival. When the flooding was over, the rangers told us to hike back out because the trail was clo~sing. He advised us to tread carefully, as there were likely rock slides. There were. We were wholly unprepared to hike the Grand Canyon and took us until dark to reach the top.

In June/July 2012, I visited my daughter in Bend, OR. My two daughters, Cassie and Katie, and three grandchildren, Aubrey, Jack and Arwen, thought to hike. I was reduced to tears because I simply could not keep up. It was such a shock to me, as I felt like I had always been athletic. Now, what seemed like all of a sudden, I was totally out of shape at the sweet young age of 61 years. How depressing! And instead of going home and enrolling at the gym, I traipsed back to my 10 hour work days where sitting at a desk all day was paramount to my work and the extent of my exercising.

And let me back track and give a brief history of my physical activity. In my youth, I was a competitive swimmer and a cheerleader for seven years. I also jogged/ran with my dad in high school. In my young adult years, I continued jogging and using exercise DVDs, especially following the birth of my children. I worked the construction trade for a while and worked on homes and/or gardens. In 2008 and 2009, I consistently did P90X or some other types of similar exercising. I would join gyms and exercise. I would bike ride. So, I was fairly active, but I also had sedentary jobs, where I worked anywhere from eight to ten hour days. The sedentary jobs were killing any benefit from the exercising, as my weight increased with my age, especially through my fifties.

After my retirement from state government in March 2013 and a few months of adjustment (I say adjustment lightly here when it was anything but), I began walking around my neighborhood. I also bought a treadmill so that I could walk inside during the high temperatures in central Arizona. Although starting this, I was not very consistent and still suffering from the transition into retirement after nearly fifty years in the work force (my first W-2 was in 1965). I simply did not know what to do with myself, even with having a part-time job. The adjustment was depressing. I seemed to have to redefine myself and realize and accept that my life had changed.

In October 2013, my daughter invited me to visit and go on a weekend retreat with her to Skamania Lodge in Washington. Our goal was to write and prepare ourselves for the November National Writing Month contest (NaNoWriMo). Cassie, my daughter, wrote mostly. I wrote infrequently, but hiked every day. I hiked in the woods. I hiked to a neighboring town. During this weekend, I completed two six-mile hikes and one three-mile hike. I was in heaven. Even though I was in pain and iced my ankles, I was so enthralled with the beauty of the scenery, the solitude, and the peace that I experienced during these hikes.

Upon returning home, I began to walk more earnestly. I was able to walk around my neighborhood for two to four miles during the week. On the weekends, I began longer walks, achieving anywhere from five to ten mile walks.

And then I read Wild by Cheryl Strand. I started buying the books she recommended and searching for Arizona trail hikes. Cassie claimed she told me about this book a couple of years before I read it, which rang a bell to me. Cassie had also told me about her desire to walk the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

I had a desire to walk the El Camino across Spain, which resulted from seeing the movie and reading a couple of books about this pilgrimage.

I knew I had to start training if I was going to ever accomplish the El Camino or the PCT or other long trails.

It is daunting to think about hiking and camping for miles upon miles, but at the same time, I think it is something I could accomplish.

On March 1, 2014 (my mother’s birthday), I joined yet another gym and signed up for personal training. I need to lose eighty pounds. I am starting with the first forty pounds now! We will see where this takes me and hope that I can achieve beyond the first forty pounds within six months.

Between 09/23/13 and 12/29/13, I logged a total of 511,344 steps, 226.91 miles, and burned 217,987 calories.

Between 12/30/13 and 02/23/14, I logged a total of 287,315 steps, 127.5 miles, and burned 125,397 calories.

As my daughter Cassandra states ~ Happy Trailing ~