Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Trail Recovery

Well, as it turns out, even if you are reasonably fit, hiking back to back 22-26 mile days with 3L of water and 8 days of food over steep, rocky terrain can leave you in the recovery lounge for a bit. Of course, I have been at this long enough to know when I need to stop: I don't do foolish things above my ability. Most days, I dragged myself into camp feeling okay, although there were a couple of times when I felt like one more mile was beyond reach. Actually, I am pretty happy with the results of my challenging hike.

Happiness is plentiful water that you don't have to carry. This is why I work so much: so I can afford to go hiking.
However. For a few days afterward my feet ached at night, and my legs wouldn't lie still. I took one day off from exercising and started up again. On my first run, my lungs felt amazing and my feet like dead weights. I hiked again four days after I finished, ten miles round trip, and someone two decades my senior beat me down the hill. (Though, he may have anyway. He's in really good shape.) I've also noticed that after my snow slide, I'm a lot more afraid of falling. It will take some time for the confidence to come back.

The mental recovery always takes a little longer. Being on trail is freedom. Being back is also great but means working at a desk. I like having no schedule. Doesn't everyone? It has been hard to dive back into the world of conference calls and projects. Everywhere I look I see people retiring early due to their career choices, or not working at all for a variety of reasons. I don't want their lives, but sometimes it is hard not to feel envious of their lifestyles.

After two weeks off trail, I feel like I'm back to normal. I did another two hikes this weekend and both were straight up towards the sky. One was on a well-trodden trail, and the other was an exploratory hike (and we all know what that means). We thrashed around in the downfall trying to find the remnants of an old trail, now abandoned but for a hardy few. Spoiler alert, we never made it to the lake, but not for lack of trying.

Our little remaining doggie. He's pretty sad about losing his buddies this summer, but he was happy about hiking.
 And, just like the bad romance you can't give up, I am trying to head back to the PCT. Triscuit and I want to do 125 miles of the Oregon section, from Crater Lake to Elk Lake. The only thing standing in our way is the bane of the hiker existence: a wildfire, started from an abandoned campfire, has closed the PCT at Crater Lake. We still have a few weeks, but this one looks like it is going to go big. We need to formulate our Plan B.

So the moral of my story is: Don't try to hike like a thru hiker...

Oh what the hey. Just go out there and challenge yourself. I'm glad I did my hike that way, sore feet and all. Once in awhile you need to go beyond.

8 comments:

  1. I heard about the Crater Lake fire. Bummer for all those PCT hikers. Hope they get it out soon.

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    1. Started from an abandoned campfire. The worst.

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  2. Sorry to hear that your recovery was slow, but great news that you want to do more PCT.
    My feet are constantly sore, so yes, I agree you just have to get out there, and make the most of nature's magic.

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    1. I'm reading thru hiker blogs and most of then talk about sore feet in this section. So maybe it's the rocky terrain.

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  3. (Yay, I think I finally got my phone to agree with your blog again.)
    Glad you are back out and on the trail again. Your trail withdrawals sound so much like my Tri withdrawals use to feel. My mind couldn't wait to get back on my bike and/or on the running trail. My body on the other hand was telling me "No way!"
    I love the waterfall pic, and the fur baby is pretty dang cute too.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Oh yes, and I now remember I can't hit the back button or it posts my comment twice.

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