Have you ever dreamed of taking time off and going on vacation…to exercise?? I’ve had this recurring idea for quite some time now. It’s so achievable too – just take a whole week and just “go hiking.” I’ve almost gone through with it, this past fall. I’ve daydreamed about taking a whole week off, getting my camping gear ready, and then going up and doing a big loop drive around Washington state (from Mt. Baker up highway 20 to Rainy Pass) to hike in the cascade mountains. I’d car camp, so do a big hike every day, come back, cook dinner on a cook stove, drive to the next hiking trailhead, and then sleep in my truck. The next day I’d do another 8-15 mile grueling hike. Repeat.
Can you imagine how fit you’d be after doing that for 7 days straight? I mean, a serious hike, with 3000-4000 foot elevation gain over 4-6 miles (then you turn around and go back, so double the miles!) is serious work! I did that kind of hiking all summer, once a week. The only reason I didn’t follow through with the plan in September is I was partially burned out, and because hiking back to back is murder on your feet! I would be footsore after a big hike. I don’t know if it’s due to my weight completely (probably), or because I need cushy squishy insoles in my hiking boots, but I couldn’t see being able to completely more than 2 days’ worth. I’d get pains on the ballof my foot on the last quarter of the hike, as I was going downhill, with all that pressure on one spot on my foot. UGH. Talk about perseverence – to put up with that every hike, every time? I don’t know if I could deal with it getting worse every day, day after day.
A few years ago I did a fabulously gorgeous and challenging hike up to the Enchantment Lakes, one of the most stunning hikes you can do in Washington State (do a search for Pyramid Peak and you’ll see what I mean). It’s a 3 day hike, normally. It was also my first backpacking trip, ever, with my old bf. It was pretty severe, and intense, and we did it the short-cut route, going up a vertical 3/4 mile climb up a pass, then hiking the slow gradual way down (which is where most people hike into it from) on the other side. We did it in early October, before the snow started, and it was still entombed in snow and ice at the top plateau (it rarely completley goes away over the summer). It was amazing. But the most amazing thing? This guy we met at the top of the plateau. He had a tiny small daypack with him, and had climbed up the pass in a half day, the same distance that took me a day and a half to do, and he was planning on getting back to the trailhead by evening.
Whoa?! What? How? Well, this guy was so fit and in shape, that he was doing this extended hiking trip every day, all over, then meeting up with some buddies to camp every night, and doing it so often and being so fit, that he could do the whole thing much faster than me with my 35-40 lb pack. To this day, that idea has stuck with me. If I could hike something major like that in a day, and then repeat it again and again, I would be ultra fit. No need for a gym, no need to count calories, I would just lose weight. I mean, have you ever hiked like this? Panted, and sweated, and worked for 6 hours or more? Major calorie burning, let me tell you.
This is a goal/dream of mine, and I think I may try and do it this year. I’m already planning semi-weekly hikes and snowshoe excursions, if not more frequently. If I do the gym weekly as I’m planning, at least 5 days a week (or more), I should have lost enough weight to be under 200 lbs. I should get some gel insoles for my shoes, and then between the two of them, maybe I’ll be fit enough, and light enough to be able to do a big multi-day hike like this. I should be able to do a full week of hiking by end of summer.