Fitness vacations?

11 Jan

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.


Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Goals, Hiking


7 responses to “Fitness vacations?

  1. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    January 11, 2011 at 13:36

    I haven’t hiked in recent years, but I hope to in the spring. Maybe you can’t do your full week of hiking, but the semi-weekly hikes is a great step (har-har) in the right direction! 🙂

    • dietmaven

      January 11, 2011 at 21:28

      Yeah, I should keep trying. The thing is, last year, I *only* hiked once a week, and that was my only source of exercise. NOW, I’m doing the gym multiple times a day, PLUS doing hiking, and I should be in much better shape. But really, I think it’s the weight loss that will allow me to do more than one at a time and be able to physically do it. Either way, it’s a goal. I don’t do well with the lose x pounds by y date type goals, but that’ll be another post down the line.

      I love hiking, it’s so easy, doesn’t have a lot of set-up and prep, it just takes non-cotton clothing, a good pair of shoes, and a backpack!

  2. Chibi Jeebs

    January 11, 2011 at 14:41

    I’ve only hiked once or twice, but that sounds LOVELY – when you’re out enjoying nature and the fresh air, you can (almost!) forget you’re actually exercising. 🙂

    • dietmaven

      January 11, 2011 at 15:04

      It is amazingly uplifting and fun. However, the heat, the sweat, the hordes of biting flies and mosquitos and other insects can put a damper on it in the warmer months (July/Aug/Sept). Then it’s a matter of KEEP MOVING! Don’t Stop! But yeah, it is definitely more fun than hours and hours in a sweaty gym with headphones on. Better views, too!

  3. Sasha

    January 11, 2011 at 19:33

    Well, you know how I feel about the hiking, I do absolutely love it. Last May when my husband and I went back to Los Angeles, my hometown, for a vacation, we did do a nice 6.5 mile hike on part of the Gabrielino trail. We also did our share of walking since we were eating more but I don’t think I could handle hiking like that every single day. It took me two days to recover from my 11 mile hike around Cold Water Lake and I ended up with the dreaded black toenail, although that was an issue with my shoes, other parts of my body were aching badly. I do, however want to go to the Isaac Walton Inn in Glacier Park in Montana and I want to go horseback riding and hiking. I guess that would be a sort exercise vacation but it just sounds like fun to me. Anyway, you got me started on this loooong comment because you said the “H” word to me. That’ll do it for me every time.

    • dietmaven

      January 11, 2011 at 21:32

      Yes, I’m starting to realize that from your blog, which is partly why I like reading it so much! Good luck with the new boots – they are the single most important thing you’ll wear! My hiking partner has gone through 3 pairs this summer trying to find the right pair (yet another thing to love about REI, their return policy!).

      • Sasha

        January 13, 2011 at 11:38

        I bought my Oboz at REI in Portland and I was just reading their return/exchange policy. Do they take returns/exchanges if the shoes have been completely used? I used them all summer!


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