Saturday, July 18, 2015

WEEK ONE-- Arizona National Scenic Trail Hike Training–(July 15-18, 2015)

Goal: Hike The Arizona Trail is an 800+ mile recreation trail from Mexico to Utah that connects mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, historic sites, trail systems, points of interest, communities, and people.   (From:  http://www.aztrail.org/at_about.html) I will be doing this as a solo hike.  I would also like to raise money for some worthy cause by doing the hike, but have not yet selected a cause.  I am open to suggestions.  Email your ideas to me at:  charlene.swankie@gmail.com.

Previous post.

Training Day Three (July 15, 2015):  Midnight last night was payday.  I have decided that on this ONE day a month, I will eat what I crave.  I know from experience if a person denies themselves all the things they enjoy, most likely they will fail to reach their goals.  So this morning I got McD’s Sausage Burritos, an apple fritter and a coke, and a Baby Ruth to nibble on the next couple days.  And I drove from Taos to Eagle’s Nest Lake, and pay $5 for day use area.  I plan to clean out and organized the van and papers, get the kayak down and repair some damage, launch it and paddle around this lake til I get my fill.  I don’t have to leave this area until 9pm and will then just go park someplace.   I didn’t want to pay $10 for the night for camping and be crowded in among a bunch of Class A RVs.  That’s no fun for me.  It was a hairy road up here from Taos and I need to relax.  So, as I am backing out the side door of my van, I hear “Charlene?” and turn to find my friend, Roxanne Ellis, walking toward me.  We had a nice visit.  What a surprise.

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What have I accomplished the four main components of preparing?  Each day I plan to do something toward these tasks.

1) get fit, food wise.   Today is payday.  I am going to eat well, but also splurge a little.  My bad.  One day a month.  But, I unpacked my “Superfood Smoothies” book by Julie Morris and will be taking stock of what I have on hand, making a shopping list, and preparing to eat better.

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2) get fit, fitness wise.  Got out of the city of Taos and up into the mountains where the air is cleaner.  I am still coughing a lot and can’t begin working out hard until my lungs are clear again.  Throughout the day, my lungs seems to clear up even more and I pampered myself and took a long nap.  My hope was to kayak Eagle Nest Lake today, but we had a thunderstorm, rain and lots of wind.  Wind stopped briefly after the storm, but began again.  So kayaking is postponed.  Will try for a very early morning paddle tomorrow.

3) learn how to ward off biting bugs.   I am now at a much higher altitude than Taos, and it should be colder and therefore fewer bugs.  One can hope.  Taos is at 6,967’ and Eagles Nest Lake is at 8,300 ft.  And it is 75F at noon.  Cool fresh air.

4) get the equipment I need.  No progress other than getting this blog post started.  Unpacked “Your Complete Guide to the Arizona National Scenic Trail” by Matthew J. Nelson and the Arizona Trail Association. (1st Edition 2014)  Got no internet signal tonight, so will begin studying.


Training Day Four (7/16 Thurs):

What have I accomplished the four main components of preparing?

1) get fit, food wise.  Ate right.

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2) get fit, fitness wise.  Kayaked Eagle’s Nest Lake, NM.  About 3 hours on the water.  Really helped my mood a lot.

3) learn how to ward off biting bugs.   Nothing much new learned on this.  Mosquitoes don’t seem to be a big problem in this area.

4) get the equipment I need.  No progress made.


Training Day Five (7/17 Fri):

What have I accomplished the four main components of preparing?   I’m off my game here.  Decided to drive to Colorado today to hear a friend sign. 

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Bob Ballard playing at the Arkansas Riverwalk in Pueblo, CO.

1) get fit, food wise.   Can’t seem to travel/drive and also eat right.  Not going to discuss it.

2) get fit, fitness wise.  Walked about three miles to and from my parked van and the music performance.  But as I was listening to Bob play, I began to have a COPD episode and began coughing.  Had to leave and get out of the city air as soon as possible.  Headed back south and stopped at the first rest stop for the night.  Meds, throat spray, cough drops and the van A/C got my lungs to settle back down again.

3) learn how to ward off biting bugs.   No progress made.

4) get the equipment I need.  No progress made.


Training Day Six (7/18 Sat.):

What have I accomplished the four main components of preparing?  Again, travelled all day, exploring the mountains of Colorado, instead of returning to NM immediately.  Fun fun.

1) get fit, food wise.  Not eating right at all.  But when I do have something sweet, it seems to become unpleasant before I am done.  I think something is changing.

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2) get fit, fitness wise.   Not much exercise besides climbing in and out of the van, except climbing to the top of the Bishop’s Castle.  I had heard about this place before, but today, just accidentally happened upon it.  I met and chatted with the Castle Builder and gave him the small green banded rhyolite heart I made last winter.  I told him he could embed it in the mortar of the Castle if he liked.  He had told me he had cancer and so I wanted to give him the little heart… as a get well wish.  A little about the Castle “Today's visitors to the Bishop Castle will find an impressively monumental statue in stone and iron that cries loud testament to the beauty and glory of not only Having a Dream, but Sticking with your Dream no matter what, and most importantly, that if you do believe in yourself and strive to maintain that belief, anything can happen! Three full stories of interior rooms complete with a Grand Ballroom, soaring towers and bridges with vistas of a hundred miles, and a Fire-Breathing Dragon make the Bishop Castle quite the unforgettable experience! Visitors are always welcome FREE of charge, and the castle itself is always OPEN. Please respect this trust and honor while visiting! “

3) learn how to ward off biting bugs.   No progress made.

4) get the equipment I need.  No progress made.

It’s been an interesting week, this morning a helicopter landed next to me at the Rest Stop.  I climbed to the top of a Castle Turret (the tall one in photo below).  I drove all over some very beautiful Colorado mountains.

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It doesn’t get any better than this, until tomorrow.  (SwankieWheels)


Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the hike.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below.


Contribute to Equipment for the Trail Hike:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Arizona National Scenic Trail Hike Training–Began July 13, 2015

What is the Arizona Trail?

The Arizona Trail is an 800+ mile recreation trail from Mexico to Utah that connects mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, historic sites, trail systems, points of interest, communities, and people. It serves dayhikers, backpackers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, trail runners, nature enthusiasts, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and mule and llama packers.
The trail can also be described in two other ways; for its features, and for the experience it provides.   (From:  http://www.aztrail.org/at_about.html)

I will be doing this as a solo hike.  I would also like to raise money for some worthy cause by doing the hike, but have not yet selected a cause.  I am open to suggestions.

Training Day One

I have never been thin and am genetically a hefty woman, my bones are not petite.  I can’t change any of that, but I can become more fit, and therefore, more healthy.  My mother died in her 50s, I believe, from messing around with all kinds of diets in an effort to be thin and attractive to “other” people.  I thought she was the most beautiful woman on earth, but she ruined all that by being obsessed with weight.  So, I made up my mind long ago, that I would not take that same path.  I will NOT diet.   I’m gonna be happy first, and give happiness to those I love.  She became so vain about her appearance that she was miserable and lost track of what was really important.

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How the heck could she look any better?  Why did she feel so inferior? Well, I can’t change any of that either.

For several years now I have wanted to train to hike the AZ Trail (820 miles). Ironically, it was a let-down to complete my goal of kayaking all 50 states and I immediately felt the need to find a new challenge.  A friend of mine had talked about hiking the AZ Trail and my son had hiked both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, and so I thought, that’s it… I will hike the AZ Trail.  It is as if, having a big, almost impossible goal in front of me gives me purpose and a reason to go on living (a promise I made to David Swankie on his death bed).  Trust me, I’d trade the dream in for the chance to be the Grandma, like the kind of grandma my Grandma was to me, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me.  I decided after kayaking my 50th state, Hawaii, that I would hike the AZ Trail in spring of 2015.  But, last year family health issues prevented me from beginning my training, however, today, July 13, 2015, I began.

There are four main components  preparing for the hike: 1) get fit, food wise, 2) get fit, fitness wise, 3) learn how to ward off biting bugs, 4) get the equipment I need. I have read a 2002 book on the hike written by a guy from Ireland.  The Trail was not even completed until 2012.  I have the new book.  I will join the Arizona Trail Association.   I will be studying what is needed, like GPS device, boots, etc. and making a wish list to add to my Training Updates.  These items will be made available on my Amazon Store as well. 

I should also add that I am not new to backpacking or hiking.  I hiked and trained with Paul Petzoldt, founder of the National Outdoor Leadership School.  We were actually camp-mates (sharing tent, meals, supplies) in 1977, and I learned so much from him.  This was the pilot class for his plan to develop a nation-wide training for outdoor leaders.  He set the standards for “leave no trace” and responsible use of the outdoors.  I hiked with him for three weeks once, with all supplies needed for the whole time period, on MY back, and in fact all his food was on my back too (“the leader doesn’t carry the food or cook”).   In 1978, I worked with him in establishing the Wilderness Use Education Association, I was his administrative assistant. I organized a nation-wide tour for him to travel and speak at all the major outdoor recreation colleges in the country, about the need for responsible outdoor leaders and the leave no trace philosophy.  The name has since been shortened to Wilderness Education Association and some of the people I hiked and trained with in 1977 are still with the Association, although Paul is now deceased.

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Paul Petzoldt, and one of the camp meals I prepared for us.  He was a legend in his own time.  So, I know stuff… he taught me stuff. Lots of stuff.

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Our camp in the high Tetons.  I CAN do this.  I am not new to all this, but I AM really out of shape.

But for today, 48 years later, July 13, 2015 this is what I did to get started:

1) I hiked up and down mountain terrain for about 3 hrs.,

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Left: 2015,  Right: Me in the Tetons 1977.

2) I only bought 1 soda at fast food and no other junk, 3) I traded in my change for a $10.48 Coinstar coupon and bought $6 worth of fresh veggies, 4) I made and ate a very yummy, very healthy salad (have enough greens for one tomorrow also). And finally, 5) I'm pretty proud of all that.  It’s a good beginning.

Oh, and I forgot one thing, I bought fresh garlic, and added a whole clove to my salad. It burned my mouth, but lots of people said it would help with skeeter bites.  I will add a clove of garlic to everything I cook or eat.   If I'm gonna do 820 miles of walking in the great outdoors, I have to be less of a magnet for biting bugs. Time will tell. Today I hiked using bug spray, and a head net and hat.

OK, full disclosure is required: (my aim is not to loose weight, it will be what it will be) Weight today: (ugh) 240 lbs.

I will end my updates with full disclosure confessions like my weight above and anything I goofed up on: The coke was the only bad thing today.

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Lastly: face shot of me today, full-body shot to be included when someone is around to take one.

Always hated photos of myself... but the only way to succeed is to be open and honest.

I lost weight before… but gained most of it back.  It is not my goal to loose weight, but to challenge myself beyond what I think I can do.  To become better than I have ever been before. 

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Left taken about 2009, and Right taken May 2014, the year I turned 70.  Unfortunately, I have regained some of the weight due to inactivity.

Who knows what I will look like or feel like at the end of the trail.  I will begin the hike as one person, and come out the end of the trail as someone I have never met before.  Boy, I hope that will be a good thing?!  I am not doing it to make David Swankie or Paul Petzoldt proud of me, they are dead.  I am doing it all for me!!!  (But if you want to learn more about my mentor, Paul Petzoldt… see his publications on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=paul+petzoldt&tag=mh0b-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=1695751562&hvqmt=p&hvbmt=bp&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_35flig7dba_p .)

Training Day Two:  Today I was lazy, but ate right and bought no fast food.  One step at a time.  Wrote this blog.


Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the hike.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below.


Contribute to Equipment for the Trail Hike:

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on https://www.facebook.com/swankie.wheels. In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.

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