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: 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:

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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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

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Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
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? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.