Saturday, August 22, 2015

WEEK SIX–Rethinking the Hike of the Arizona National Scenic Trail (Aug. 16-22, 2015)

Goal: Hike The Arizona Trail.  It 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 have been very excited about the idea of doing this as a solo hike, but after studying the book on the trail, and coming to understand more fully just how big a challenge this would be, I am having second thoughts.

Previous post.  


Darn, I have not even taken any photos this week.  Here’s an old one, just west of town.

Training Days Thirty-five to Forty-one (8/16-22, 2015,  Sun.- Sat):

What have I accomplished in the four main components of preparing for this challenge?

DEPRESSING news.  I’ve accomplished very little, that’s what.  Still suffering from depression and being back on meds has not helped me even though I am back up to full strength this week.  Still depressed, in fact I think I am worse.  I am too relaxed and too lazy.  I’m not use to such a mood… and am usually always high energy.  I am cutting the pills in half and will see if my  mood improves over this coming week, and if it does, I am weaning myself off this medication.


Darn, how I love those popsicles.  They are too good.

1) Get fit, food wise.  I did WORSE this week with sodas and coffee popsicles, and still guess what????   I lost weight????  In fact, some of that junk made me really sick, adding to my depression.

That is part of what made me begin to re-evaluate my goal of hiking the trail.  If I can not even control my daily habits in order to get in shape, how the heck will I manage my health in the wild?

2) Get fit, fitness wise.  

Day 35 (Sun).  I pretty much just rested.  I planned to change this up… and do something on Sundays, walk or do a strength training routine, but I did nothing but escape into genealogy research.  And I ate 1 sm pack of cookies and 3 popsicles.  Geez.  What is wrong with me?

Day 36 (Mon).   Still lurking in the family tree and have gotten tangled up in it.  Had a chicken sandwich and a coke and it made me ill.  Later I had a healthy omelet.  But no exercise????  WTF?

Day 37 (Tue). GREAT news.  Today, I swam a mile in 1 hour and 14 min, six minutes less than six days ago.  I was very proud of myself and felt highly motivated, until the next morning?

Day 38-41 (Weds-Sat).  Where did my mojo go???   I lost it someplace since Tuesday when I swam that mile in record time.  Each morning I wake up, plan to go swim, go back to bed and just sleep… enjoying the fresh cool air here.  OMG, it is so relaxing.  But it’s depressing that I can’t fight it off and stick to my guns.  That’s when I began to question my sanity.  Also reading about the first segment of the AZ Trail where it is highly recommended you hike with a partner, due to the illegals coming across the border at that point.  And that segment is also one of the more strenuous parts of the trail. I have begun feeling like it is more than I can do logistically and physically.  I have not given up totally on the dream, but I am having second thoughts.  It’s good to listen to that still small voice inside.  All I did the rest of the week was genealogy, until when down yesterday, Fri. Aug. 21. (secretly that is a good thing for me).


Back to the pool next week to swim with the whales.

More GREAT news.  My lungs are 100% back to normal… and that I am very happy about.  Part of the reason I am so relaxed is because breathing is so easy now.

3) Learn how to ward off biting bugs.   SAME. There just are not many bugs here!!!  I’m keeping a notebook of ideas for future reference.


My whole rear end looked like that last summer in the southeastern states, and I ended up in the ER.  Pine Itch Mites that crawled out of a box of pine needles I collected, up the back of my chair and onto my naked butt…. it was hot and I was doing email with fans blowing on me… and the buggers got me.  I can’t do that again.

4) Get the equipment I need.  Backpack donated.  No other progress made on equipment needs this week.  I have not yet made a list.

DEPRESSING news.  This summer when I was so sick from bug bites, had all four of my tires fail within a couple weeks, and was stuck in the southeast, a lot of people pitched in to help me out financially.  Now it’s time to repay them, in fact I should have already done so… and it’s adding to my depression that I am still so broke.  Out of my August paycheck, my auto ins, my auto tabs, and my fees for camping in LTVA in Quartzsite will have to come along with my phone/internet bill, and regular other bills.  There is just not enough $ to do all that, which only adds to my depression.  I’m making it a new policy not to accept any more loans from people.  I’m bad about keeping track of all that.  But I am reviewing all my notes and trying to do right about all my friends.

GREATEST news.  On a positive note:

Weight?   Last week: 232 pounds       This week:  225 pounds    Weekly Loss/Gain = -7, more than I expected, for sure.   Total Loss/Gain (since July 13) = -15 pounds.  WOW!   Keep in mind, loosing weight is only a by-product of getting fit, not the goal.

Forgive me for not having a more positive post, but at least give me credit for having an honest post.  Thank you.

Please click on the blue bar at the top to “Join this site” and follow me.  You will get a e-mail notice when there is a new blog post.  Thank you.

Also, I am creating a set of notecards of southwestern images to sell in order to raise money for equipment or to help pay back my friends.  Please have a look at what they may look like.  I hope to have them finished and ready to mail out by Thanksgiving.  You can reserve your set of note cards now by sending a PayPal donation of $25 to  Note Cards will be sent out before Dec. 1, 2015, or delivered to you are the Winter RTR Rendezvous.

Sample Southwest Notecards

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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 or for the Note Cards:


Who is Swankie?

My photo
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.