Sunday, August 30, 2015

WEEK SEVEN–Still want to hike the Arizona National Scenic Trail (Aug. 23-29th, 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 BUT a possible solution would be to skip the section by the Mexican Border and begin at the 2nd section.  Still thinking about it.  Anyone interested in hiking the first section of the trail with me??? 

Previous post.  


My sunset last night (Sat. 8/29/15) from atop a mountain above Raton.  It has just stormed a little with wet sloshy hail, and then this wonderful view.

Training Days Forty-two to Forty-eight (8/23-29, 2015,  Sun.- Sat):

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

BETTER news.  I’m getting past the depression and am off the meds that were suppose to be helping me.  My energy level is improving.  Sometimes  medication has the wrong effect.

1) Get fit, food wise.  I did much better this week with sodas and coffee popsicles, because I spent time in the wilderness away from the temptations of fast foods and grocery stores.  I have felt hungry a lot, odd for me as I am usually loaded up with carbs and sugars,  but I worked on accepting these feelings as a good sign.  Monday I had a small coke and some snack crackers.  That’s the only bad thing I ate all week.  It seems my body is going through some major metabolic changes.

2) Get fit, fitness wise.  

Day 42 (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.

Day 43 (Mon).   Overslept this morning.  Ate the bad snacks.  Still lurking too much in the family tree but have about decided there is no solution to the broken branch I have been trying to fix.

Day 44 (Tue). Feeling very lazy today… and gave in to it.   Pout!!!  Just blew 3 whole days without any exercise.  Pout!!!   I hate myself.

Day 45 (Weds). GREAT news.  Today, I swam a mile in 1 hour and 30 min, using a kick board to strengthen my legs, which increased my time.  I was very proud of myself and felt highly motivated, until the next morning?

Day 46 (Thurs). Feeling depressed and needing to get out of town.  My joints hurt from swimming and I have not been taking Ibuprofen this week.  Drove up the road that goes behind Goat Hill (the hill with the flag on it), and found a place to park.  Feels good to be in the wild again and be able to hear crickets, birds, and the wind.  Lightening off in the distance.  I have missed being in nature.

Day 47 (Fri.).  Found the motivation to drive back to the pool this morning, and swam 1 mile in 1 hour and 20 min., 10 min less than Weds.  Used a kickboard for part of that and my legs are feeling stronger.  Drove right back up the hill after without going to town.  It’s 2.7 miles to my parking spot. 

Day 48 (Sat).  Have enjoyed just being in nature.  Walking the area a bit.  Got out my bag of gym items, weights, bands, etc. and am working out a strength-training routine to do beside the van.  No one has bothered me in this location and I seem to have the world to myself.  Most of the time I have good wifi signal as well.

Still having trouble in the mornings,  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.  I am feeling more refreshed and less depressed and I believe when that medication finally gets out of my system, I will feel even better.

That first segment of the AZ Trail worries me because of the way it is written up in the book re: illegal immigrants coming across the border.  I am now considering skipping that part of the trail, unless I get someone to hike that segment with me.  I now plan to begin at the 2nd segment of the trail.

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.

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

DEPRESSING news.  Budget still stinks, but I have managed to partially pay back some of the friends who helped me out this summer.  It has really strapped me financially and the only solution I see is NOT to go onto LTVA when I get to Quartzsite.  I am just not going to have $180 to pay for that up front.  Besides, if I begin to hike the AZ Trail in the spring, I won’t be on LTVA all the way to the end of the season.  The alternative is not too appealing either, as I will have to move around every two weeks, which  means I will not have the comfort of setting up my permanent camp.  But all that is doable.  I can pay $40 for two weeks in LTVA, and the go camp on free land for 2 weeks, and repeat.  So cost will be $10 average a week for camping.  That I can manage regardless of how annoying it will be to have to move every two weeks.

Weight?   Last week: 225 pounds       This week:  227 pounds    Weekly Loss/Gain = +2.  UGH!   Total Loss/Gain (since July 13) = -13 pounds.   Keep in mind, loosing weight is only a by-product of getting fit, not the goal.  And although weight loss is not the goal, it makes me feel disappointed in myself that I gained this week.

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Working on the sketches now instead of getting lost in my genealogy research.

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.