“A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return
I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?
Where do I begin?”
-Walk, Foo Fighters
I celebrated the first sunny day in over a week by walking 8 miles around town today. I’m still healing up from hernia surgery three weeks ago and am restricted from carrying a backpack, but plan for fewer miles and to begin carrying light weight on my back this week.
I’ve been nervous about being able to keep up with MeGaTex when I start walking the Continental Divide Trail in New Mexico in 33 days. After today, I am more confident that I can hit the trail with a full pack and start putting in those 15 to 20 mile days.
I’ll start backpacking on flat terrain in the Chichuahan Desert. We’ll be caching water for the first five days, and there will be a motel stop in Deming, NM after the first 68 miles. That means 3 nights out, camping in the desert. I’ll be in my Moment tent. No sharing my sleeping bag with rattlesnakes, scorpions, or tarantulas, thank you!
With food and cached water, I’ll be shouldering a relatively light 25 pound pack.
I have charted out 16 actual conditioning days, alternating each training hike with a rest day, gradually increasing miles, ruggedness of terrain, and the weight on my back. My goal is to walk 12 miles with 35 pounds on my back two days before my flight to El Paso on 4/16. I follow Ray Jardine’s conditioning program, which he details in Trail Life
My surgeon advised me to wait 6 weeks before I can resume unrestricted loads, a plan that just leaves me just 8 training days with my base pack weight of 18 pounds. Base weight is my gear without food and water.
Today was a glorious experience. The first picture above is the long downhill into Lincolnville Center. While most of the walk was along paved roads, I hike on the gravel shoulder. I do this to reduce the pounding from walking on pavement. I also aim foot placement on irregularities and sideways slopes off the road in order to strengthen my ankles.
Part of the hike was along the unplowed Martin Corner Road, which gave me more opportunities to strengthen my ankles as I postholed over snow for a mile and a quarter.
I averaged 3.8 mph over the up and downs of 676 feet of elevation gain. I’m freakin’ elated with feeling good again. Listening to music helped today, especially Dave Grohl’s roaring voice encouraging me to learn to walk again.