Learning to walk again

“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.

9 thoughts on “Learning to walk again

  1. stephen gleasner

    are you starting in Antelope Wells?
    I am so excited to follow you up the Divide. But unlike the
    month I have wasted on past Tour Divide races, and Tour
    De France races, this one is going to take some serious time
    budget….hold on….
    OK, time-lone approved!
    Go Tom!


    1. In hiking language, it’s either Crazy Cook ( Antelope Wells )or the Columbus Route. We get to choose. I chose Columbus due to the better water points, and the scenery choices. It is also easier to reach, with a cost of $25 a truckload for a trail angel ( El Coyote) to drive the four of us the 68 miles from Deming to the Border. He also provides other perks, like alerting the border patrol that we will be moving through.


  2. It sure is Crazy. Lest, you forget, I am indebted to you, Burglar, are the rest of the hikers, for naming every morning’s body straightening ritual that we all now know as “The Daily Inventory of Pain”.


  3. Every day, your inventory is either going up or down. Plain simple business administration.
    For me, nothing hurts right now. Every time I take a shower I think: sooon – this will end (happy and sad at the same time).
    I picked up a hitch-hiker last week – I haven’t seen any in months. I thought of it as an investment in my karma at first but he also had some really funny stories.
    Hey, your post inspired me to walk to the beer store instead of driving – super thanks!


    1. I’m really getting some energy back after the surgery. It has been 3 weeks. I loved the feeling of walking yesterday, what a deal! If legs were a new product available to immobile amoebas, it would be the most incredible event in the history of creation, and yet no one ( but us) walks much anymore.


  4. General Lee

    no need to be nervous about trying to keep up with a crew known for ‘dogging it.” hahahahahaha you’ll be fine, UT. glad to hear that you’re out and moving around so much. i took out for a 12-15 mile day hike of a nearby “mountain” yesterday morning. best training i’ve had yet! was solo so went super fast and immediately noticed those minor aches and pains that begin at the toe tips and then migrate throughout your body from such rigorous exercise. they’ve been dormant since March 15th (the last day i’d run). i plan on whipping those nerves into shape over the upcoming weeks.


  5. Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man.
    once told me you’ve got to play your hand
    Sometimes your cards aint worth a dime,
    if you don’t lay ’em down.

    See ya when you come through Breckenridge/Silverthorne/Dillon/etc.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s