Hiker tip #2- Set a hiking goal

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
― Bruce Lee

Goals are there to assist us when motivation fades.

Last year, I organized my hiking and backpacking in order to sucessfully reach one goal- walking 1,000 miles in Maine. I thank Carey Kish for suggesting it. Here’s my blog entry with a link to Carey’s idea.

In 2015 I have set a new goal- walking or biking 1,000 miles. I don’t come up with these ideas myself- my son Lincoln suggested the 1 hour daily average. Thanks, Lincoln! He also suggested that I pony up and pay the $59 bucks to get the Strava premium app, which has great analytics, and additional features over the free version that allows one to set goals and track progress.

I have been using the Strava ( premium) app for three full months, and have been able to keep up with my goal of one hour per day average of vigorous walking or biking. In addition to mileage goals, the program is able to track energy expenditures.

In 2015, I’ve covered 396.8 miles in 97 hours, on 72 outdoor adventures. (No more gym for me.) My weight and total cholesterol are both under 200 (the first time in my life).

Here’s a screen shot of my progress to date (via Strava). This is just one way that graphics can be displayed in the program :

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 6.56.31 AM

Hiking Tip: Careful with that ibuprofen, Eugene !

I’m putting out a short series of hiker tips, given the eventual melting of snow outside my window that will eventual lead to starting up again backpacking season once again. People have started thru hiking the Appalachian Trail in droves already, starting in Georgia and moving north, here to Maine.

One practice that they best avoid is the tendency to treat ibuprofen like a cough drop, and ingest it on a daily basis, sometimes for months at a time. In fact, ibuprofen is jokingly referred to in hiker circles as “Vitamin I”.

At one time, twenty years ago, I was taking 600- 800 mg every four hours, on a daily basis. I was experiencing severe pain in my right shoulder, suffering from chronic shoulder impingement, a nasty constellation of tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis. I eventually succumbed to surgery, after my sleep became increasingly interrupted. What led to my decision to do the surgery was the advice of the shoulder specialist, who told me that I was using ibuprofen in a manner that could lead to heart problems and increase my risk of stroke or heart attack. Given my family history, I listened to him. I may still have pain where I have to take 600 mg/ 4 hours for a day or two, but then that’s it.

Learning to appropriately address pain is sometimes part of the hiking game. Pain is a signal that let’s the body know that something may need to change, and not always eradicated.

Now, there are additional concerns expressed about ibuprofen, especially if your heart is not that healthy to start with.

Ask your doctor about your use of ibuprofen, and check out the link below to today’s editorial in the Bangor Daily News. it’s short, but the takeaway in the past line sums it up pretty well:

“What you don’t know can hurt you.”

Doctor Patent

Do you take an ibuprofen every day? Tell your doctor. It could save you. — Opinion — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

You Think Your Winter Was Rough?

These guys are the real deal. They just completed the first winter traverse of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Nick Kristof sometimes writes about his own hikes on the PCT. I was surprised to see the Pacific Crest Trail showing up strong in the New York Times.

Trauma is sporting the exact same Granite Gear pack that I have decided is the best for my own backpacking.

You Think Your Winter Was Rough? – NYTimes.com <<—–

Video: My Triple Crown Experience

It’s been over a year since I’ve returned from completing my 2,500 mile thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail. In October, I was fortunate enough to focus my experience, step up to the plate, and give the Keynote presentation at the Midwest Winter Camping Symposium.

While attending there, I was interviewed for a series of instructional videos produced by Don Kivelus, of Four Dog Stove.

Here’s the video ( 9 minutes) that was just released yesterday by Four Dog Stove:

Published on Feb 16, 2015
“Triple Crown packpacker Tom Jamrog reveals some realities of long distance hiking with Don Kevilus of Four Dog Stove. Tom talks about overcoming obstacles and surviving winter camping.”

[Disclaimer: Four Dog Stove was Tom Jamrog’s primary sponsor on his Pacific Crest (2010) and Continental Divide (2013) Trail thru-hikes. ]

YouTube: Four Dog Stove Talks with Uncle Tom at Winter Camping Symposium 2014

Four Dog Stove | Talk with Tom Jamrog | Winter Camping Symposium 2014 – YouTube.

In October I went to Minnesota as the Keynote Speaker for the Winter Camping Symposium.  My presentation was entitled Adapting Winter Skills to Survive Snow Conditions on the PCT and CDT.  I also assisted with sales and answering gear-related and technical questions at Four Dog Stove‘s vendor booth during the weekend. I appreciate the sponsorship given to me by Don Kivelus during my two most recent thru-hikes: The Pacific Crest Trail (2010), and in 2013, the Continental Divide Trail.

In this brief video, Don and I discuss our mutual upbringing in farm families, the lack of spontaneous outdoor play in many communities, and my impressions about a most enjoyable weekend and meeting new friends while learning skills and techniques for enjoying the outdoors in all seasons.

1,000 mile Maine challenge completed !

Back in February, Carey Kish laid down a challenge that I decided to embrace- walking 1,000 miles in Maine in a calendar year.

Here’s Carey’s original article about that idea. As Kish notes, ” Consider the enormous health and fitness benefits of such a sustained challenge. Regular hiking and walking are proven to help decrease the risk of all kinds of nasty stuff, like coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon and breast cancers. You’ll lose weight, and reduce stress and anxiety levels. And you might just establish a new exercise pattern for years to come.”

Carey’s right in that you do it mostly by regularly walking a 3-5 mile sessions from your home. In my case, I added close to a hundred miles in Baxter State Park this season. I added another 50 in the Hundred Mile Wilderness, hiking with the Jocomotive and G-Man. Camden Hills State Park got a fair number of sessions.   I thought I was going to add up another 42 miles via the Grafton Loop Trail up off Route 26 above Newry, but that will have to wait until 2015.  I logged a few longer days of hiking with my pal Guthook in Acadia National Park this fall.

I was thrilled to pick up 7 more miles yesterday in Acadia doing the South Ridge Trail to the summit of Cadillac Mountain ( 1,528′).  I had the pure pleasure on cranking out a fast pace with my son Lincoln and his fiancee Stephanie.

That's the Atlantic out there !

That’s the Atlantic out there !

It was one of my best Holiday presents.

Did you know that Cadillac is the highest mountain on the Atlantic Coast north of Brazil (another cool fact from Carey Kish’s Maine Mountain Guide) ?


The 2014 numbers primarily came from data that I was tracking via the Strava app.  I have hit 1,094 miles to date. Strava only aggregates miles for runs, bike rides, and swims. You have to enter backpacking and walking mileages as runs.  I usually gather my data from my iPhone 5S, but sometimes log exercise using my Garmin eTex 30 GPS to gather .gpx tracks that I then download into my Macbook air and upload to Strava.

My iPhone 5s also allows me to run the free Fitbit app, without requiring the $99 wrist band.  With the launch of the M7 motion coprocessor in the iPhone 5s, Fitbit has decided to offer “basic” tracking from the phone itself.  Fitbit is fun to use, automatically counts daily steps, and also allows me to enter my daily food intake, and log body weight.

Goals are a big part of what keeps me going.  I plan trips this way- think of things I want to do and then jot them down on the calendar and they take place, as the time nears.  I tell others , and goals take firmer form- finally as actions.  Carey’s 1,000 mile goal is a welcome addition to my life.

This is also the first winter that I have dropped under 200 pounds at this time of year. I think that hiking more miles has made the difference- that and cutting out french fries.    Normally, I’ve run about 212-215 at the end of December.  This is good!

I plan to take on the 1,000 mile walking-in-Maine challenge again for 2015.

Who’s in with me for the ride, err…. the walks?


I’m going Wild today !- interview/call-in show on Maine Public Radio

12262741 Today (Wednesday 12/24) from noon to 1pm ( Eastern Time Zone)  I’ll be on MPBN’s radio program Maine Calling to talk about Cheryl Strayed’s book ‘Wild.’   Maine Calling is a live, call-in show (1-800-399-3566) so please feel free to give a call and share your thoughts on Wild – the book or the movie.

Joining me today will be host Jennifer Rooks; Mary Pols, Feature writer for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Today, not entirely reformed movie/book critic, author of Accidentally on Purpose; and, Josh Christie, Independent bookstore manager. Author of MAINE BEER, and writer covering beer, books, and the Maine outdoors

People can also stream the discussion live by visiting news.mpbn.net   People can post comments and questions on the Maine Calling Facebook page .  We’re also on Twitter @mainecalling.   Our email is Talk@mpbn.net.

Tune in !