I’m very pleased to be joining three other wilderness writers at this literary event next Saturday afternoon , March 30. Check it out, Portland.
I’m thankful whenever I can paste up someone else’s outdoor trip report on any adventure that I have shared with that person. Last week was the first snowshoe hike of the season into Maine’s Camden Hills State Park.
Here’s an overview of the whole park, with some 25+miles of hiking available all year ’round.
I have written about overnight hikes in this location before. The Park is a gem, and used heavily by locals and summer visitors alike. My partner on this hike was Ryan, who was fine tuning some added features on revision to his trail app, Atlas Guides.
We thru-hiked the Appalachian (2007) and the Pacific Crest ( 2010) National Scenic Trails the same years and continue get together at least seasonally to either maintain our volunteer sections of the AT or backpack in Baxter State Park.
Click on the link below to see photos of unpacked expanse of while snow looks like. I’ve got one here that I’ll add of Ryan overlooking the wide angle view from the top of Maiden’s Cliff.
We trudged through the Park west to east, where we reached another vehicle that we spotted at the Stevens’ Corner parking lot.
Check out Ryan’s most excellent blog post below for this adventure, with additional photos, including iPhone screen shots of the Camden Hills Hiker app in action
A couple of days ago, I listened to Terry Gross interview Kristi Ashwanden (you can listen to “The Strange Science Behind the Big Business of Exercise Recovery”) .
Ms, Ashwanden has the goods. She has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award as well as a state and national collegiate cycling champion as well as an elite cross-country skier with team Rossignol.
Christie was interviewed about her new book, Good To Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery.
She discussed several of the main topics, which included the overhydration wave, the rise of electrolytes (think salt), a wide range of techniques to deal with inflammation, massage, icing vs hot packs, compression garments, infrared saunas, and most importantly sleep.
I was so impressed with the practical way she approached interview that I bought the book after I learned that no library in the state of Maine has it, yet.
Lately I’ve been reading more, resulting in being online less, two of of my goals for 2019. I read this book in two days and it fits with my own approach to recovery for the past five years (a hint of confirmation bias, perhaps?) .
This book is a solid response to the question, “Do any of these things really help with recovery?”
You can find out yourself, so I don’t want to put out any spoilers in this review but…after reading it, I’m planning to rack up even more sleep, monitor my daily recovery with morning heart rate variability readings, continue to put in a hour or more of meditation a day, take my non-infrared saunas, reduce ibuprofen usage, make my own electrolyte drink, but most importantly listen to my body.
My traditional sauna is cranking 200 degrees right now. I’m in headed in to assist in recovery for my overstretched hamstring.
But I’m not about to overhydrate !
Check out my review on Goodreads via clicking the hotlink below
I’m a regular user of coffee, the legal drug that is associated with athletic performance enhancement.
According to a Fitness Genes blog post (10/03/18- Dr. Haran Sivapalan),
reports suggest that around 74% of elite athletes use caffeine either before or during an event, and the majority of these seem to be endurance athletes. There’s good reason for this. Studies of cyclists, rowers, and runners show that caffeine can significantly prolong time to exhaustion, increase average power output and improve finishing times. Caffeine works by blocking a receptor in the brain, called the adenosine receptor. It’s this action that explains how caffeine stimulates our nervous system and keeps us awake. Blocking adenosine is also thought to improve the recruitment of muscles, reduce our perceived effort during exercise and dampen our perceptions of pain, all of which help endurance exercise.
I’ve settled into a few morning cups- usually no more than three. In the late afternoon I’ll sometimes have another cup a half-hour before I head out on a mountain bike ride or a hike. I’ve recently discovered that I can also enjoy an occasional espresso after dinner, with no disruptive effect on my sleep.
I’m what is known as a fast processor of caffeine. It’s clear that caffeine isn’t an equal opportunity enhancer. The extent to which individuals experience performance benefits appears to vary according to how fast you metabolize caffeine. This, in turn, depends on your genes, particularly your CYP1A2 gene.
I’m a fast metabolizer of caffeine. My Fitness Genes analysis indicates that I have the AA genotype for CYP1A2, which results in an ability to break down caffeine more quickly.
In 2006, Dr. El-Sohemy and his colleagues published a study in JAMA showing that slow metabolizers had a heightened risk of heart attacks if they frequently drank coffee, compared to people who were genetically classified as fast caffeine metabolizers. The scientists theorized that the drug, which can constrict blood vessels, hung around and produced longer-lasting — and in this case undesirable — cardiac effects among the slow metabolizers.
“The fast metabolizers rode nearly 7 percent faster after they had downed the larger dose of caffeine compared to the placebo. The moderate metabolizers, by contrast, performed almost exactly the same whether they had received caffeine or a placebo.”
Clicking below will introduce you to learn how a peformance-based training program that includes coffee appears to keep at least one professional sports team on the run.
I reached two fitness goals by the last day of 2018: riding my bikes 1,000 cumulative miles and also walking (via hiking or backpacking) 1,000 miles.
I have zero interest in indoor walking/running or biking, either in a gym or at home. After decades of continuous health club memberships, I walked away from my local YMCA in late September of 2013, due to my shifting preferences and awareness of what my heart ( literally) was telling me. I needed to be outdoors more. That fall I had returned from third thru-hike, amassing 2,500+ miles on the Continental Divide Trail. I was fully planning a return to my gym rat status, but all it took was for a single return session for me to change my long devotion to the gym.
For 2019, I plan to amass 2019 cumulative miles via foot, either hiking or biking.
Another goal on my list is to read 40 books this year. I “shelve” books to read and books that I’ve read and monitors my reading, with the help of the Goodreads app. It tracks my progress toward reaching my total book goal. I especially like the scan function which allows me to immediately scan ( via the app) a book’s barcode which links to the exact same info that appears in Amazon (also owns the Goodreads app). If I plan to read the book, I save it to my Want To Read list. So far I have read 3 books in Jan. I pretty pleased that one of them was the 557 page The Outsider, by Stephen King. I have it 4 stars, by the way, even though none of it included scene from Maine.
I’m here in Florida this week for 6 nights of camping with my older and closest friend Edward and his wife Jane. He’s here at Fort Wilderness Campground for a few months break from running his fruit and vegetable farm in MA.
I am becoming more familiar with my Seek Outside tipi. Is warm here but it sometimes rains hard, like it did last night, from around 2 in the morning until 9 am. The 12 foot diameter span gives me a palace of a place here, with 6’10” of headroom in the center.
We are able to find leftover firewood that we have used every night to enjoy a warming fire.
I plan to get a lot of walking in while I am down here for a week. Yesterday , I logged 7 miles.
I finally decided to add yet another goal for 2019. It came to my attention through Alistair Humphreys, whose Microadventures book and website promote cultivating a mind that leads one to enjoy adventures that are likely right outside the back door, rather than thinking of and treating them as distant journeys, every one.
For 2019, I plan to sleep outside at least one night in every calendar month. January ? Check!
Welcome to 2019!
Here’s an update on my plans and goals for the year.
I’ve reluctantly suspended commercial guided backpacking trips in 2019. I learned my lesson in 2017 when I had to cancel and refund cash money for two fully booked 5 and 10 day backpacking trips. At that time, issues with serious medical conditions involving two of my family members demanded that I stay home and address the care of my loved ones. While those issues continue to be managed in the best manner possible, there now exists a real possibility that I will not be able to be in the wilderness if and when the health of my family takes a nosedive.
Nevertheless, I have made alternate plans to get out and schedule few things that allow me to be outdoors, sleeping on the ground, hanging out around campfires, and enjoying what I can in the forest.
I consider myself blessed.
Everyday life offers me engagement in the outdoors on a daily basis, in all seasons.
I live in a sort of “park” in midcoast Maine, where several of my neighbors hold large 100+ and even 1,000+ acre undeveloped properties. Long stretches along High Street, where I live at 430 feet of elevation on the southern side of Moody Mountain, not only don’t have any buildings, there aren’t even any utility poles or wires. What’s there instead is a canopy of towering oaks and other hardwoods that tower over the narrow roadway. This past couple months I’ve observed several mature bald eagles who have remained for the winter perched on a rooftops and trees, and even watched them glide over the bare open fields are they scan for their meager, but apparently adequate sources of sustenance.
I’ve stopped caring that the deer are still feeding on my shrubs, and fruit trees. That’s all that’s left for them and the flocks of 30 plus wild turkey after they ate the remains of my vegetable garden down to the ground after harvest.
I am blessed that many of my neighbors continue to allow me to hike and mountain bike right out my door, through the fields, abandoned roads, and trails that I’ve traveled over the past forty years that I’ve lived in this hand-made house. May all this continue as long as it goes.
At this point, I refer the reader to this article from Self magazine: The 2 Things That Will Help Motivate You to Be More Active
The article builds on data compiled between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2018, from all 36 million people who use Strava that was aggregated and de-identified to respect athlete privacy.
Two factors lead to increased activity and help athletes stay active longer: goal setting and working out with someone.
My increasing engagement in walking and biking outdoors has been greatly enhance by both these practices.
I plan to continue writing about my 2019 plans in subsequent posts.
For 2019, please consider joining the 919 other people who are subscribed to future pots from this blog.
Disclaimer: I paid for my Strava Summit ( formerly Premium) yearly membership
Ever wondered if family and friends who are concerned that you might be experiencing hearing loss might be right? Poor hearing is not just an annoying inconvenience.
“Two huge new studies have demonstrated a clear association between untreated hearing loss and an increased risk of dementia, depression, falls and even cardiovascular diseases.”
FYI: I will continue to get mine checked yearly.
Check out what my long-fought 569 hours brought me in 2018 ! Happy Outdoor New Year’s !
“In an effort that could go down as one of the great feats in polar history, the American Colin O’Brady, 33, covered the final 77.54 miles of his 921-mile journey across Antarctica in one last 32-hour burst during which, without sleeping a wink, he became the first person ever to traverse Antarctica from coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided by wind.”- NY Times