Mount Tehama, Gone but not Forgotten

I’ve spent little time in the southern portion of Lassen Volcanic National Park, and on this day (late January 2016) I wanted to immerse myself in a bit of geologic history amidst a winter wonderland.

After 2-3 years of lackluster snow levels, plentiful snow is a welcome sight.

In the winter, the entry fee is $10 per vehicle; a caretaker stays in the parking lot. If you plan to be out later than dark, let him know in advance. You can sleep in your car for $10 or obtain a permit for backcountry camping.

The Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center is open limited days and hours during the winter, while the restrooms and front entry are open 24/7. Be sure to register your trip departure and return.

With an over nine foot base, snow steps are required to access the trails.

One of the easiest ways to explore the park is via the road, which is exactly what I did on this date.

Sulfur Works and Mount Diller

A bubbling mud pot of hydrothermal activity at Sulfur Works.

A fumarole near Sulfur Works.

Up close and personal with a fumarole.

Brokeoff Mountain to the left, followed by the ridge above Ridge Lakes, Mount Diller and Pilot Pinnacle barely visible on the far right. Many people incorrectly assume Brokeoff and Mount Diller formed the edges of what once was Mount Tehama. It’s actually comprised of not only Brokeoff, but also Mount Conard, Pilot Pinnacle, Mount Diller, and Diamond Peak. It was 11-15 miles wide and 11,000′ tall. (As a comparison, Mt Shasta is 16-17 miles wide and over 14,000′ tall).

Diamond Peak, stands at 7,968′.

Brokeoff Mountain rises to 9,235′.

Mount Diller tops out at 9,087′.

Pilot Pinnacle at 8,886′.

Mount Conard (8,204′), is another remnant of Mount Tehama.

Eagle Peak (9,222′) to the left; Lassen Peak (10,457′) to the right.

Lassen Peak and what’s known as Vulcan’s Eye.

Brokeoff Mountain to the left, Diamond Peak and Mount Diller.

 

Jan’s Tips and Resources:

 

DIY – Down Skirt, Leg Warmers, Socks, Mittens

This project was made from a down throw I purchased from CostCo for $20. The throw’s construction was 5″ squares with dimensions of 12 squares by 14 squares (about 60″ x 70″).

The goal was to keep it simple. There are much more tailored options but my goal was simply to have an additional layer when camping in frigid conditions, and potentially for use when snowshoeing in cold but not wet weather. I also have an older style sewing machine with limited stitches.

The CostCo throw came with a nice stuff sack. Filled with my new down wear, total weight is 15.7 ounces or nearly a pound. How often will I carry an extra pound in my pack? Better to be pound foolish than cold :)

Layout:

Blue was used for mittens

Prep:

  1. Using the measurements as specified in each section, determine your layout for the desired pieces.
  2. Mark that layout on the reverse side of the quilt. I used chalk.
  3. Sew parallel straight lines on both side of the chalk line. If you use the squares on the CostCo quilt, one line is already sewn. #11 needle worked for my machine and this fabric.
  4. Cut between the sewn lines. This will help manage the loose down. Keep vacuum handy!
  5. Finish the edges. I used a zigzag stitch.

Skirt:

Materials: 12 squares (60″) x 7 squares (35″)

My objective was a long skirt I could wear in combo with my leg warmers around camp or in bed on especially cold trips. I also wanted the option to wear it occasionally for cold hiking or snowshoeing. I elected to keep it simple by making it a straight skirt with an adjustable elastic waistband. I wanted the width sufficient to tuck around me when sitting around and wide enough for my hiking stride. Weight 8.85 ounces.

Instructions:

  1. Measure for length and width. Add 1-2″ for seams. Size over your clothing with adequate room to pull up over your hips.
  2. Cut using the factory finished edge as hem and side seams (depending on your personal dimensions).
  3. Sew side seam and top stitch to make a flat seam. Use french seam if you want to hide raw edges if you didn’t use factory finished ends.
  4. Make a casing for the elastic at the unfinished edge. Leave 1/2″ opening to thread elastic.
  5. I used round cord elastic with a toggle to adjust waistband.
  6. Pockets:
    1. Use the leftover fabric from making the diagonal cut for the leg warmers.
    2. Select your size preference. I used the angled 2×2 squares.
    3. Finish the edges.
    4. Decide where to place on skirt. I placed on sides one square down from waist.
    5. Top stitch pocket in place.

Leg Warmer/Sock Combo:

Materials: 10 squares (50″) x 14 squares (70″)

My objectives were slippers/socks and leg warmers to wear in bed or around camp in cold conditions. I wanted the ability to get up in the middle of the night without removing socks or having to put on overshoes. I also wanted something I could wear over my tights when hiking if it was really cold but dry. These are designed with an open toe that tucks under the foot for socks or slides up to the ankle when used with shoes. If I want to wear them walking on snow, I can use a shower cap or bread bags as moisture barriers. Weight 5.25 ounces.

Instructions:

  1. Measure for the largest circumference area of your lower leg/calf over whatever you’ll be wearing. I measured over my jeans just to ensure I had plenty of space.. Add about 5-7″. For me that was about 25″. Finished width is 23″.
  2. Measure length from below knee to floor and from heel to toes. Add another 5-7″. For me that was about 35″. Finished length is 33″.
  3. Measure largest circumference area of your foot between arch to toes. Add another 5-7″. For me that was about 15″. Finished width is 14″.
  4. Fold the fabric inside out for each leg.
  5. Starting at the finished edge end, draw a diagonal line from the smallest width to the largest width. In my case from the 15″ (3 squares) to the 25″ (5 squares).
  6. Pin on the discard fabric area, otherwise down may leak through the pin hole.
  7. Sew along the diagonal line (start at the factory finished end).
  8. Cut about 1/4 – 1/2″ from the sewn line. (Keep the piece you cut off if you’d like a pocket on your skirt)
  9. Finish the cut edge. I used the zigzag stitch.
  10. Flip the leg warmer, finished side out, and complete a modified french seam if you’d like to hide the raw edges.
  11. Make a 1/2″ casing on the largest width end for the elastic. I double rolled to hide the raw edge. Begin and end on both sides of the seamed section leaving about 1/2″ to pull through the elastic. I used round cord elastic. Package doesn’t indicate diameter.
  12. Test fit and either finish with a toggle adjustment or fixed length by tying knot.
  13. Measure from the floor over the top of your foot (at your arch). For me that was 8″. Cut a section of the round cord elastic. Attach to each side of the toe end of legging. Looks like a stirrup. I knotted each end of the elastic and attached with a zigzag stitch (stitching over vs through so I could adjust).
  14. Test fit by tucking the last section (about 5″) under your foot. Place elastic over your foot to hold it loosely in place. Adjust knot/length as necessary.

Mittens:

My objective was a warm-up around camp mitten, definitely not intended to hike in. I wanted them to be roomy enough I could hold a cup. The design is a lopsided balloon. Weight 1.2 ounces

Materials: 2 squares (10″) x 7 squares (35″)  NOTE: If I had more fabric, I would extend the 10″ length.

Instructions:

  1. Along the 7 square factory finished edge, about 1″ from the edge, attach elastic cord leaving about 1″ on each end. I used a wide and long zigzag stitch.
  2. Bring the ends of the long piece to the center creating essentially two sections 3.5 squares each. You should be looking at the inside of the mitten fabric.
  3. Create a pattern with plenty of room for seam allowance and down puff. I used about 1″.
  4. Trace onto the folded sections. I use chalk. Place the baby finger side of pattern on the fold. This will not be cut nor sewed.
  5. Pin the pieces together outside the pattern area. Otherwise, the pins will create holes in the fabric allowing down to escape.
  6. Test that you can easily insert hand through the opening.
  7. Starting about 1/4″ away from the elastic cording, stitch around the hand shape.
  8. Leaving about 1/2″ margin, cut around the shape being careful not to cut tail of elastic.
  9. Finish the cut edge. You can finish all the way to cuff. Just don’t catch the elastic cord.
  10. Pull the elastic cord on both ends exposing about 2-4″ length. Finish the straight stitch from the 1/4″ above cord to the cuff. Be careful to go over the cord but not through it.
  11. Put hand in glove and adjust elastic to desired fit. Tie a square knot. Turn glove to finished side and refit hand/wrist. Adjust elastic as needed. Tie several knots leaving about 1″ tails for future adjustment.

Function is more important than fashion!

Hard to tell in photo, but I have a leg warmer on my left leg with the the sock portion pulled up into walking position.

 

Backpacking Gear List – First Aid / Emergency Preparedness Jabber

My BASE WEIGHT is about 14 pounds, with my EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS gear representing 5% of the weight at .7 pounds.

Click on graph for a better quality image and to activate the product hyperlinks. Right click on each hyperlink to open in new tab or window.Blog - firstaid1

Blog - first aid emergency2

Emergency Preparedness is my Insurance Plan. I pay insurance premiums and hope to never need the coverage. I carry the weight of my kit and hope to never need the supplies.

My objective is being self-sufficient for a few days in the wilderness should a first-aid or emergency situation arise. Pushing the SOS button on my InReach will not be for lack of preparedness, nor should it be for you.

This incident happened while snow hiking. The first photo is 4-6 hours after the incident. Sutures were an option but I elected to use steri-strips instead. I initially elevated, applied pressure with a bandanna, added snow to the bandanna, and hiked on with hand elevated. Had this happened on the second or third day of a five day backpack trip, I would have been prepared. Would you?

Customization:

There is no single perfect kit. Everyone is different. Create one that works for you!

  • What level of risk are you willing to take?
  • Do you have any medical conditions? allergies?
  • How well do you tolerate pain or discomfort?
  • Are you more susceptible to hypothermia or dehydration?
  • Will you be in wet or cold conditions? or scrambling off trail?
  • Will you be hiking with others? will you share?

My kit has evolved with time and experience. It’s an area I constantly evaluate as it’s easy to add an item after an incident and never need it again or find you have duplication. Even after I created this list I realized I’d added Gorilla Glue when I was having shoe problems the Superglue wasn’t fixing. No need for that duplication now that my shoe issues have been resolved. I found the mini flashlight weighs less than headlamp batteries, but most likely I’ll be ditching it in favor of my phone flashlight given I carry both an external battery and solar charger.

These are pint-sized freezer bags

Additional Considerations:

  • Emergency List (add to your hiker wallet)
    • Your personal info
    • Emergency contacts
    • Medical insurance info
    • Allergies
    • Medications, herbs and supplements taken
    • Medical and surgical history
    • Vaccination history (especially tetanus & hepatitis)
    • Physician name and contact info
  • First Aid App (add to your phone)
  • Education & Training (i.e. Wilderness First Aid, Navigation, Snow Safety, 10 Essentials).  Nothing in your kit is as valuable as knowledge and experience!
  • Emergency Device (i.e. SPOT, InReach or Beacon)
  • Multitool (scissors, knife, tweezers)
  • Paper Maps (electronics will fail, get broken or lost)

Tips:

  • Pill packets – For rarely used medications such as antibiotics, include tiny printed instructions of what color pill for what purpose, frequency of use, date of expiration and any risks such as sun exposure.
  • Resupply packages – The items I’m most likely to use I send to myself. If I don’t need them I’m happy to donate to a hiker box.
  • Single useMinumus.biz and Amazon are both great places to find single use packages of first aid supplies such as triple antibiotic ointment and alcohol pads.
  • Inhaler – Instead of bringing the housing just bring the canister. Protect the nozzle with a chapstick cap.
  • Giardia Treatment Meds – I’ve been told by several doctors it’s best to be diagnosed before self treating since many diseases and illness match giardia symptoms. They recommended I carry an anti-diarrhea medication and get to town.
  • LeukoTape Prep – The tape comes in large heavy rolls. It doesn’t seem to work as well as duck tape to roll onto itself. I’ve found using the backing of labels or postage strips works well as does unwaxed parchment paper.
  • Emergency List – I had an incident where I went into shock. The emergency personnel kept asking questions such as my address and allergies but I couldn’t remember. I had a friend knocked off his bike by a car, he was unconscious. It’s much easier to have the list. Treatment will be expedited.
  • Emergency ID – Another opportunity is Road ID. You can get a bracelet or dog tag and either register your medical info online or include emergency contact info.
  • Phone ICE Contacts – Emergency personnel are trained to look in our phones for our ICE (in case of emergency) contacts. They are usually accessible without security access.

Lightening My Load

YES, I know there are ways I can lighten my base weight. In fact in this area I could lose significant weight. I know which items I carry items others would choose to forego. My kit works for me. It’s custom, it’s mine, so for now I’ll carry the weight.

Links

Grams = Ounces, Ounces = Pounds, Pounds = Pain

Choose your pain wisely!

 

2015 -Where did Jan Jaunt?

My first full year of retirement exceeded all expectations. This list (with hyperlinks) summarizes most of my 2015 adventures and blog posts.

Arizona

California

Colorado

Idaho

  • Sawtooth Wilderness (post pending)

Nevada

Utah

Canada

 

I’m planning an equally exciting 2016. Areas of potential exploration include:

California

  • Death Valley
  • Joshua Tree

Arizona

  • Grand Canyon
  • Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness

Colorado

  • Colorado Trail
  • Continental Divide Trail (CDT) Cherry Picking

Montana

  • Glacier NP
  • Beartooth Wilderness

New Mexico

  • CDT Cherry Picking

Oregon

  • Crater Lake (winter camping/snowshoeing)
  • PCT

Utah

  • Capitol Reef
  • Goblin Valley
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante

Washington

  • PCT
  • Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT)

Wyoming

  • CDT Cherry Picking
  • Tetons
  • Wind River Range

 

Someone told me that I didn’t need to try to do everything during my first year of retirement. With a list like this barely scratching the surface of available adventures, I don’t think I have to worry about running out of opportunities.

How are your 2016 plans shaping up?

 

P.S. Please don’t hate on me for having the gift of time. I worked hard and sacrificed a lot so I could retire early and play.

 

 

 

 

Backpacking Gear List – Sleep System Jabber

My BASE WEIGHT is about 14 pounds, with my SLEEP SYSTEM representing 16% of the weight at a little over 2 pounds.

Click on graph for a better quality image and to activate the product hyperlinks. Right click on each hyperlink to open in new tab or window.

Blog - sleep1

Blog - sleep2

Sleep System

This is probably the most important decision you will make. Finding yourself cold miles from a trailhead makes not only for a long, miserably night, but can also be life threatening. Of course, like any important decision, this one is complicated and includes many considerations.

Sleeping Bag Decisions

(1) Insulation:

DownType of down, fill weight,  baffle construction and fabric choice will affect price, temperature rating, weight and compressibility.

Water Repellent Down – Many bag manufacturers now offer this as an option, the downside is that as compared to down it is a bit heavier and has reduced breathability.

Synthetic – On the positive side, as compared to down, synthetic bags are usually less expensive and insulate better if damp; the negatives are breathability, compressibility and weight.  Tip: Based on my experience, if you prefer natural fibers and wear primarily cotton or wool, and sleep with a down comforter or cotton/silk/wool blankets at home, you won’t like a synthetic bag. I bought one, trialed it one night, found myself sweaty, and immediately exchanged it for a down bag. The cost savings wasn’t worth it.

(2) Temperature Rating:

Historically bags have been rated based on outside temperature (i.e. 25-degree bag), but since there was never a uniform method established to measure bag to temperature, this was an unreliable sales tool and a bit like comparing apples and oranges. We are starting to see labels using the European Norm (EN) 13537 testing protocol which divides temperature into upper limit, comfort, lower limit and extreme, with the comfort rating most applicable to women who usually require an extra 10 degrees of warmth. Tip: Unless you are going to have multiple bags for different conditions, I recommend a 0-20 degree bag. It’s easy to use as a quilt or go without in warmer temperatures. If you are using down, it’s important to fluff your bag well and redistribute feathers before going to bed to maximize thermal benefits. Proper storage and cleaning of down bags is also keep to maintaining loft.

(3) Shape and Dimensions:

While the most common shape may be mummy, other choices include rectangular, female-specific, hooded, wide, tall, short . . .

I’m a bit claustrophobic so when I found a wide-width, female-specific, hooded bag I thought I struck gold. The integrated pad sleeve was a bonus, or so I thought. Lessons learned: (1) the pad sleeve prevents side sleepers from being able to snuggle into their bags and positions the hood at an awkward angle; and (2) wide bags for smaller people create lots of dead space impossible to keep warm.

I was concerned initially when I switched to a mummy bag without a hood. Although I’d prefer it a tiny bit wider so I could sleep in fetal position, I’ve adapted and sleep much warmer than in my previous bag. ZPacks bag length is intended to reach your chin; they recommend increasing by a size if you want to cover head. However, it’s best not to breathe into bag as it will increase condensation. A better option is using your down puffy to regulate head/face temperature. I bought up one size so I have room to shelter my shoulders and neck.

(4) Weight and Packed Size:

Your budget will most likely affect this choice and one of the reasons you should select your pack last. Sleeping bags can take up a lot of room. Tip: Except in inclement weather, I don’t pack my bag in a compression sack, electing instead to use it to fill space around my other packed items.

Additional Resources:

REI blog on bag selection (excellent very detailed article)

Options to a Sleeping Bag:

Don’t feel married to using a sleeping bag. There are several other choices to be considered.

Quilt – These have become more popular the past few years (be aware of drafts)

Fleece Liner – For those camping in warmer climates this could be an option

Blanket – This is a great option for those on a budget

Space Blanket – Don’t laugh, I’ve heard it works

Accessories:

Pillow – Most use clothes in a stuff sack as their pillow, but lightweight inflatable pillows are now a very viable option. Tip: under inflate for improved comfort.

Liner – If you need a little extra warmth, you might consider a silk or fleece bag liner.

Sleeping Pad Decisions

The sleeping pad industry has been busy coming up with lighter, more compact, and more comfortable pads. There is nothing like a bad night’s sleep to ruin your trip. Previously I always experienced hip pain, as I’m a side sleeper, but when I found the right pad, it became a thing of the past.

(1) Type of Pad:

Closed-Cell Foam – These are a solid foam type mattress. What you see is what you get! Definitely more durable and since not inflatable, no worries about leaks. Very popular with long-distance hikers. The least expensive option.

I’m currently using the Gossamer Gear 1/8″ Thinlight Pad in conjunction with an air chamber type pad.

Open-Cell Foam – This is probably the most popular type of mattress. They usually self-inflate.

Air Chamber – These will remind you of pool blow-up mattresses. The benefit is they are light and pack very small. They are the most expensive option. Tip: underinflate to improve comfort.

While I’d prefer to use the very popular Thermarest NeoAir XLite, I can’t tolerate it’s surface noise (think potato chip bag). Thus my compromise pad is the Gossamer Gear Air Beam Sleeper mattress.

(2) Size:

Length – To save weight and space, some campers will use a torso length pad. The trade-off is contact with cold hard ground. Pads also come in regular, petite, tall and wide. Dimensions of those sizes vary by manufacturer. Tip: you can elevate feet on pack to lengthen your “pad”

Width – You’ll want to take note of the manufacturer specs. My regular size is quite narrow thus requiring me to be mindful as I switch positions.

Height – Varies considerably from about 1/2″ to 4″. Your level of comfort may be affected by the thickness of pad, but not necessarily.

(3) Temperature Rating:

This is probably the most important decision second to comfort. Look for an R-Value rating (0-6). The higher the R Value, the warmer the pad will be. Temperature transfers directly from the ground through the pad. Technology has improved the weight and size of the higher R-Value mattresses. Good resource: Section Hiker’s Blog

The Air Beam Sleeper mattress I’m using has no R-Value, thus I use the ThinLight pad on top of it when warmth is needed. To my knowledge this pad has not been rated, but it doesn’t seem to transfer cool temperatures.

(4) Weight and Packed Size:

As with your everything else, your budget will affect these variables. Pads can take up considerable space in your pack, another good reason to purchase your pack last.

Additional Resources:

REI blog on mattress selection (excellent very detailed article)

Other Decisions

Having the right bag and pad will help keep you warm and comfortable, but there are other factors which will affect a good night’s sleep.

Sleep Clothes – Having warm dry clothes to sleep in will not only help keep your sleeping bag clean but will eliminate chill from perspiration absorbed into your hiking clothes during the day. I’ve heard slightly loose-fitting clothes keep you warmer than tight fitting, of course I’ve also heard naked is the warmest.

Layering Options – Items such as hat, gloves, buff and jacket will help regulate your temperature

Shelter – Drafty shelters require more warming options (Tip: use your umbrella to shield wind, use a solar blanket on the floor)

Experience – Learning to sleep warm is a skill. The lessons I’ve learned include:

(1) Don’t go to bed cold (run around camp, do jumping jacks or sit ups, eat something fatty such as nuts, drink something hot, etc)

(2) Don’t wait to pee (if you wake up with a full bladder, you’ll make yourself colder trying to make it go away, to say nothing about ruining your sleep)

(3) When it’s really cold, fill your water container with boiling water and place in your bag

(4) If your feet are cold, place the foot of your bag in your backpack.

(4) Campsite selection can make a huge difference (shelter in the trees, away from water, avoiding low spots and ridges)

Lightening My Load

YES, I know there are ways I can lighten my base weight. But in my sleep system department, I’m about as low as I can go except for eliminating my pillow at 1.5 ounces.

Links

Grams = Ounces, Ounces = Pounds, Pounds = Pain

Choose your pain wisely!

Grizzly Country Adventure Buddies

My 2016 adventure wish list includes trips into areas with legitimate recommendations against solo travel.

I’d like to spend some extended time in these areas this summer/fall. With a currently open itinerary, recommendations are welcome.

  • Wind River Wilderness, Wyoming
  • Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana/Wyoming
  • Glacier National Park, Montana

Contact me at jansjaunts-wordpress@yahoo.com if you’re interested in being my adventure buddy for a week or two.

Confessions of a Hiker – Inconsistently Consistent

Whether we want to admit it, we all have baggage and struggles. In a recent email, Shroomer (Scott Williams) included a few words of wisdom that resonated with me.

The more I get out, the more miles I put in, the more energy I have for everything else in my life. When I can fill my week with miles, all the rest is wonderful.

The topic: CONSISTENCY

I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of gal, struggling to find balance even when fully aware of the consequences.

While it’s easy to rationalize and make excuses for these inconsistencies, the bottom line is I consciously make choices which sabotage my efforts. It takes discipline to prioritize the things that matter. Since hiking matters to me, and this blog is about hiking, I’ve focused on my personal successes, challenges, and failures in this area. Maybe you’ll find similarities, or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who consistently maintains their fitness level . . . but struggles with inconsistency in other areas of your life.

I’m most successful with consistency when:

  • I have a deadline

Example: Epic backpacking trip of X miles scheduled in X months

  • The consequence is dire

Example: Must be able to hike X miles per day at X elevation gained/lost

  • I’m accountable

Example: I’ve posted hikes to a meetup group or I have a regularly scheduled date with friends

  • Peer Pressure

Example: I want to be compatible when hiking and backpacking with friends

I’m less successful with consistency when:

  • Life interrupts
  • I’m sick, injured or exhausted
  • I’m traveling
  • Conditions aren’t ideal
broken-chain2

Once I’ve broken the chain of consistency, it is a challenge to get back on track.

My challenges tend to be:

  • Losing fitness level and/or gaining weight means more work and less fun
  • Reestablishing the habit takes discipline and commitment
  • Moving hiking to the top of the list means moving something else down or off the list

WHY are we inconsistently consistent?brokenChain3

It doesn’t make sense, when our brain knows otherwise. With consistency, the rewards and happiness factor skyrockets through the roof. With inconsistency, the heart sinks.

What can we do to improve consistency?broken chain

  • Allow imperfection

It’s okay to take a couple days off, just don’t let a couple days become a week, then a month.

  • Maintain accountability

Have hiking dates with friends and have your next trips scheduled. Meetup has been my Field of Dreams (I even wrote an article about my experience).

  • Plan for the inevitable 

For me, that means if I’m sick, take a couple days off then start walking. When I’m traveling, take breaks to walk or hike, plan travel accordingly. When I’m staying with friends or in an unfamiliar area, make fitness a priority. If I don’t want to be outside in inclement weather,  plan for an inside workout.

  • Reach out

It’s good for us to be humble, to ask others for help getting back on track. Use your friend and family network, use social media . . . Sometimes it’s hard to find our own motivation.

  • Consider cross training

Change is good! If you’re feeling burned out or lacking motivation or the weather doesn’t inspire, find something that keeps you moving. Besides hiking, I walk, cycle, snowshoe and workout at the gym. Classes can be especially helpful during the winter months.

  • Post photos of personal achievements
  • Memorialize Shroomer’s quote 

The more I get out, the more miles I put in, the more energy I have for everything else in my life. When I can fill my week with miles, all the rest is wonderful.

What are your tips and tricks?

Here are some thoughts by others that may provide a few tools to help us find long-term success:

True Confessions

Shroomer’s personal comment hit a nerve. I’d been wrestling with trying to get back on track. I was in search of that magic link in the chain that had broken. I had a fantastic year of hiking and adventure, but the brakes came on unexpectedly toward the end of August when wildfire smoke threw out the cease and desist order (I have asthma). In early September I spent a couple of weeks with a friend who doesn’t hike, followed by another week with family. Thankfully by the time I returned home, I was ready to get back on track. The wilderness was calling my name. I had two fantastic weeks exploring the Trinity Alps . . . and then the chain snapped. I got injured!

The pain was too severe to walk let alone hike. I was down and out. Depression quickly set in. The pounds accumulated. The sizes grew.

I reached out to friends and was offered a change of scenery. That was exactly what I needed. A new place to explore and to test out baby steps that turned into short walks and eventually longer walks. Then it snowed, and I had a new goal. I love snowshoeing and fresh snow and while my body is not healed sufficiently yet, it will be soon and I need to be ready physically. I prioritized hiking and dieting. I’ve reconnected with my meetup group, creating accountability.

I’ve worked hard over the years to eliminate the “all or nothing” cycle I seem to own as part of my genetic make up. It’s easy for me to rationalize defeat when I get off track, but am thankful for the fight I also own to get back on the horse. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I fight the consistency monster; however, it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in being inconsistently consistent, afterall I share it with Shroomer!

 

Link to more of my posts focused on Hiking and Backpacking Skills