The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hiking Essentials

Random wrecked car about 4 miles in at Portola Redwoods S.P.
Mid-August, I will be doing a long-ish hike in Mammoth with some friends.  Initially (over a few beers), we envisioned doing 28 miles of the John Muir trail in one day.  One of our party, who is from that area, mentioned that she had done that stretch in 4.5 hours when she was in her twenties, and that comment set all of us off on visions of doing the same with small allowances for 15+ years of aging, living at sea level, not currently in training for marathon-length distances, etc . . .

Because I really don't have a realistic idea of how long it takes to hike specific distances on rough terrain (I know my marathon and half times, but running in a city is very very different than hiking trails), I started hiking the areas around Monterey to get an idea of time needed as well as how much water, food, and other sundries I will need to carry.  

Touriga for stamina
Things I've learned:
~I can do almost any hike on a well-maintained trail in flip flops if the distance is under ten miles
~I cannot do 28 miles in a day and enjoy it
~I live in close proximity to some absolutely gorgeous places
~I love redwoods and cypress trees
~banana slugs look like scary, skinny penises
~I tend to over pack and gravitate towards non-hike friendly foods
~arm-warmers are utter miracles of clothing science
~packing in a Klean Kanteen of beer or a bottle of wine makes even a 14-mile hike well worth it

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