How to train for hikes in Florida

Yesterday Lucas and I discovered the perfect tool for our training–the massive football stadium about a mile away! Around 9pm we got the idea to pack our backpacks with approximately 15-20 lbs of weight and make our way to the stadium. We walked up and down a series of steep ramps for 2 hours at 5 set intervals.

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The inclines were awesome for our calves!  Though, to everyone running up and down the steps in spandex,  we looked like confused homeless people.

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With our bandannas drenched and shoulders sore, we flung our packs onto the floor of our home around midnight. We’re probably going to go back tomorrow night to get in one more intense walk before I leave for Washington (this Saturday! Can’t wait!!).

Planning the Planning Process

Yesterday I checked out a book from my university’s library, The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America’s Hiking Trail. I admit, it was quite the adventure finding the books among endless shelves of dust and hardbound covers on the library floor I never explore. There’s a good deal on the Trail’s history in books circa the 1950s, but from reading things like ‘wool breeches’ and ‘tennis slippers’ I have decided to browse through them later out of curiosity and not now, while I’m in search of basic (up-to-date) information.

Anyway, three other A.T. books ordered through Amazon:

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The A.T. Guide 2013 by David Miller

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Billy Bryson

I have officially entered the obsession stage in my A.T. planning. This past week I’ve focused  on the blog, made lists of what I need to purchase and planned what I need to plan. At the end of July I am going on a ten day expedition in Washington. Luckily the program provided an outline of everything I need to do in order to train/pack. I figure a lot of the gear and prep work for the AT and that overlap so… here are my current training plans:

  • Go on longish (4-8 hour) hikes in hilly terrain with a 20+ pound pack.
  • (since I live in flatland Florida) Simulate hiking up steep terrain via hills, long flights of stairs, or stadium stairs for 1-1.5 hours with my pack. Making sure I climb AND descend.
  • Incorporate more cardio into my daily routine by bike rides, short hikes, or the elliptical.
  • 2-4 days of gym climbing a week with one of these days focusing on strength exercises with an emphasis on legs.

Gotta’ have beast legs to climb this beaut!

Mt. Baker via Wikipedia

And so it begins

Today I woke up inspired and ready to begin the planning process for my Appalachian Trail 2014 thru-hike. I am currently a senior in my university’s Creative Writing program and will begin my Northbound adventure next March.

I think it started with National Geographic documentaries and PBS specials back in 2010. Right away, I was inspired to explore the East portion of my country and become acquainted with terrain I had always overlooked. My boyfriend Lucas and I have set this goal together–the trail has been of interest to him for the past five years.  Summer/fall 2012 he backpacked through Israel, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, etc. for approximately four months. When he returned to his hometown after numerous nights of sleeping in a hammock, and our communication picked up, I told him about my vague plans of the hike. Long story short, AT partners turned into a relationship and here we are, at the beginning stages of preparation!

Rock climbing 3-4 years in a family-sized Florida community brought upon a growing passion in both of us;  to reconnect with nature and enjoy the mountains, the woods, boulders, trails, and lakes for what they are and in their natural form. I am energized by every exposure to the outdoors. As a Boy Scout (I used to be a part of the coed program called Venture Crew) I am also concerned with the preservation of the land and live by the principle Leave No Trace Behind. My goal is to become integrated into a natural environment opposed to inhabiting the land. I also want to help others experience this sense of connectedness as well.

I cannot promise you any deep insight into the meaning of life, or what we can do to change the world, but I can share with you my passion for nature and document our journey along the way.

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