Friday, January 24, 2014

Training for a Grand Hike

South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

Let me start this post with one of my favorite quotes,  

" Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike." -  John Muir (1838-1914)

This quote strikes me so much because it sums up why I love to be with nature. My desire to see the deeper beauty of nature keeps me moving and kicking my feet, bringing me priceless joys and inner peace that strengthens body, mind and soul. I have several hikes in my bucket list, two of them are in Grand Canyon National Park. Though we have hiked several trails of Grand Canyon, but we never really had completed a rim to rim hike. It is strenuous, about 20 miles round trip and 6000- 7000 ft descent/ascent. Add to this is another hike which is also in Grand Canyon, the Havasupai Falls hike. It is again about 22 miles round trip and 7000 ft descent/ascent. These days, I am both physically and mentally preparing myself for these hikes. 

One of the biggest challenges in Grand Canyon hike is that it is a reverse hike. At the top, it is cooler, yet as you go down, it becomes warmer. You start early of the day when it is cooler, but on your return,  you are facing the giant climb at higher temperatures and your feet may already be tired. My biggest weakness in hiking is facing high temperatures. Somehow, I get sudden headache when temperatures would soar past 70's! I know, 70F (21C) is very comfortable for some, but somehow, when I am hiking, I could not handle this kind of heat.  It is for that reason that most of our summer hiking trips always mean hiking in cooler places.
summer hiking at Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
( this may look cold, but it wasn't, up in California mountains, so much snow accumulation that last til summer, yet we were hiking in the 60s! 50s to 60s F or 10 to 20 C is my ideal hiking temperature. )

Slowly, I am presently building on my resistance against heat. Two weekends ago, despite the temperature was in high 70s, I forced myself to finish the hike from Lake Poway to the summit of Mt Woodson. 
Potato Chip Rock @ Mt. Woodson, San Diego County

Now, we could do this hike easily if it is cooler, say in the 60s or 50s, but when it is in the 70s, I feel like I am working hard three times as much :( I felt middle of the hike to give up, when slowly, I could start feeling my head throbbing from pain. Physically, I can finish the hike having done it several times, but mentally, I was giving up because of heat. However, I told myself, "Betchai, if you could not finish this simple 8 mile round trip hike, 2400 ft ascent to Mt Woodson in 70s heat, then, you might as well give up Grand Canyon and Havasupai Falls!" Just telling myself of giving up Grand Canyon motivated me to finish and conquer the 70s heat! What a joy it was when I finished the hike! 

In order to prepare for these two hikes, we use San Diego's mountainous backyard as our gym and training ground. Though our highest mountain in San Diego is 6000 ft, but the climb would only be 3600 ft since it already starts at higher elevation. We are planning to scale up Palomar Mountain, 
Palomar Mountain, San Diego County

or do a double peak hike of Mount Woodson, for our Extreme Body Workout in preparation for Grand Canyon and Havasupai Falls hike. They may not sound as extreme as doing both Rim to Rim and Havasupai in one trip, but I know my greatest challenge is the heat, and that is what I will slowly work on, hike in heat! Though we plan to hike on cooler months, but the bottom of the canyon and the canyon itself can be very treacherous. Thankfully, we have about 90 Day Review to assess my over-all health readiness for these two grand hikes. 
Hike to Harding Icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

We all have our motivation to stay physically fit, some work hard to have a Beach Body, mine is simply to enjoy the pure joy of experiencing our beautiful natural world.
Jump for Joy @ Harding Icefield Trail, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Experiencing nature up close, is very spiritually inspiring and healing for me. It is for that reason, that I continually exercise and work on my physical fitness and health each day, so that I can keep on going up the trails for many more years.

This post is provided by Fitness Alliance, October 22, 2011.

Post update ( spring 2012): Have finally hiked the Grand Canyon rim-rim! You can find the links to the hike here and here.  
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  1. im cheering for you ms beth! let this dream come to reality. yup, i think being mentally prepared is as important as being physically prepared :-)

    Good Luck


    I written some blogs for my European trip already lol

  2. knowing you Beth, i am sure you could conquer whatever obstacles that will come your way. wish you all the best in your upcoming hikes. i am with rainfield, keep moving and keep healthy. pls say hi to angels for me. :)

  3. You inspire me, and really make the saying "mind over matters" a great success.

    I know you can do it since your love for nature always come through.

  4. another set of breathtaking photos. I will surely hike one day. and I will blog about it too. wink*

  5. Great pictures, I love hiking in such places.


  6. Don't give up. Keep training until you fulfill your goal. I'm rooting for you!

  7. Endurance and resistance, these traits I am missing for the strenuous hikes. There is beauty all over, high or low elevation.

    Good for you. Keep it up.

  8. I have never been to the Grand Canyon but I have always wanted to go. Good luck with the hike. I am sure you will do great.

  9. Sounds like you will have another great adventure in the future. I'm glad you keep fit and train yourself for the challenge!

  10. I am no good with heat either. Wow... that would be so awesome to do a rim to rim hike. We signed up once, but our reservations got lost and we couldn't get back in the queue.

  11. I pray that you can keep on going up the trails for many more years...and that I could someday join you :)

  12. We never know why our bodies react the way it does. 70 is comfortable and depending on other factors, if it is windy, it might just be too cold for me. The hikes sounds like an extreme body workout for sure.

  13. Oh, betchai, I so admire your stamina and dedication to staying well and fit. You truly seem to love your treks in the great outdoors and thrive doing these incredible hikes. I never was that much an outdoors person though, in my youth, I loved judo and, at eighteen, was even the Southwest women's judo champion. I used to ride horses and go to the gym but, over the years, I became more and more sedentary. After my back surgery at the age of 40, I just sort of threw in the towel.

    You are truly an inspiration!

  14. Wow a what a trail!..That potatao chip is awesome! I hope it won't BREEEAAAKK??

  15. I love how you show the beauty and wonder of nature wherever you go. :)

  16. You're very adventurous. I just hope I'm as energetic and as brave as you are. I don't think I can post like that on Potato Chip Rock @ Mt. Woodson even if given the chance to go there for free. :) I'm afraid of heights.

  17. it is always great to see you have great memories of the things you love. going there makes you want to do everything and it seems you are a free person no matter what.

  18. If I can do a fraction of the physical activities you do, I will be so happy and proud of myself. I really need to pursue this.

  19. Your endurance and stamina is really commendable. For a lampa like me, I doubt very much if I can do what you do. Galing!

  20. Any form of appreciating the nature is spiritually inspiring and super enriching to the soul indeed! You are so lucky Ms. Betchai to be able to do all those things! I wish I can, too, with my family, as the kids grow older each year. :) Being regularly active by doing a regular exercise to keep ourselves physically fit is for sure an investment that can enable us to continue to appreciate the nature around us even if we grow older each year! :D

  21. How long do you train ba ate before you guys go on a real one? I am a nature lover and I hope that when my kids are all grown that we could do what you do as well. Right now, we can only do short ones.

  22. I heard from hubby you need to be physically fit to do all the hiking especially in winter ( he slow down when I got pregnant). Actually,Betchai, you have the best exercise . Hiking plus nature equals perfect.No one can beats that.

  23. Oh wow! I salute you and I wish I have at least an ounce of your stamina and endurance. Wow!

  24. Wow! Look at those breath taking view and amazing pictures. Sis, as always you blow my mind away. The stamina you have is beyond a reasonable doubt :-( How do you keep it up :-)

  25. Can I join next time? Hehe!

    Anyway, I love nature trips and to love nature, one must do the hiking! If our family initiates the hiking activity, I would love to be part of it! :D

  26. Hiking is fun but it needs training too. Thanks for the tips. I will use them on my next mountain trek here in Cebu.