Yesterday I did a 5.1 mile hike and some shooting. The idea was to combine a reasonably good physical workout with some exertion-stressed shooting. It was fun and successful. Well, for me anyway. The 28 year-old me would have scoffed, but he was a pretty dumb know-it-all so I don't worry overmuch about his opinion.
|My favorite Easter lily, the Star Lily.|
To put yesterday's hike in some context, back on February 15, two months after surgery to cure a bone infection in my ankle, I did a 3.4 mile hike with no pack and no rifle and it was extremely hard. I'd been doing some walking and some strength training and a bit of beginner crossfit for a bout two weeks. But that was on the tail end of six months of infection, sickness, and sitting on my backside. No longer a spring chicken, I wondered if it would come back.
So yesterday was nice. The strength and endurance is coming back. It'll never reset all the way to 28 year-old smart@$$, but there's still a lot left in the tank. Which made me wonder. How hard could I push it this morning?
A few weeks ago I did a seven-mile hike. That was mostly along the road, with a little bit of an excursion into some prairie. Again, no pack or rifle. It was a very nice walk but I did grow a couple of ginormous blisters. Which took some time to heal. In the meantime I've been doing daily strength training and some walking. Yesterday was the first post-blister hike.
This morning I intended to go about six miles with pack and rifle. Hiking the perimeter of the south googie pasture is pretty close to six miles, and it also features some interesting verticality, roughly a 500-foot elevation change.
There are two ways to hike the perimeter, obviously. Clockwise and counter-clockwise. The distance and elevation changes are the same. On the clockwise route the uphill pitches are steep and short while the downhill pitches are longer and less steep. The counter-clockwise path is the reverse.
So what does this difference mean? Anything?
|Survey sez -- 5,000 feet above sea level!|
Well, for cardio purposes the difference is pretty profound. Long uphill pitches and short downhill pitches mean working against gravity for many more minutes and with gravity for many fewer minutes. That yields more cardio work on balance. The other way means fewer minutes of more intense cardio and more minutes of much lighter heart load. They both have a place, but today I wanted more load for a longer duration.
Once I hit a good pace and rhythm it turned into an excellent experience. The pack and rifle were along mostly to add weight and bulk and complexity. Of course you never know when the taliban is going to come screeching over the horizon, so it's better to carry a rifle than, say, a crowbar.
|Bloody Diggers, they're everywhere!|
Along the way I was feeling good enough to traverse the banks of the two canyons that bisect the pasture. This added a couple of miles and some challenging short, steep pitches. So by the time I'd finished three hours had sped by and I'd managed to put in 8.4 miles.
All in all a useful, productive and healthy hike.
|How 'bout now? Nuttall's Violet.|