I chose to write this blog because I wanted to hike Whitney this year. It was my big goal. It was our big goal. Writing this was part of my commitment to that goal. I thought–if I write this and share with my friends, certainly I won’t back down. Their encouragement and my desire will propel me forward until late August comes and I spend 10 days with my husband climbing that majestic beast.
And then life threw us a curve ball.
At least it was a good one.
I cannot go into the details of this curve ball for two months, but I can say a huge professional growth opportunity presented itself and we pounced on it. So there. Maybe this is the stupidest blog ever because its author wrote of this huge commitment, huge journey, changes in lifestyle…. And then abandoned her cause for “professional growth.”
As Andy Irons once said: “Blah, blah blah, blah blah, blah blah…”
Well, Paola, maybe you could still be right. Maybe we’ll just have to hike it in 1-3 days instead of the 10. Let’s see….
Last weekend I hiked Iron Mountain which is in eastern San Diego. It’s a 6-mile hike round trip. During summer months, you frequently see stories on the news about people being “rescued” after suffering heat stroke because they underestimated the heat and their water needs. During the winter months, it’s a beautiful but strenuous hike.
My friends Jill and Mike were my hiking partners that day. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday morning. 1.5 hours up, 45 minutes coming down.
A few days later, I was blessed to have a belated birthday dinner with my good friends. Paola bought me the coolest birthday present: An ultra-light mug/cooking pot/spork combo set that has a neoprene sleeve so you can take it right off the stove and drink immediately without burning your fingers. Thank you for your support Paola!
And one last note: Good goals travel fast. Tony received a call from his friend in Ireland tonight. John heard from our family about our planned Whitney ascent and is thinking about joining us this summer! John is the crazy guy who went swimming in the Atlantic in a red Speedo while Tony and I surfed southern Ireland–in January!!!! Needless to say, John has stamina and a sense of adventure!
No, I have not started actively planning what we are going to eat during our trip nine months from now. However, my friend and I made these amazing granola bars yesterday, and I am so impressed with them, I have decided they will be part of our Whitney menu.
Here is the recipe: http://friskylemon.com/2011/08/23/ironman-coco-nut-bars/. (I substituted dried blueberries for the goji berries, and orange-cranberries for the apricots.)
I love that these are not processed. Store-bought granola bars never fill me up either, but after having one of mine yesterday afternoon, I was so full I didn’t eat until four hours later, and even then I only could stomach a bowl of soup. So, hiking or not, I recommend these to anyone looking for a healthy, nutritious snack.
Last night we walked 1.6 miles around our subdivision. It’s a loop, which is half uphill, half downhill. Our first steps towards Whitney. Tonight my husband and I doubled that trek for a 5k.
Our ultimate goal, 9 months from now, is a 53.9 mile hike up the westside of Mt. Whitney via Bubbs Creek Trail. It will take 7-10 days and starts at an elevation just over 5,035 feet, reaching the summit at an elevation just over 14,000 feet. However, the elevation gain is 13,656 over those 53.9 miles due to the ups and downs of that trail.
We know very little about backpacking. Never has either of us been exposed to higher elevations. And we’ve got a lot to learn about navigation and safety before we can confidently attempt such an excursion. We’re joining the Sierra Club’s Wilderness Basics Course starting in a couple weeks to learn those skills.
The physical conditioning will take more than a few weeks. We know it starts now, nine months in advance.
We aren’t severely out of shape: I mean, we both recently walked 20 miles in one day. After the 20 miles, though, we were sore as heck, but we still did it. However, we didn’t have 30 pounds of gear strapped on our backs and we weren’t at a higher elevation. Right now, we are both carrying an extra 15 pounds. And we both can’t run more than 2 miles–we used to run half marathons. Lately we’ve spent more time partying for the holidays than hiking, surfing, or riding our bikes.
So, the trek started this week. Hopefully you can join us on our journey via this blog.