Sunday, May 15, 2016

hiking and tricks

Well, we survived the hike... and now I'm brimming over with valuable hiking wisdom. ;) ;)  maybe not so much wisdom as little tips for surviving (without too much drama) a somewhat strenuous hike.

With exposed trails (meaning full sun) and brick oven conditions (the sun absorbing into the clay and radiating back up to make it feel 10 degrees hotter waist down than the surrounding air temp) hydration was key.  We all had 3 Liter hydration bladders inside our backpacks with tubing to the front for easy drinking while walking.  It's harder to forget with a tube in front of your face.  In addition to that, we had 1 liter bottles on each side that were easy to add electrolyte tablets to and drink during breaks.   The first day, our guide carried a bottle of gatorade for each of us to have at lunch as well.  I drank 2 liters in the car on the way to the trail head to be tanked up and ready to go.  I was peeing about every hour which I thought was a good pace for my goal of being super hydrated.  I was sure to take salt sticks capsules so that all that liquid didn't mess up my electrolyte balance and make me feel sick.  I drank a full liter before bed day one of the hike because I had a slight headache and was worried it was from dehydration.  I think it was more from altitude change and hiking all day...I peed about 10 times that night.  NOT cool.  I drank much less before bed the next night.  Day one I think I drank about 6 Liters.  Day two was even hotter and more exposed and we all drank more.  I had about 7 Liters that day.  Crazy amounts of liquid...crazy amounts of peeing.  I leaned against rocks on the trail so I didn't have to take my pack off every stop and had my tp in my front pocket on my bag for lightning speed pee breaks.  It may be gross to mention, but I closely monitored how dark my pee was the whole trip too.  medium yellow is fine especially since I was still taking my normal vitamins.  Darker yellow to amber means DRINK MORE before you start feeling sick.
I ended up wearing my Brooks trail runners for the hike.  I had these and my Solomon trail runners to choose from.  I love them both. I used the Brooks for our longest training hike and chose them simply because I had no issues on that hike.  My pack was about 30+ lbs at the start of the day loaded with water and 23-25 at the end of the day.  The combo of a light pack and good quality lightweight shoes resulted in NO blisters or toenail pain whatsoever.  I was so so excited that I didn't have to deal with that set of problems in addition to muscle soreness.  I wore my trusty double layer Wright socks.

I was nervous about how the trail food would settle since I've been pretty picky about my food lately from all the hormones and inhale lettuce salad to feel well normally.  Turns out when you are starving from hiking all day...anything tastes good.  I brought magnesium berry drink and a bag of prunes in case the less than fresh food selections made it hard to a normal schedule.  Both of these solutions combined seemed to work for me.
This ensemble earned me the trail name "zebra or zorse".  While it may seem counter intuitive to wear long sleeves in heat...a light color deflects the sun and has a cooling affect.  I had to carry much less sunscreen as well.  I brought a cotton shirt that I kept wet in a ziplock bag to cool down too if I got really hot.  That was heavenly...until it dried and then was super hot and didn't breath because it was a knit instead of light fabric.  So I ended up changing back into the white one again.  That's the nice part about backpacking...all of your clothes options are with you all the time. :)  The hat, while I'll admit is pretty dreadful to look at, was amazing.  I tried to wear the more normal black one but this zebra hat was essential for keeping the sun out of my face and fighting that fatigue you get from being at the beach all day in the full sun in your eyes.  When I had it on...I felt like my head was in a screened in porch.  That's the best way I can describe it.  When we went along very scary ledges, I pulled the mesh fabric all the way to the front so I couldn't see the drop off and focused on the trail straight ahead.  This is when Luke or Kyle would 
lovingly call my "zorse".   It worked-no shame. 

 warm and snug in our tent with rain on outside.  We carried a bit of extra weight in bedding and I brought those ear plugs that are for swimming.  I only needed them if I woke up in the middle of the night to weird rodents trying to get into our food (safe in wire mesh bags).  I had them within easy reach so I could grab them if needed and go back to sleep.  We bought some Thermarest compressible foam pillows.  Totally worth the pack weight.  We had Thermarest sleep mats and a down quilt that snapped on to our mattress coupler to prevent cold air getting in.  I can honestly say (besides pee breaks) I slept great.  Out of necessity on a raining cold night, I quickly adapted to my environment and used a gallon bag I had tested with water before bed for a middle of the night pee break.  I would have double bagged it, but only had one water tight bag available. That might be tmi but hey...this is all about life saving tips while hiking and that one is a gem okay?  It was cold out...I was hydrated...I peed a lot... I used a gallon bag and put it outside of the tent to deal with in the morning.  end of story.  Our trail guide said he had never seen anyone do that so...I guess I'm super original and can lay claim to such a (gross) fantastic idea. :D ha  Luke always says pee is sterile coming out (unless you have an infection).  Always makes me feel better. :)
 Stop and wonder at what is around you... it takes away the tired feelings you may otherwise have.

 Be safe, but don't set tons of limits on's good for you and baby to get fresh air and feel alive.
 Weather may cause your head to feel weird if you are in another state/altitude.  embrace it.  I brought Tylenol but didn't use any of it the whole trip.  I always tried a vitamin C drink first.
Packing before we left...Salt stick individual bags, magnesium drink (this didn't get flagged at the air port...we got there a bit earlier than normal because we thought our bags would get combed through but they didn't), vitamin C drink packets were conventient.  Those little plastic bags leaked thin soap when I tried it at home but were great for powder and vitamins I brought. A little sample size bottle of essential oil was all I needed for smelling decent the whole week in addition to washcloth bathing and a small pack of wet wipes.
 we carbo loaded like champs the day before the hike and the day we got back. :D

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smw said...

Very informative! Are you feeling let down that it's all over?

L, Ann and boys said...

oh... not really. I just start mentally planning our next trip ;) ;) haha it is crazy to plan for something and then all the sudden it's done.

Heather Hoerr said...

didn't know you were pregnant?! congrats!! glad the trip went well - looks like a fun adventure!

Elaina B. said...

Just saw the video all the way through. Awesome! Congrats to you and Luke.
Thanks so much for sharing!