A few weeks ago my co-worker Tanya asked me “Are you up for a challenge?” and without hesitation I excitedly said “Yes!” I thought it was going to be work related but it turned out it was to do something fun. Tanya asked me if I was interested in hiking the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail (JDF)? I said “Yes and when?” She wasn’t certain when but we would look into it some more and figure out the best time for us both. Well, earlier this week we decided that the weekend of September 20th we are going to go on our challenge and adventure.
Last night when I got home from run club there was a text from Tanya saying that she did stair repeats of the stairs in her condo building with 20lb weight in her backpack. There were 89 stairs that she went up and down and said it was hard but good. I had never thought of doing that since I have never hiked with a weighted backpack but it sounded like a good idea.
So, this morning I started a new kind of training for me to prepare for our hike. It was raining a bit when I left the house but I knew that I had to go regardless of the weather because we will be hiking rain or shine. I
drove to the set of stairs I love off Veteran’s Memorial Drive and parked the car. It was still a bit dark but knew it would lighten up soon. I had one of Warren’s backpacks that I thought I was going to use for the hike and some plastic bags. I don’t have weights at home so I was going to use rocks that were near the edge of the stairs. I grabbed three rocks that I thought would be a good weight to start and put them in the bags.
I set 36 minutes on my Garmin, had the rocks in my pack, 6 small stones on the log to count down my repeats, and away I went. At first it didn’t feel so bad but about mid-way up the 169 stairs I was starting to feel the weight in my shoulders and my lower back. Right then I knew that the pack I was carrying wasn’t going to be the one that I was going to use. I continued on up and down the stairs singing off-key to my beats. I was the only one there so I had to make sure any wildlife that might be around was scared away.
When you arrive at the top of the stairs there is a small trail that is on an incline so five times out of the seven stair repeats I did; I would walk up the incline to the yellow gate and turn back. I figured it would help me get used to walking just on a trail with the pack as well. By the time I was done my legs were feeling a bit tired but overall I had more discomfort between my shoulder blades and in my lower back. The back was hurting because the rocks were ‘banging’ on my back as I walked.
It was a good test to see what worked and what didn’t work. On Saturday Tanya and I will head out to East Sooke Park for a hike with our packs and I try out the other backpack that Warren has.
It is designed more for hiking but much bigger than I had hoped to use. Other training we could do is up and over Mt. Finlayson with our packs because I know that my friend Kelley does that when she is training for some of her hikes.
Have you gone hiking over night with a backpack and have any tips or tricks that you can pass on?