Getting Ready ~ Pre-Walk Checklist
One year timeline to the trail
If you’ve decided to leave your footprints on the sentiers de grande randonnée in France, make your own camino in Spain, or trek somewhere else, here’s a one-year timeline to keep your planning on track and your getaway gone. If you have less time before departure, do what it takes to catch up on the earlier checkpoints.
It’s time to start getting ready. There are a lot of tasks to accomplish and decisions to make in order to realize a fantastic, engaging, life-changing, healthy, robust journey over the land on foot.
: : Note >>> This is the general scheme we’ll be using for our 2011 longwalks. As we move through the year, we’ll update the list, and report on our progress and decisions.
Checklist ~ 12 Months
Commit. Tell your family and friends. Expressing a dream with words is the first step to making it come true. (more…)
Clothing ~ Waterproof Rain Pants
GoLite™ Reed Ultralight Rain Pants – 168 grams
I became a big fan of the GoLite Reed pants during my 1,200 mile walk across France and Spain in 2009. At only 168 grams (5.9 ounces) these were an effortless pleasure to carry under blue skies, and were a great windproof, waterproof outer layer when the weather got rough. After months on the trail, they’re still in ready to go condition.
Gear ~ Ultralight Trekking Poles
Stick it to me, baby
Most hikers don’t use walking sticks (also called trekking poles). However, many swear by them. I do. Anyone who does, or needs help deciding, should read the travel warning below. If you’re on the fence, here’s some information about the pros and cons.
Why do I like walking poles? Quite simply, it’s because I fall down less often! (Coordination and my name have rarely been used in the same sentence – but hey, maybe that’s just me). Walking with poles adds a lot of stability, particularly on uneven terrain and rough downhills. Rock hopping across streams is easier, too, as is squeezing along a narrow, bramble-bordered bank of a muddy lane. (more…)
Arthritis and Long-distance hiking
It wasn’t too long after I returned home from my first walk across France and Spain that I developed acute knee pain, which completely hobbled me for a couple of weeks. After a series of doctors and scans I got the diagnosis of severe osteoarthritis of the knee. One of the orthopedists said there’s basically a whole the size of a nickel through the cartilage of my right knee. Ouch, I thought. (more…)
Weights & Measures – part 2
Body or “Skin” Weight
Body weight or “skin” weight is simply the naked weight of a person. Just shed your clothes and hop on a scale and you have it. For ultralighters, it’s one of the standard figures used to calculate the total weight of everything that’s planning to walk down the trail. The more you weigh, the more energy it takes for you to travel a given distance. That translates into calories, which means fuel for you (food), and possibly, fuel to cook it (alcohol, gas, etc.). All fuel weighs something.
Body weight is an important factor in fitness, and creates the single heaviest load on your joints. Depending on the speed and slope that you’re walking, every pound of weight above the knees, exerts 3 to 5 pounds of force on your knees. Anyone with arthritis below the waist should be especially mindful. Even a 5 or 10 pound reduction in body weight is beneficial for helping to ease these effects. If you’re feeling a little portly and are planning a long walk, get out and start training today.