Doing Wintery Things

By deciding to train to walk the Snake River Island Hop, I really opened up training: I no longer needed to spend almost all of my training time on running. I figured the goal was cardiovascular & muscular endurance and time on my feet. Thus, I’ve been walking a lot during the week and playing on the weekend. After spending last winter training for the Badger Mountain Challenge 50K, this is much more fun!

I’ve been snowshoeing a few times since I last wrote. Maybe it’s just the weather, but I’m falling crazy in love with the trails at Echo Ridge. I went up there again last weekend. On Saturday, I snowshoed up to the hill around which the Outback trail goes. (Someone really needs to name that hill something other than 4324′.) I made it to the top this time, with a bit of a detour.

I wanted to check out Water Bar Heaven trail. There’s a trail junction with it near where Zoom & the Outback trails meet, as well as another on the southeast part of Outback. Unfortunately, I headed down the trail instead of up. About forty minutes in, it was apparent that I was going the ‘wrong’ way. I found another trail that headed back up toward Outback. About an hour later I was back on the Outback trail & headed to the summit.

This is something that people find disturbing, but I’m comfortable with it. I didn’t know where I was. I don’t consider that “lost” so long as I’m confident I can find my way back to the trailhead. I’m only worried when I lose that feeling of knowing I can get back to my vehicle.

Traveling was easier this time. I wasn’t breaking trail, and I didn’t posthole. Even with the detour, I made it to the summit at around 1 p.m. There’s a mailbox or geocache at the summit. I ate my lunch, signed the book, left something behind (a moist towelette – it was the best I could do), and headed back down.

When I came to the junction with Water Bar Heaven, I took that trail. My curiosity dictated that move, as I had to figure out where I went wrong before. The trip back down to the trailhead was pretty quick, and I was back to the cabin by three.

I’ve been using Jim’s snowshoes for two reasons. One, during my first trip up Outback, I had a sorta-epiphany: You’re not 200 pounds anymore, so why are using these massive snowshoes? My snowshoes are 8″ or 9″ x 36″. They’re huge. They’re big enough for someone who’s 250 pounds. I bought them at an REI rental & return sale, so I got them at half price; truth be told, they were too big for me when I bought them. (I was an impoverished college student at the time, so price won.) Second, I damaged those snowshoes on that hike. The decking tore, and the only way I can repair it is to put some grommets in the deck & tie it all back together. For now, Jim’s shoes are my best bet, but I already have a plan to purchase a new pair for me. (I’ll keep the old ones to have a spare set.)

Sunday, I skied in the morning. The snow was much better this time. It was warm up there the week before and then it got really cold again. The grooming left the trails fast. I skied all but one of the easy trails in the area and headed back to the truck for lunch. After lunch, I went out snowshoeing again. Both Saturday & Sunday I did some walking on bare ground, as the south-facing slopes have lost a lot of their snow. On I probably could have done most of Sunday’s hike without the snowshoes, but there were steep, icy places that made me glad I had those crampons under my feet.

I could easily stay up at Echo Valley all week. I’ve mapped out some of the mountain bike trails in the hopes of snowshoeing on them. Alas, I have to work at some point.

My legs really felt the weekend’s activities. I’ve been taking it too easy, though. I walked Monday evening. Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, so I skipped the workout to go eat pancakes – too many pancakes. I caught up on some much-needed sleep last night, but that meant I didn’t get up early to workout this morning. I’m going to Ash Wednesday service tonight, so there’ll be no workout. I’m planning to get up early enough to workout tomorrow. I’m not sure if it’ll be a core workout or a walk, but whatever I don’t do in the morning I can do in the evening.

Since I recovered from the horrible rhinovirus, I haven’t got back into the habit of doing the core workout. I need to, because it makes a difference. This upcoming weekend is a three-day weekend. I plan to go take a Nordic lesson at Stevens on Saturday, church & chores on Sunday, and some kind of workout on Monday. I haven’t decided, but I’m pondering going for a ride if the weather’s good.

I’m not getting enough time on my feet, and I need to up that prior to SRIH. But I’m definitely increasing my muscular endurance and I’m having fun — that’s important!


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