Since my long hike is now less than a month away (eep!) I've been trying to do some workouts that will help me prepare for the kick-off. Hiking 20 miles a day, all day every day, takes a toll on the body, so I'm attempting to prepare myself for that with some daily workouts. I've never been much of a runner (hiking = walking) but I've been trying to run every day to test out my joints (and my new shoes.) So far it's going well, though I get the usual sore-tired-muscles if I push myself too far. Thank goodness for compression socks. If you don't own a pair, you need to run out right now and buy some. I call them my magical socks. They make sore calves feel brand new. Seriously.
In addition to my lame-sauce little workouts (running is haaaaard) Katie and I have been trying to do some training hikes, to get used to longer days and longer mileage. Last week we hiked 14 miles along the Eagle Creek trail, which is actually an "unofficial" side-trail to the PCT, so it was rather fitting that we test it out. We just took just daypacks this time, and though the hike was pretty flat and easy, there were enough rocky, narrow ledges to keep things interesting. Plus, Eagle Creek is one of those trails where even if it's not raining, you're going to get drenched by the end of it. You're literally walking through high-cliffed waterfalls the whole way. Absolutely gorgeous. But not for the faint of heart - I tend to get a little vertigo if I'm not careful. And there's enough rock-hopping to keep your muscles entertained.
Though I have done this particular hike several times (see here and here) I have never been past Punchbowl Falls, which is only a 6-mile round trip. This time we went all the way to Tunnel Falls and a little beyond that before turning around and hiking out. Tunnel Falls (as it sounds) is a waterfall with a mossy, green tunnel hollowed out behind it. The whole hike is simply stunning, and no matter how many times I hike it, I fall in love with Oregon all over again.
My only regret is that I forced myself to bring my Canon point-and-shoot camera this time, rather than my Nikon DSLR. My Canon takes decent pictures, but it suffers with clarity on overcast hiking days or low-light/ highlight shots, so these pictures didn't quite live up to my expectations. But I'll have to get accustomed to it, because there's no way I'm lugging a 10 pound camera 2,650 miles in the back country. That would be foolish.
....Right? Right?? Anyone?
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't considering it.
After a pleasant trek through the woods, we celebrated our accomplishment with some Vietnamese food and then I spent the evening wearing my magical socks. Ahhhhh.