Fortified by my morning yoga stretches and a nourishing breakfast, my Moment of Truth had arrived at Mountain Trek. As an infrequent wanderboomer hiker with a compromised knee and ankle, I had a twinge of apprehension. Would I prove up to the challenge of alpine hiking 4 hours a day?
Ultimately, if I wanted to blast through body fat – and I did . . . If I wanted to regain lost energy, increase my stamina and de-stress – Yes! . . . I had to put on those hiking boots, strap on my daypack and get moving.
But first came the foot care routine. Our expert guides (former park rangers, avalanche technicians, rappel forest fire fighters, wilderness skills instructors) ensured that our feet were well-protected to prevent blisters from our hiking boots. I’m happy to report that my feet stayed blister-free for the entire week!
On the trail, our hiking poles became lifelines of support, catapulting us over gnarly roots, sharp rocks and underbrush. Our guides explained that just using the hiking poles boosted our cardio-vascular conditioning by over 20%! Plus, we learned how best to use the poles for maximum benefit: “Hold at a 90 degree angle from your elbows, keep your arms close to your body, and alternate between holding the poles in front of you when going downhill, and back far enough so you can’t see the tips when heading uphill.” The fact that the poles lessened the impact on my knee and ankle joints proved significant.
After a fast start and a slow finish on my first day out, funny thing happened on my path to fitness in the days that followed. My resistance gradually gave way to the rhythm of my daily hikes along meandering meadow and forest trails.
At elevations ranging from 550 – 700 vertical feet and distances up to 4.35 miles, my breathing eased as I inhaled nature’s sounds of silence and the beauty of my surroundings: birdsong, waterfalls, wild orchids, Indian Paintbrush and Queen’s Cup flowers brightening my path in all directions . . . When all I had wanted was to step up my fitness routine, what I gained lay far deeper: slow down, be mindful, listen, let go, take your body with you . .
Oh, I did have weight loss – in my case, just a pound, though others lost far more. BUT I lost 4.6 pounds of body fat, plus 1-inch around my waistline while increasing muscle mass. Stress? What stress?
Not bad for a week’s hiking vacation, hmm?
Tell us what you’ve gained in your summer travels so far, Wanderboomers!