My husband and I have not been backcountry camping since we hiked the Chilkoot Trail in 2008 but we figured it would be good for the training. We headed out to the Fryatt Valley about 30 km south of Jasper, Alberta. I knew this would be a test for me because I hadn’t really been on a longer hike carrying as much weight, but I was up for the challenge. The first day was just a long plod through a forest with a little bit of elevation gain towards the campsite at 17.7 km. It was a little chilly in the morning when we set out, so I was wearing a dry fit shirt, light fleece sweater, and a jacket. I like to bring small gloves (the stretchy kind) that keep my hands warm while I get going into the hike. My experience as a runner helps with knowing what to wear and how to layer my clothing so I knew I needed to start out wearing clothes that I was a bit chilled in. I’ve learned it is much easier to strip off layers than to not have enough.
Taking breaks isn’t something my husband and I do often, but we found that every hour it was good to give our shoulders and hips a break. Hydration is important and even if you are not thirsty it is important to have something every time you stop; I have to remind myself of this all of the time when I am hiking.
The second day, we climbed the headwall which was over 200 m elevation gain in a 0.8 km distance. I took my pack (half full) with me to have something on my back while scrambling up the headwall. I was impressed that I was able to get up the headwall and not feel exhausted. It’s been a while since I last scrambled any mountains so I was a little nervous how it was going to go. In past climbs I was so slow and my calves were just killing me, but not this time. I remember not liking hiking poles, but using them has really helped with my speed and decreased the amount of strain on my body.
In between climbs I have been keeping up with the resistance sessions twice a week. Interval speed runs start this week where I will be starting off with 2 intervals (warm-up run approx. 2 km, run 1 mile at 5:10 pace, then walk/slow jog for 0.40 miles, repeat once, then cool-down run approx. 2 km, then stretch). Each week the number of intervals increases and depending on how the runs go I may change the pace at which I run the intervals. Our next climb will be a scramble out in Jasper which has a higher elevation gain than what we have done so far. Should be interesting!