Saturday, December 3, 2011

First Long Hike Complete

Climbing Mount Whitney

20111119_082459_SantiagoPeakThat’s right! Christopher T. and I hiked to the top of Santiago Peak, the highest mountain in Orange County at 5,687 ft.  on November 19, 2011. 

This was the first of three big hikes before Mount Whitney in the Summer of 2012.  What follows is a retelling of our day, some of our challenges, and some very intriguing discoveries and folks we met on the trail. 

Packing
Knowing that we’d have an early start in the morning, I packed the car with all of the equipment and necessities the night before.  That  wasn’t a small task.

I had the usual material based on the Equipment Check we’d already created.  I excluded a few items though.  I knew I didn’t have to worry about carrying a Wag Bag (toilet bag), given I already had the similar bags for Jiggy, my American Bull Dog hiker accompanying me on all of the hikes.  I was very thankful later in the day that I had all that I did.  More on that later.

20111119_093633_SantiagoPeakAside from the day pack I had to carry, I also had to get Jiggy’s pack ready. He carries part of his own water, about 1 Liter, and all of his food, 2 cups of no-filler, high-protein kibble.  I also had to get the rest of his equipment.  Don’t worry, he has no boots or hat, but I needed his leash and the car seat-belt (yeah, you read that right) and seat cover.  Jiggy has a sensitive stomach.  Even after a year of living and driving with us, he still gets nervous and motion sickness in the car.  I didn’t want a big mess in the car in case that happened.

With both Jiggy’s and my pack and equipment in the car, we were set.  We just needed to check on the following day’s conditions and revise the meeting time, if need be. 

The weather report was a bit surprising.  Unlike what we’d originally expected, it was going to be a cool day, with temperatures ranging from upper 50’s to the lower 60’s. So, We revised our start time.  Our original plan was to start early, at 6 AM, to beat the heat.  But given the revised temperatures, and the expected cloud cover, we delayed our start by an hour.  That meant an extra hour of sleep.  I was thankful for that extra rest, knowing what we had ahead of us.

Wake Early
20111119_053934_SantiagoPeakThe morning started early enough, even with the extra hour of sleep.  I knew I had to meet up Christopher at about 6:30 AM and I had a half hour drive to our meeting point at Cook’s Corner.  Given my want to load up on protein in the mornings and get my usual two cups of coffee, I woke at 5 AM.  I made my five egg-white omelet with avocadoes and salsa.  Even if you’re not a breakfast person, you don’t want to skip out on breakfast on a long walk day.  

After breakfast, I loaded up Jiggy and headed out to Cook’s Corner.  We got there a bit early.  I took the chance to step out of the car and get a feel for the weather.  No doubt.  It was going to be a crisp day.  The temperature was at 57 degrees.  The air was misty.  one might even say, it was sprinkling.  Given the time of day, there was hardly anyone on the road.  There was another group in a car getting ready for a hike or something.  They were waiting at Cook’s as well. 

It didn’t take long before Christopher showed up though, just at 6:30 AM.  Perfect.  We only had another half hour of drive…or so we thought.

Trabuco Creek Road, up until the Holy Jim Canyon Road turn off ,was paved, but from there on it was a dirt road.  I thought, “No problem.  This should be a short 5 mile drive to the trailhead.” Huh!!!  It turned out, you really needed a high-clearance car or truck to get to this place.  A four-wheel drive would have been ideal, but at least a truck.  The road was not just dirt, but rocky, with potholes large and small.  What’s more, a stream crossed the path a number of times.  By “crossed” I mean we literally drove through the water.  There was no bridge.  I could see how you could get stuck out here if it rained heavily.  Knowing this, I looked up from time to time, considering the clouds and likelihood of any rain.  I was beginning to have doubts whether our cars would make it back if we had heavy rainfall.  Here’s to hoping!

My car’s front bottomed out a number of times over the ups and downs of the road.  Christopher was in no better shape, with both of us driving at about 2 to 5 miles per hour, carefully negotiating the rocky road.  Eventually, at about 1/2 a mile to the Holy Jim trailhead, we decided our cars had enough punishment. We found a wide section on the road with a turnout and parked. 

Trailhead
20111119_074802_SantiagoPeakWith about half a mile to go, we figured we weren’t extending our walk by much.  The trail was supposed to be 16 miles roundtrip.  What’s another half a mile each way, one mile roundtrip, added on? 

Aside from the flying rocks and bottoming out the cars, the rough road had another interesting effect: it triggered Jiggy’s motion sickness.  The poor guy vomited part of his dinner.  I was definitely thankful for the seat cover, but, more importantly, concerned for my buddy.  No doubt he wasn’t feeling too hot now, right before starting out on a long walk.  That’s the funny thing about dogs and, especially, Jiggy: They live in the moment.  It took just a whiff of the outdoors for him to cheer up.  He jumped out of the car, wagging his tail, ready to take on the trail, without a care for what had just happened.  No doubt, he was just enjoying the moment, the feeling of the crisp air, and the notion of exploring something new.  There’s a lesson there to be learned, but that’s for another post. 

After checking all our equipment and locking doors, we headed off at 7:16 AM.  Just a quarter mile out, we realized we didn’t place our Adventure Pass (parking permits) on the cars.  Yeah! They were still sitting, nice and cozy, in my backpack.  Oof!  So, we turned around and realized we were adding another half a mile roundtrip to our day.  More exercise, right?

After placing the passes and running a final check, we headed out again.  Eventually we arrived at the trailhead.  There were others taking on the hike as well.  Knowing we weren’t alone in this, was reassuring, though I was a bit concerned about having too many people on the trail.  We didn’t know how true that would be given the events that would follow.

Hike Up
20111119_080623_SantiagoPeakOh yeah.  We were on the trail now.  We initially saw a number of old cabins on the trail.  They were all in various degrees of disrepair, with one that looked just abandoned.  Its windows broken, door ajar, and some debris by the steps.  I wondered what had happened to the owners.  Why did they abandon the cabin?  The cabins weren’t that great, but I loved the location.  This was our last bit of civilization before heading into the woods. 

Initially our path crossed a stream, the same one from the dirt road.   This was Jiggy’s first experience with a stream.  He looked at it quizzically each time we tried to pass it.  On the first attempt, he slowly moved from rock to rock, trying not to get wet, while smelling all around him, getting a feel for what was going on. By the third time, he was outright scared of it.  He didn’t want to cross. 

20111119_082516_SantiagoPeakThankfully, his backpack is designed just for such a scenario.  The pack has a handle so that he can be carried.  So, for the remainder of our crossings, I carried him like a briefcase across each stream.  This was actually a bit funny since he still tried to walk in mid-air.  It looked like he was doggy paddling, swimming through the air.  Christopher and I got a few chuckles watching him figure out what was going on. 

Though the trail started out wide enough for two or three people to walk side-by-side, it eventually narrowed to a single track, just wide enough for one person.  At some sections it was even narrower than that, with each of us brushing against the native plants.  So, we were forced to walk single-file, with Christopher leading the group, Jiggy trying to catch up with him, and me bringing up the rear.

Occasionally, we’d negotiate the path with other hikers coming down.  At one point, Christopher heard noise from up above.  Given the tall bushes around us, we didn’t know what was making the sound.  This was at a part of the trail when we were going through switchbacks.  So, what he heard made him think of falling rocks, coming down toward us.  We stopped to make sure we weren’t in any danger.  When the sound seemed to move away, we started up again.  Suddenly, we saw a group of bikers ahead of us, speeding toward us.  All of us jumped out of the way to avoid a collision, but these guys seemed to know what they were doing.  They slowed down and passed us without incident.

20111119_084308_SantiagoPeakWe picked up again and continued our trek.  Along the way, we had some amazing views and changing scenery, from tunnels made of overhanging trees, to views of the gorge in between the mountain peaks.  This was all the more interesting and mysterious given we climbed from 1,700 ft to 5,600 ft, seeing the overcast clouds to eventually walking among them.  At some parts, our view was completely obstructed, but the winds were blowing well enough to open windows in the rolling fog and expose scenes of amazing natural beauty, while cooling us on our laborious trek.  

Half way up the mountain, I could no longer bear walking with just my t-shirt, even as warmed up as I was.  In fact, I was sweating up a storm, but the temperature was dropping quickly. The winds didn’t help either.  I eventually put on my jacket to prevent the wind from cutting right through me. 

The Holy Jim Trail ended at 4 Miles into the walk.  The rest of the path to the peak was on a fire road, the Main Divide Road.  This was a rocky road, with many turns and, as it turned out, may travelers.  Later I learned the path starts much further down and is another way to get to the peak.  The first person we saw, gave us pause though.  He was partially jogging and walking up the trail.  What was curious about the scene was that he was wearing a number. 

We let it go, but just a few minutes later, we saw another walker/jogger, also with numbers on his clothes.  We asked if there was a race gong on.

“Yeah,” said the second jogger.  “100k or 100 miles run.”

WHAT?!?!?

One hundred kilometers is about 67 miles.  So, 67 mile or 100 mile race?  Sure enough, there were two groups in the race.  Some were running the 100km and others the 100 miles.  Talk about extreme!  We had nothing on these super-marathoners.  I was certainly impressed, though also concerned for them.  As we thought about the pace we were keeping, an average marathon pace, as well as the 10 to 15% grade we were on, we realized these folks must have started at about 4 AM and would continue running until 10 or 11 PM.  That’s nuts!

At the Peak20111119_121350_SantiagoPeak
We reached the peak at  11:45 AM.  It took us four and a half hour to complete those first 8.5 miles, but it was worth it.  By the time we reached the peak, the mountain was completely covered in the clouds.  The wind was blowing hard and the temperature had dropped to 37 degrees.  We had very little visibility at the top.  We certainly couldn’t see any of Orange County, let alone the surrounding mountains.  All we saw were the communication towers at the peak, where we were standing.  There were others there too, basking in the glory of reaching the peak.  Many of them were bikers, but some were hikers like us that had taken the Holy Jim Trail. 

We were all thankful for the small building there.  All of us took refuge behind it, away from the winds, as we spent our half hour resting, eating and quenching our thirst. I tended to Jiggy first, knowing he would be starving by now.  He vacuumed up his two cups of kibble, then downed a quarter liter of his water.  On the way up, at our various stops, I’d offered him water he’d refused.  Knowing the cool air helped him reduce his need for water, and in an attempt to lighten his load, I emptied half a liter of his water.  He now only had a quarter liter of water in his pack.  I still carried another half a liter for him, as well as an additional two and a half liters backup, aside from my three liter main water bladder.  So, I had no concerns we would have enough.

I’d originally thought we’d spend an hour at the top, but the cold air and the wind prevented us from staying there long.  In fact, I had to put on a fleece vest and my gloves, as well as the jacket and hat just to stay there for as long as did. 

At about 12:15 PM, just a half hour after arriving at the peak, we started our way back down.

20111119_124509_SantiagoPeakHike Down
By the time we started our hike down, I was cold to the bones and glad we’d started.  I knew the walk would warm me up.  I was also interested to see how much time it would take to walk back down.  With four and a half hour hike up, we figured we’d need three and a half hours to get back. 

Interestingly enough, just as we came down the first 30 ft, we saw a break in the clouds to our left and caught a glimpse of what appeared to be Palm Springs or Lake Elsinore area.  It didn’t take long for the winds to blow in the clouds and obscure our view again. 

As an added bonus, light rain started.  Even with the cold, this was somewhat welcome as it dampened the road and assured we’d have less dust picking up.  Jiggy was very good with it too.  He just kept walking…at least at first.  He eventually stopped and looked up at me.  We waited a few seconds before encouraging him to start walking again. 

20111119_124536_SantiagoPeak“Let’s go, boy.  Let’s go Jiggy boy,” I said.  He picked up, but was wobbling a bit.  I realized the loose rocks and added pack weight, even with most of his water drained, may be tiring his paws.  So, I unpacked his backpack and strapped it on mine.  Sure enough, after just a few minutes, he was as happy as can be, even with the rain.  He pulled ahead and started scouting the road, with his floppy ears bouncing left to right. 

Surprisingly, the walk back down wasn’t as long nor as tiring.  We certainly didn’t stop as often to rest, which is partially why it took only three hours to get down.  Once we got close to the end of the Holy Jim Trail though, I had to put Jiggy’s backpack on.  I wanted to make sure I could carry him across the stream at the various crossings.  This proved unnecessary since by then Jiggy was a pro.  He was eagerly lunging his muscle-bound physique forward, hopping from rock to rock. 

End of Day
The end of day came at about 3:10 PM, almost eight hours after our early morning start.  Christopher and I were exhausted, though Jiggy looked like he could walk another half a day, given how he gleefully kept trudging forward.  We’d walked a total of 17.5 miles, up from the original planned and expected 16 miles. 

SantiagoPeakTrailMap

I certainly learned that no matter what goals you set and achieve, you’ll always be challenged to do more by those around you.  The super marathoners certainly demonstrated that. I also heard and shared many good stories with my friend Christopher T.  Once again realizing the importance of the right companionships in trying journeys.

I was certainly glad that my buddy, Jiggy, was with us.  I was very happy he’s graduated to a long-distance hiker, rock hopper, and all around outdoor dog, as his lineage dictates, no doubt.  It was a pleasure seeing his athletic physique in action.

What’s Next
With so much learned and achieved from this hike, I realized I was perfectly capable of  completing and looking forward to our future hikes.  I knew I’d have to rest a couple of weeks before starting training for the next hike though.

This brings us to the present week.  This Monday was the start of training for our next big hike:  either Mt. San Gorgonio at 11,499 ft., 5,419 ft. elevation gain and 15.6 miles roundtrip, or Mt. San Jacinto at 10,834 ft., 2,300 ft. elevation gain and 11 miles roundtrip.  Assuming all goes well with the next 14 weeks of training, this next big hike will be on March 10, 2012. 

Anybody else want to join us?

What Do You Think?

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

Photo Credits

Yours truly

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weeks 10-14: One Hundred and Ten Miles Later

Climbing Mount Whitney

It’s been five weeks since my last post about training for the hike to Mount Whitney, what I lovingly refer to as the Big Mother Hike (BMH).  I’ve learned quite a lot in these past five weeks, and certainly had a ball getting closer to completing the BMH.

2011.10.11_Hike1

During this time I’ve walked or hiked 110.5 miles around my neighborhood (see above picture), in parks and over some larger hills.  I’ve learned the importance of continuous hydration as well as taking snacks of high protein value that are about 100 to 150 calories each and can be consumed at about once per hour; how resting for just 7 to 10 minutes every hour can extend your day and walk, as well as other important tidbits.

What I’m writing about today is the importance of being a total geek about your pursuits and feeding off comments from the naysayers. Here’s the breakdown of what I mean:

  1. Geek Out and Become the Humble Pro
    If you’re serious about something, be it hiking, your relationship, work, whatever the case, you have to completely immerse yourself in SAMSUNG            it.  Love and own it by reading about it at every opportunity, speaking with people in the know as well as your friend, family and acquaintances that don’t know, then think through how you wish to apply what you learn to your life and finally apply the lessons. 

    This actually requires a certain amount of humility.  You must accept that you don’t know everything about the subject and seek it out. As with anything, when you learn more, you also realize how much more there’s to learn.  You’ll find that lessons from other practices are applicable to your current focus.  As I’ve started reading a biography about Gandhi, I realize how his many life lessons can be applied to the hikes.

    You’ll invest money in more books and tools to help you succeed, and time to acquire the knowledge and use them.  That’s a good thing.  You’re investing in yourself and insuring your success. 

    SAMSUNG            As your journey becomes longer, you’ll not only apply these lessons, but also find people that want to ask you questions about what you’re doing.  Don’t shun them.  Share what you’ve learned freely, openly and often.  You’ll be surprised to find good advice through these many conversations, as well as learn how your actions inspire others to strive for something greater.

    The point is you should geek out, learn as much as you can about your new goals and apply what you learn daily.  Be humble about what you’re doing and share everything you learn at every opportunity, even as you’re stepping through and getting closer to your goals. Be proud of what you accomplish at every step of the way and humble, knowing where you came from.
  2. Slow Down to Speed Up Your Progress
    I mentioned above that I’ve learned to take breaks.  I used to walk straight through to six or seven miles, even when it took more than an hour.  That was fine for those distances.  However, as I graduated to longer walks, I began to realize the importance of taking breaks. 

    I tried walking past 7 miles with no breaks.  It was exhausting and I slowed down.  Then I remembered advice from a book I’d read: take 7 to 10 minute breaks every hour.  I tried this with the 7 mile walks and all distances thereafter.  I found I had a burst of energy after the breaks and I could quicken my SAMSUNG            pace to make up some of the time spent for them.  I couldn’t fully make it up.  However, my overall pace speed, including the breaks, became better.  What’s more, I could travel longer distances without totally exhausting my body.

    The lesson was clear.  I had to slow down and take breaks in order to speed up my overall progress to walk longer distances as well as my pace during each walk. 
  3. Keep a Singular Focus and Feed Off the Noise
    As you begin to interact with people on and off trails, what you’ll realize is that many who don’t understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it will begin to question it. They may even ridicule the idea or your approach to it. Love this when you see or hear it.

    Why?

    Because it’s a sign you’re going against the norm and everyone’s comfort zone. It means you’re doing something you should…heck, you MUST do, to make your mark in the world. In short, it means you’re doing the right thing.

    Use this validation to feed the fire that’s your desire to accomplish your goals.  Let it confirm that what you’re accomplishing is more than just a hike, or a project, but the definition of your character and who you are. 

What Do You Think?

Feel free to share your comments below.

Photo Credits

Yours truly

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Business Lessons from Hiking

Business Strategies

2011.10.04_GroupOfMenAs you may know from the posts about Climbing Mount Whitney, I’m preparing for a single day, 21 mile round trip hike to summit Mount Whitney next year.  I’m now 10 weeks into a 16 week training cycle.  The training has already reminded me of lessons that universally apply to our personal and professional lives. 
Here are three recurring themes and their associated lessons:
  1. Think One Thought at a Time
    No kidding, right?  This should be obvious for everything we do, but demanding schedules, the want to complete six things at once, and peer pressure guide the best of us into filling every moment with noise and perceptual input.

    Hiking has reminded me how easy it can be to find calmness, to clear your thoughts and find direction.  Walking any distance, even if it’s just for an hours, forces you to clear your mind.  Of course, I assume you avoid taking your phone or mp3 player and just let the nature sink in.  Almost at the beginning of every walk, I find myself thinking about all the things I have to do AFTER I finish the walk.  I used to tell myself to stop thinking about those things, but that only made me think of them more.  So, instead I let the list roll through to the end.  I may even linger on a few items to think through how to get them done. 

    My thoughts eventually come back to the walk.  This usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes. I begin to think about what I want to accomplish that day, the goal of hiking Mount Whitney, what challenges I may have, whether our team should consider doing it in two days instead of just one, how much food will I need, how can we save on total carried weight of equipment by sharing the list of navigational tools and some of the burden, and what new challenges would we take on after hiking Mount Whitney. 

    The point is that giving yourself freedom to think and focus on one item at a time has two important benefits.  First, you don’t have to work as hard in AVOIDING other thoughts.  Second, you gain in-depth insight about the idea at hand.  In essence, you’re giving yourself the freedom to deeply think through your task at hand, whether it’s how to successfully break into the pet food market, or to hike Mount Whitney.
  2. Avoid Never-Ending Marathons
    When I first started planning the Mount Whitney hike, I chose to train for 52 months without any breaks.  In other words, I looked at it as a year-long marathon that ended with…a marathon, namely the Mt. Whitney hike.  A friend reminded me that even marathon training is completed in cycles. The cycles can be intense and with intermittent goals.  Otherwise, the body’s too exhausted to actually complete the marathon.  In fact, when training for a marathon, you’re even supposed to take time off before the race so that you’re fully rested.

    The same holds true for hiking and work.  Intense preparations or projects certainly bring focus and clarity.  However, a project that never ends will demoralize you and your team, as well as deliver mediocre results at best.  This is especially true when the team gets closer to the end of the project when you may need a big push or effort from the team members.  They may need to put in longer hours or avoid all other distractions. This can’t be possible when the team has continuously pushed hard for one to two years. So, give yourself and the team a break between each big endeavor or project to enjoy the rewards of your accomplishments and prepare for the next big adventure. 

    You may want to consider short project cycles that deliver intermittent results.  These can be four to six week cycles with an extra day or two off in between, giving team members time to recuperate before coming in to tackle a new part of the project and pushing harder for the challenges ahead.

    In our case of hiking preparation, I created three cycles of 16-week training with two week breaks in between.  What’s more, each cycle becomes gradually more challenging, with a finale for each cycle that consists of a 12-16 mile hike in the local mountains ranging from 5,600 ft. to 12,000 ft. in altitude.  After the finale for each cycle there’s a two week rest period with very little to no physical activity.  This means that before the Mount Whitney hike, there’ll also be a two-week rest.
  3. Consider Your Team Mix as Dynamic
    We started out preparing for Mount Whitney with two people, increased to six, then dropping back down to two, and not the same two we started out with.  The current team consists of two people with a third that may join us.  Nevertheless, we keep moving forward.

    Often times people join a company, team, or adventure with the shared group goal, such as to introduce a new product to the market, provide better home elderly care, or assess needs and recommend products and services to people with special needs.  Team members may join in, then realize life circumstances prevent them from continuing with the rigor necessary to accomplish those goals.  You have to not only account for it, but accept this outcome as part of the process. 

    The team will go on so long as they remain focused on the mission and vision. There should be no blame, nor hurt feelings for those that can’t accompany you.  Often times, life circumstances that prevent someone from continuing now only mean they’ll join you again later with more focus and vigor.  So, you not only want to avoid alienating the individuals, but understanding their specific wants and needs, then supporting them at least through words and, if possible, through deeds.

What Do You Think?

I never ask you to agree with me, but just to share your ideas and opinion.  Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Weeks 8 and 9: Equipment Check

Climbing Mount Whitney

2011.09.14_OldTimeHikingYou recall I’d originally written in the first of these posts that I would write about Mount Whitney daily.  Clearly that hasn’t happened.  I’m back to the original method of postings on this blog: as new ideas come up, I’ll write about them.  Christopher T had warned me about that with some skepticism.  You were right bub!

First, I’d like to update who will be in our group.  We’re now a group of three people: Christopher T, Ron T, and me.  The dates of the intermediate climbs, as well as the rigor of the preparation have meant some folks can’t make one or more of the climbs before the big mother hike (BMH), or the BMH itself.

Second, as to the preparation, I’ve been busy with the program from the last post, Getting With the (New) Program.  Having finished Weeks 7 and 8, I’ve now completed a 6-mile hike locally.  Week 9, this week, I’ll be walking 8 miles at Chapparosa Park in Laguna Niguel on Sunday.  The hike is 7 miles round trip.  I’ll add a mile by walking the street leading to the park as well. This should be a fun walk since it takes me from Laguna Niguel and end on the beach by the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel which is really in the city of Dana Point.  You get the chance to walk in the meadows between homes, as well as past a couple of great golf courses.  If you’re interested, let me know and we’ll coordinate. 

I’ve taken to tagging along one or both of our pit bulls on the thrice weekly walks.  Jiggy, our male dog, loves the walks. He doesn’t seem to tire much from them.  Given his muscular build, I’m not really surprised.  I think he may just make it to the longer trips as well.  who knows, may be he’ll be our new fourth team member.  I’ll just have to look into whether dogs are allows up to Mount Whitney.  If not, he can at least keep me company on the local hikes. The latter hikes on the circuits get up to 12 to 14 miles round-trip.  That’ll be good exercise for him.  I certainly love the company and his happy nature to keep trotting along.  He’s definitely my happy lug nut that keeps me motivated to keep walking!

L2011.09.14_TivaRiva-eVentast, I’ve researched what equipment we need for the hike.  It’s lead to a purchase of a new pair of hiking shows and the creation of an equipment list.  First, I have a few words about the new shoes.  I’m especially fond of them, the Tiva Riva eVent. These shoes are comfortable and light.  What I love about them is that they’re stylish enough to wear as semi-casual dress shoes.  This way I can stick with taking a single pair of shoes when I fly out of town for work and still get my hiking training in without a worry about ruining my dress shoes.  They’re also very light and easy to stow away in a carry-on luggage, if I need to take them as an extra pair on my business trips. 

2011.09.14_ColumbiaDillonRidgeI’ll likely wear my Columbia Dillon Ridge boots and the new Tiva Rivas interchangeably.  They’re both water-proof and have fantastic gripping soles.  I like the Columbia boots since they provide ankle support.  This’ll likely be important on the walks in the hills, around rocks and loose ground.  Time will tell as I continue to use both.

Now, back to the list.  You’ll find it below. It includes the (in)famous 10 Essentials:

Shoes Lip Balm (SPF 15+)
Gaiters Sport Tape
Socks Advil
Thermal Top Moleskin
Thermal Bottom Band-Aid
Pants (Hiking pants - convertibles) Bandage
Jacket (Wind Resistant) Sterile Gauze
Hiking Hat Tweezers
Wool Hat Antibiotic Ointment
Fleece Top Antiseptic Wipes
Gloves Antihistamine
Sunglasses Safety Pin
Sunscreen (SPF 30+) Latex Gloves
Headlamp (LED) First-Aid Book
Extra AAA Batteries Space Blanket
Two-Way Radio Map
Extra AA Batteries Compass
Whistle Altimeter
Bell GPS
Day Pack Extra Batteries for GPS
Wag Bag Food: 400 Calories / 2 hours + 500 Calories / meal
Toilet Paper Water: 0.75 Quart / Hour for 13-17 hours
Trekking Poles Electrolyte powder
Camera Water-Filter System
Inspect Repellent Small Cup for Water + Electrolyte

If you want the full list in a spreadsheet with my notes, email me.  I’ll be happy to share it via Google Docs or email you a copy. You can use this as both a packing and day-of-hike final check list. 

P.S. All of this preparation and research has only provided further lessons to use at work.  Stay tuned.  The business-lessons post is coming.

What Do You Think?

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below about the equipment or your experience with similar preparation.

Photo Credit

Flickr Commons, Teva, Sports Authority

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Bully Breed Outrage

Random Thoughts

2011.09.10_PerplexedRecently I read a blog post on the Bad Rap site about a pit bull, Dusty, caught in the clutches of our legal system and slated for destruction.

Given our family lives with a tabby cat and two fantastic bully breeds, I was interested to read more. Even if you don’t own a bully breed, you should read the blog post, Dangerous Testimony in Monroe County Michigan, and judge for yourself how objective are the guidelines for destruction.  For that matter, ask yourself if the dog is any different than practically every puppy you’ve owned or ever met.

Below is the comment I posted on their site, with revisions only seen here:

This is CRAZY AND OUTRAGEOUS.

Dusty is much better behaved than the majority of dogs I see EVERY DAY in my neighborhood. By these "standards", if you can call them that, there should be no dog left alive, regardless of breed.

Dusty just looks like a happy puppy that wants to play.

I'm upset, angry, and in tears. 

Dr. Houpt is a disgrace to her profession. She should have her license revoked. Her actions are similar to a medical doctor attending to her patients in a hospital, poking and prodding them, searching for ways to give them a lethal injection, instead of focusing for a [means and signs that prompt her action] to save lives.

The fact that the court is not allowing another group to train Dusty is upsetting and unsettling. We give more opportunities to rapists, serial killers, and daily criminals than this poor dog. Shouldn't we use AT LEAST the same standards for rescued dogs that we do for criminals, giving them second chances at rehabilitation?

I write AT LEAST since with dogs there's substantially better odds of being successful, given the right focus on training and socialization.  This is especially true for dogs since they tend to move on much easier than humans.  Perfect examples of this scenario are the Michael Vick’s dogs as told in the book, The Lost Dogs.

In Dusty's case, he just needs a loving home and human companions that'll give him standard, proper training. He needs nothing extreme and certainly should NOT be euthanized!

What Do You Think?

I hope you get a chance to read the original post Dangerous Testimony in Monroe County Michigan and comment there.  In fact, I encourage you to do so, instead of making any comments here.

Photo Credit

Yours truly (with a picture of our older Pit Bull mix, Lola)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 7: Getting with the (New) Program

Climbing Mount Whitney

So, we’re at the top of Week 7, but there’s already a need to change the program. I’m not terribly surprised. The beauty of sharing ideas is that friends, fellow bloggers and readers often suggest better ideas or, at a minimum, means to improve.

Chris T., one of our climbing crew members, made an excellent comment in the previous post. He compared our preparation to that of a marathon and suggested breaking up the regimen into smaller blocks, including rest periods in-between. He also added a note about working with weights.

With that, the change plan was to create a new schedule that follow these general guidelines:

  • Create a regular cycle that gets us to three practice hikes over the next year
  • The fourth hike, the Coup De Grâs, will be Mount Whitney
  • Add short periods of rest right before each Big Mother Hike (BMH - my made-up TLA) so that we’re not overworked when the BMH for each cycle begins
  • Add longer periods of rest right after each BMH to prepare for the next cycle
  • Add periods of altitude acclimation when climbing over 8,000 ft. to reduce the chance of altitude sickness
  • Choose local mountains within an hour or two driving distance from Orange county and Los Angeles for the BMHs

The schedule is a work-in-progress, as are all things in life. The above resulted in 14-week cycles followed by two weeks of rest. During the last week of each training session, we’ll cut out most activities except weight-training / calisthenics which make up two days of the week. This should give our muscles enough rest before the BMH of the cycle on the 7th day.

For reference, here’s the current cycle’s schedule (excluding the two-week rest period after the BMH):

Week Date Day Activity Distance (miles) Description
7 8/29/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 3
W Walk 4
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 5 Local
8 9/5/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 4
W Walk 5
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 6 Peters Canyon Trail
9 9/12/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 4
W Walk 6
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 8 Chapparosa Park in Laguna Niguel
10 9/19/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 4
W Walk 6
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 8 Chapparosa Park in Laguna Niguel
11 9/26/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 5
W Walk 7
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 9 Aliso Canyon Park
12 10/3/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 6
W Walk 8
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 10 Aliso Canyon Park
13 10/10/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 6
W Walk 8
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 10 Aliso Canyon Park
14 10/17/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 7
W Walk 9
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 11 Aliso Canyon Park
15 10/24/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 7
W Walk 9
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 11 Aliso Canyon Park
16 10/31/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 8
W Walk 10
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 12 Aliso Canyon Park
17 11/7/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Walk 8
W Walk 10
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Racquetball N/A
S Climb 12 Aliso Canyon Park
18 11/14/2011 M Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
T Off
W Off
Th Gym N/A Calisthenics & Weights
F Off
S Off
S Climb 16 Santiago Peak (Saddleback Mountain)
- Elevation at Peak: 5,687 ft.
- Roundtrip Distance: 16 miles
- Trail: Holy Jim
- Elevation Gain: 3,947 ft.
- Info site: http://www.summitpost.org/holy-jim-trail/160764

What Do You Think?

How does this new schedule look? What do you think can be done better? Feel free to comment below.

PHOTO CREDITS

Alan Vernon

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 5: Official Kickoff After Time Off

Climbing Mount Whitney

Having spent the last couple of weeks on the road, I didn't walk much. However, I had plenty of opportunity to think, espcially while vacationing on a cruise to Alaska. Though the family and I were active walking at the Mendenhall Glacier area, kayaking in Hines, I spent much time reading the book The Lost Dogs and One Best Hike, Mt. Whitney. I'll write about both of these in later posts, though The Lost Dogs has nothing to do with the hike. It's the story of how Michael Vick's dogs were found and saved.

In the process of reading the Mt. Whitney book, I learned of additional hiking locations in the local mountains to prepare for the Mount Whitney climb. I'll spend the next three weeks researching and scheduling each hike. By the beginning of September, I'll post the full training regimen here.

Though I've not yet finished the Mt. Whitney book, I've already covered the chapters on the planning, dangers and conditioning for the hike. Some of the notes on the dangers of the climb were alarming, especially the sections about evacuation in case of severe high altitude sickness. Nevertheless, I'm more excited than ever to start the process.

Also, since the last post we now have five members in our team of climbers: Yours truly, Chris T., Scot T., Ard R., and Ferchie C. Ferchie is our lone woman representative. One other item I learned reading the Mt. Whitney book is that our party will need five leads (in case one of us can't make it), but it can have 15 total members.

So, I'm casting the net for any additional people interested in the climb. Given we only have one woman in the group, and since I've been accused of sexism for the eschewed ratio, I want to insure we give equal opportunity for the women interested in the climb. First and foremost then, we're looking for three more women to join. Keep in mind, we need people that can at least commit to the training (more on that later). Befor the permit application deadline, we'll ask everyone willing to take the hike to commit to completing it in our agreed-upon length. This'll be one to two days, depending on the group's assessment during our training and before the February 1 deadline. Any takers?

Last, though I spent a few weeks walking and testing the backpack with varying weight in the past four weeks, our training starts this week. This means our team will need to each complete two hikes each week for the next three weeks, with each hike no shorter than 4 miles and, preferably, in terrain with some hills. Each subsequent three-week period means an increase of one-mile and difficulty level in the hikes. Once we reach 10 miles, we'll start hiking the nearby mountains for our second day on the weekends to better acclimate to elevation and rocky terrain. Here's a grid summary of the regimen:

Weeks

Miles / Day

Location

Terrain

Elevation / Gain

5-7

4

Local

Hilly streets

N/A

8-10

5

Local

Hilly streets

N/A

11-13

6

Local

Hilly streets

N/A

14-16

7

Local

Hilly streets

N/A

17-19

8

Local

Hilly streets

N/A

20-22

9

Local

Hilly streets

N/A

23-24

10

TBD

Local Mountains

2-4k ft / 1k ft

25-27

11

TBD

Local Mountains

3-5k ft / 1k ft

28-30

12

TBD

Local Mountains

4-6k ft / 1k ft

31-33

13

TBD

Local Mountains

5-7k ft / 1k ft

34-36

14

TBD

Local Mountains

6-8k ft / 1-2k ft

37-39

15

TBD

Local Mountains

7-9k ft / 1-2k ft

40-42

16

TBD

Local Mountains

8-10k ft / 1-2k ft

43-45

17

TBD

Local Mountains

9-11k ft / 1-2k ft

46-48

18

TBD

Local Mountains

9-12k ft / 2-3k ft

49-51

19

TBD

Local Mountains

9-12k ft / 2-3k ft

52

20

TBD

Local Mountains

9-12k ft / 3-5k ft

53-54

Rest

Ready? Set? Go!


What Do You Think?

Do you have any suggestions on how to improve this routine? Feel free to share your thoughts below.