Preparation: How to Win at Hiking part 1

At Home in Nature

Isn’t it ironic that I drove 72 miles through Dallas traffic to take a hiking class? But REI has my heart with all their free classes and amazing knowledge and gear.  I am hungry to learn all the skills to do thru-hikes, so I registered for a Women’s Lightweight Backpacking Basics class.

Someone asked Liz, our Instructor, what her trail name is. She lowered her head, blushed a bit and smiled. She looked back up at the eagerly awaiting class and began the story behind “Trampy.” Apparently it has a less American trashy and more UK hike-y connotation, which is where the couple that gave her the nickname is from.

They considered her a beast, a force of nature on the trails, so… “Trampy.”

On the hour and a half drive home from Dallas, I daydreamed about who I will meet along the trails and who will give me a trail name and what will it be? Something cool I hope… like Flower Child Running or Super Woman. But it will probably be something like Klutzy Carrie or She-Who-Overpacks. After hearing all the places Liz has been… the PCT, the AT, the Mojave Desert, Big Bend… I thought hers should have been Mrs. President or Legend or something more dramatic than Trampy because what an inspiration she is!

I have to reign in my impatience, continue with classes at REI (more Dallas driving… ugh) and practice on day hikes until I’m ready. Part of that preparation is the need to change some habits like drinking more water, upping the endurance training, and getting fitted for and purchasing a proper backpack and the 10 Essentials to fill it with around 35 lbs. As much as I adore the pack gifted to me by my Aunt, it is not fit for my body type and is causing fatigue. Five miles a day on a thru-hike isn’t going to get me a cool trail name! Also my coffee drinking will have to be cut way back, which I hope I can get away with instead of totally quitting because it is something I enjoy VERY much. So I intend to start drinking the amount of water I’m supposed to be drinking daily (at least 1/2 of body weight on non-workout days) and having only a small cup when I wake up… AFTER a glass of water. And cleaner eating with less sodium. All least I think I need less sodium, not so sure after reading this article on trail nutrition.  I’m so grateful to have found it, because I’ve REALLY been struggling in that area because I hadn’t come across info on how to eat on the trail! So I’ll be off soon to try out the 50/35/15 fat/carb/protein ratio suggested by Brenda L Braaten and adjust accordingly. I may not need to alter my sodium intake, but I do need the endurance to earn that rockin’ trail name!

I hope it’s not “Princess something-or-other.” My need for “luxury items” such as toilet paper and deodorant and cameras and cute clothes for Instagram pictures and edible wild plants and medicinal herbs books is pretty strong. Liz told us all about how toilet paper is for poops not pees on the Trail and handed out dandy pee rags/bandannas to the class! Thanks REI! And I used to frown at my Mom’s resourcefulness of cut up old t-shirts for wiping! Shame on me. In my defense, I was a different person then.

But learning to pack light will be a minor inconvenience compared to the places and the magic I’ll experience.  And I DO always love a challenge!  I’ll gladly trade in changes of underwear for waterfalls and mountaintops and campfire gatherings with great folks.

I’m not leaving without my camera and leather-bound Journal though! What would you give up to be a Force of Nature? What could you not leave behind?

Are you ready to take a hike?