Archive For: Weight Loss

Return of a footsore Idiot

As I think I have said before, I am not sure one can really go walk-about if they are not doing too much walking. Now that I have survived the most recent pass through the forge as I turn myself into whatever tool I will be, I decided to start taking some control back. Winter is approaching, which means that it is a good time for nomads to stay put for a while. Plus it would be good to replenish the coffers. Gotta start paying back money I owe, resupply, and ensure I actually survive the winter. Since me becoming a wealthy award-winning author seems a very slow process, this means some temporary work. I consulted the digital genies and immediately found a new bar opening up only a couple of miles away. Walk-able, and in many ways ideal. Food service is good for flexibility of schedule and occasional cash in hand.

Being the excellent planner that I am not, I checked routes on Google. To the bar; from THAT bar to “MY” bar … er … um … office. Filled out an online application, got an email saying come in for a talk, and the process was started. Of course in my usual perfect timing, this day it decided to snow. Oh well. Walking in a light snow can actually be quite refreshing. I walked to he potential job site, actually FOUND it with only slight difficulty, had my ten minute canned interview (stay tuned for results), then began the walk to the office to get some REAL work done.

Pause for sarcastic laughter.

deep-snowIt is one of the many ironies that govern my life that the more “civilized” and area is, the less capable I am of navigating it. Put me in the woods, and I will rarely get lost. Put me in something man-made, like say a city or a mall, and I will be lost for hours. I am glad (?) to say yesterday was no different. I apparently totally misread the map for my return journey. Add to that the lowering temperature, the increasing snow, and my tendency to go into the “zone” when conditions become less than comfortable, in no time I was … completely unsure where I was.

I am one who travels by landmarks. Like trees and rocks. Stock buildings, highways and advertising signs completely baffle me, especially when they keep repeating themselves. After a few, “I’ll turn here, it is bound to take me somewhere,” mishaps, I finally ended up somewhere that there was potential for warmth and better yet … directions. I shed what remained of my pride and … dun dun dun … asked. I may be remembering incorrectly at this point, but I am pretty sure the answer was, “You are in the wrong state.”

Finally I figured out where I needed to be, roughly 5 miles That-a-way. Fortunately it was now getting darker, colder, and snowier, ensuring I didn’t settle down in someone’s yard for a nap. So after a walking only about nine miles out of my way, I finally made it to the “office”, I stayed long enough to thaw out before I skied back to my room to crash for the night.

So basically I walked roughly 13 miles and got slightly hypothermic for a ten minute interview for a job I may or may not get. All in all a rather productive day.

Just do it!

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Clingmans Dome, Tennessee

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Clingmans Dome, Tennessee 35.562755, -83.498498 Clingmans Dome

Day: 39
Trail Miles: 199.1

Rain. Snow. Pain. Slow.

That kind of sums up the last few days. I finally entered the “dreaded” Smoky Mountains. Why dreaded. Well first there is the whole bureaucracy involved with getting through the park. Can’t even escape The Man in the woods. Add to that every previous hikers tales of what to expect … and the imagination has you quivering in your shoes.

First lesson learned: don’t listen to what anyone else says.

This section of The Trail is beautiful. It is cold and unpredictable. It is both harder and easier than one expects. And the local Trail Runners have a nasty habit of telling you it is MUCH easier than it actually is (note the first lesson).

Second lesson learned: most of our physical limits are self imposed.

What still remains the best part Of the journey is the people met along the way … on and off the trail. There is a whole trail based culture that truly can not be fully understood by those who have not experienced it. This includes those who offer trail magic … even the spontaneous kind. With that in mind, I want to offer a special shout out to Joe, Linda, and Jonathan. Thanks again for the ride. It was great meeting you.

A couple of side notes: I am writing this from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the “Redneck Las Vegas”. As usual, it is sucking me in for a few days. I also am about 3 inches smaller in belt size.

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The truth sets in

 

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Woody Gap

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Woody Gap 34.677591, -83.999357

Day 2-5
Weather: rainy; cold, rainy, and windy; rainy into sunny; hot sunny
Distance travelled: 21.1 miles

After Jeff’s setback, I hooked up with two new hikers: Rich (Grey Wolf) who is my age, and Ken who is 71 (no trail name yet). We all realized that our eyes were bigger than our muscles, and we are basically some of the slower folk on the trail right now.

Day 2 was crappy weather, and we were all feeling the effects of the previous day, so we stayed put that day. The next day we moved on, though it turned out to be and even crappier day. Between the rain, the chill, and the three stooges, we ended up only making it roughly half way to where we wanted to be. We made the mistake of camping in a gap (Cooper’s Gap) which means stopping in a wind tunnel. Thirty to fifty mile an hour steady winds, combined with rain and almost freezing temperatures made for a rather uncomfortable night. We were saved by some trail magic when a local car camper took pity on us and gave us beverages and food, and even a hat that night, and returned the next morning with hot coffee.

The next day we reached the shelter we were originally aiming for on day 2.

Finally today, day 5, we got the exact opposite weather, being unseasonably hot. Beautiful views, but dehydration was hanging over us. We ended at Woody Gap, far short of where we wanted to be again, and beat, decided to stay in a hostel. A subway sandwich, a hot shower, some cleaning, and a decent night sleep (hopefully), ended this part of the journey.

Right now we are averaging about 5 miles a day, which is well shy of the 8 to 10 a day planned on, but we are still plugging along. I shed most of the gadgets I brought along. They did not really work as I hoped, and are not worth the 15 extra pounds the are loading me with. I will still blog, and take as many pics as I can. It just won’t be as often as I envisioned.

Incidentally, my trail name is Rotund.

Training continues

Now that most of the supplies prep has been taken care of, I have run out of good excuses not to be focusing on the body prep. I have used such excuses as winter, being transportationally challenged, running out of room as supplies take over the space, and boredom with routine as excuses to NOT really be exercising as I should. But as anyone who has EVER gotten involved with such crazy activities as maintaining a healthy lifestyle knows, an excuse is an excuse. And as anyone one of these wise people ALSO knows, if you don’t stop hiding behind those excuses, eventually something will come along and bite you on the ass. Most likely in a very painful way.

Since an ass bite will really not be all that pleasant on the trail, and I will most likely be facing a LOT more pain than just in the posterior regions, I figured I really need to get OFF that proverbial ass and start doing something resembling training again. Even if it is only for a few more weeks. Part of my personal challenge, beyond losing weight, building muscle, learning discipline, and getting enough stamina to function for more than 5 minutes at a time … is a distinct lack of access to the right KIND of training. I know, I know, this sounds like another excuse, but really it is not, just one of the challenges that I needed to work on. The reality is, no matter how much I gyrate around in front of a TV full of insanely fit people telling me what to do; no matter how many gallons of sweat I manage to soak out of my tortured body; no matter the fact that I can now lift a keg with one hand before I tap it; no matter the fact that I can walk a marathon on a flat surface in day no problem … NOTHING prepares one for hiking mountainous terrain with a the weight of a small human on your back like … well … hiking mountainous terrain with a the weight of a small human on your back.

This is NOT a stunt double!

This is NOT a stunt double!

Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of mountainous terrain in my neighborhood, and being on the Registry of Motor Vehicles MOST WANTED list makes it rather difficult for me to get to said mountains with any ease. We don’t even have any tall buildings with endless staircases in these parts. So I have not really gotten as much of that kind of training as I had hoped to in the last few months. Being the clever guy I am, I came up with a way to sort of emulate this kind of activity. I am now walking around the house for most of the day with a daypack holding thirty pounds of weight. I walk to and fro, up and down the few stairs we have, and throughout my room, which with MY cleaning style is as close to mountainous terrain I am likely to get off a mountain. Being the SLOW guy I am, I just thought of this idea two days ago, so no telling how much a few weeks of this will actually help when the real thing hits. But it is better than nothing (I hope).

I have also been practicing eating small quantities of food at a time, getting used to functioning with my stomach viciously growling at me constantly. Unfortunately, I suspect I will not be able to have those small portions on the trail every five minutes like I do at home, so I am not sure how effective this particular training method will actually be.

Maytag and I are basically now both chomping at the bit for this hike to start (in between me chomping at snacks). He has suggested a possible Trail Name for me … Captain Nasty … based on a nickname for cleaver murderer from a crime show (close to an ax murderer). I have been leaning towards letting the masses assign me a name on the trail, but am always open to ideas. Have to think on that one.

Time for my next snack attack. Until the next time folks!

Career change

I have been pretty busy the last several days. Ironically, the busier I am, the less I feel I accomplish. But that is nothing new. It all has to do with relativity and the ultimate ethereality of super science. But I can proudly say, that whatever has kept me busy has been with one primary purpose (even if it may not seem so to observing eyes) … namely preparation for my adventure. Now I admittedly have been slacking in the whole fitness department, but even devolving back into a couch potato does not really worry me. I have faith in my physical ability to do the hike. And the current lay-about-ness is temporary … I WILL get off my lazy arse again soon enough.

Right now the biggest obstacle to be the famous explorer that is my current destiny is … you probably guessed it … lack of funds. So everything I am doing now is in pursuit of those bright shiny objects we all seem to revere so much. Pretty much everything I have been doing lately has, at least in some way, revolved around my inner capitalist.

SHUDDER!

employmentThe Go Fund Me campaign is ongoing, and is helping a bit, but I never really thought of it as the ultimate solution. After all I am not a cute puppy or someone who has recently suffered a tragedy. Nor am I particularly newsworthy. I have basically stopped an extraneous spending, which means bye-bye to my brief illusion of a social life. And no more games for you mister (at least the kind that cost). I have made a(nother) site that basically fools people into thinking I am an experienced and productive member of society. In other words an online CV of sorts.  I went so far as to post the link on Craigslist with a request for local temporary work. I even got a response already, though I suspect it is someone trying to hook me up with the same business I am already not doing so hot in.

To show how desperatedicated I really am, I even stepped into the world of surveys for money. No doubt the 2 cents I earn ever six hours or so will get me where I need to be in no time. Assuming I can survive the complete inanity of it all. Are people REALLY that superficial?

As the date gets closer, the excitement builds. But so does the that feeling you get when you haven’t finished the school project you had three weeks to do and it is due tomorrow. In other words everything is as it should be. Just like any theatre person will tell you, it never really comes together until the opening day.

More updates soon. Hopefully positive on ALL fronts!