Synchronicity 1 and 2.

Proceed with caution.

Then step on the gas.

Blog time : It’s June 2020 and still raining ; situation normal then !.   This morning i finished my everyday hike around the forest trails and then ‘had at it’ with a whole body workout out on the deck.  Later in this series of posts i’m going to talk about my simple home non-gym set-up that’s allowed me to do some useful training at home and out on the trail ; that for example just with a secondhand rucksack and a heavy old lump of tree.

First though a little bit of synchronicity.

My ‘kink in the road’ is that i might be putting sailing aside for a while as a main blogging interest and instead focusing on a potential return to the mountains. I was reminded of a few lines from the late J.R Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings and spoken by an older Bilbo….”i want to see mountains again Gandalf….Mountains !”  Well, this morning i was very sad to hear of the death of Sir Ian Holm who played the character of the older Bilbo and just to say that Saruman (Christopher Lee) died a few years back after an extraordinary life and career.

In my workout today i stepped on the gas a little with a longer, end of week, and whole body regime rather than the mid week leg, shoulders or back day ; today i hit the whole damned lot a bit harder and i’ll explain why in a while.

In the first post in this series i talked briefly about some of my observations about the effects of the pandemic and , i have to admit, picked a bit of navel out of my fluff…or  however that goes : today instead, and just to totally mix metaphors i’m going to kick the can over, in other words ‘spill the beans’.  So here goes :

At 62, post knee replacement and post fat bastard state i’m planning for, training for and preparing for, a series of hiking trips in the High Sierra mountains of California and if that isn’t enough then also a series of exploration hikes in the canyonlands of Utah, USA : if i mention The Maze for example, well that’s one of the places that the late ‘Cactus Ed’ (Edward Abbey) wrote about and is one place that iv’e always wanted to go but never did.   Now, having given up on long distance and hardcore multi-day hiking iv’e got the desire for mountains and canyons again….”Mountains Gandalf….Mountains !”

It’s not a given that this project is a ‘go’ rather that it might become so if i can get to a whole new level of fitness just for the hiking itself but that the physical demands will be to carry a heavy load , at times, over long distances, with long and steep ascents and descents….long descents with load are the killer, and rugged terrain : that’s ‘just the hiking by the way.  The canyon hiking/exploration side is the next level up from that as it isn’t ‘just’ hiking on trails as in the High Sierra, but a lot of rugged off trail hiking with even more load , difficult route finding and maybe even low grade rock scrambling/climbing….and all in one of the most austere, harsh demanding and weirdly beautiful environments that i can imagine.

This isn’t exactly a tomorrow job, or next week, or next month and much more likely a next year trip…and later in the year, early autumn perhaps because the canyons aren’t a good place to be in the summer and the High Sierra trails are far quieter in the fall…and prettier too.  What that means is that the first time slot for such a trip is late September into October next year and that gives me a lead time of 15 months for the trip planning, route planning and research, building the skill set and the kit set-up and most important of all, the physical training and preparation.

This doesn’t mean giving up on sailing and laying up my boat, i’ll always be a sailor and i’ll be using WABI”’ for short trips and getaways while i can afford to keep her.  I did seriously think about a different sailing project : that of building a smaller open boat in ‘sail and oar’ style and doing a transatlantic crossing in that just to get to the start of the Everglades challenge.  I still want to do that but the entire project can go on the back burner for now although i’m still looking at starting the build for that project : just recently iv’e been talking to designer John Welsford and i think his design ‘Longsteps’ is looking like the boat for the job.  As and when John can finish the plans and get the study plans out i’ll be getting a set and finalising that decision.

For now iv’e got a whole load of planning, preparing and training to do so in the next post in this series i’ll be talking about the 2 very different environments and how i propose to train for them.

The Maze i think….sadly not my photograph.




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