Preparing to walk the Camino, Terri and I did a lot of training in advance. We prepared months in advance by slowing building up our ability to walk long distances. We did the majority of our training walks in the city. In hindsight we both wish we would have trained a bit more in the mountains with more of the varied trail conditions. I have found trail conditions to be a big factor in how difficult a hike or walk will be. Distance and elevation gain are the traditional ways we measure how tough a hike but the other factor often underestimated is how rugged the trail is to walk.
During our Camino, we had some very long days of walking and in some cases a fair amount of elevation gain. What we did not really anticipate was how rugged the trail conditions would be at times. A really tough trail filled with lots of trail obstacles (rocks, roots, steps) require a lot more energy, balance and concentration level than a walk on a relatively smooth path or trail.
I mentioned balance as a key element of hiking on rugged trail conditions especially as one begins to fatigue. I believe this is a very important area to focus in training for hiking difficult trail conditions. Since my hiking injury this past spring, I have decided to train harder to improve my core strength and balance. I know this training will have lasting benefits for me as I age as well, since falling is so much more common as we age. Surprisingly it does not take that much time to make a big difference and I don’t even have to go to a gym!
P.S. I even found some brain fitness training as well to help my improve visual processing and useful field of view which can be very important to reducing our risk of falling.
Photograph of the Week
One of the most rugged trail condition hikes I did this past year was Gothic Basin. It is located up in the Monte Cristo area near Barlow Pass on the Mountain Loop Highway. This is one of the toughest day hikes I did this year as it was long, steep and the trail conditions were really bad the whole hike. This panoramic image was taken at the top in Gothic Basin. and the images at the top of the blog article show some of the trail conditions we faced!