It seems I’m doing a lot of preparation, but when folks ask me what I’m doing to train for this hike, I realize my preparations lately have centered on getting the right gear ready, planning the itinerary and prepping food. Training? I knew I was forgetting something!
I set out for Black Creek Park (here in my town of Chili, New York). There are great trails there, though a bit flat for what I really need. It’s close by. I want to spend time walking with a load, not driving, so Black Creek it is! In the parking lot, while I’m adjusting my poles and pack straps, there’s a small crowd. I find out it’s a group from the local chapter of the ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club). They’re gathering for some social hiking, and seem to be waiting for the rest of the crowd to show up. Among the banter I overhear, “… Can you believe it? These are yoga pants!” I’m not sure why, but I find that kind of funny. No one asks why I’m putting on a pack with a tent and rolled up sleeping pad strapped on; it’s 28 pounds this time. While the crowd swells, I slip off onto one of the lesser-used trails.
There are many out cross-country skiing today, and I’d rather not wreck their tracks, so I stay away from the bigger trails today. I come to an intersection and I hear the ADK mob coming, so I continue on the smaller trail, and hope they continue on the bigger one. I’m relieved as their chatter fades into the distance. Mind you, I’m not anti-social, but today is not about socializing for me. It’s training; for me, best done in solitude. I hear a few birds and little else.
Since I’m sticking to the lesser-used trails, I see a few things I’ve not seen before, and get into some of the more remote stretches of the park. They’re not all scenic, however. I stop for a breather (okay, it was really to pee and blow my nose) and I hear what sounds like rain on a tin roof above me. What’s that? I look up and find I’m beneath some massive power lines and the snowflakes are actually sizzling while they strike the wires. Not a great place to hang out, I think so I move on.
I end up hiking for about 2 1/4 hours before I’m back to the car. The new pack, pretty well loaded, has been comfortable all the while, so this felt pretty good, just a walk in the park! Of course, it was only about 6 miles on flat trails. I’ve got more training to do.