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#99404 - 07/10/08 09:15 PM Desert Hiking and Training
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
I have been reading a lot of information on this web site and soaking up most of it. It seems like the majority of the topics are related to alpine hiking. I am interested in the requirements of hiking in a dessert environment. I am going to the Grand Canyon in late August for a rafting / hiking trip. In no way will it be a true backpacking experience since it is a commercially guided trip and everything including meals will be provided. All I have to do is set up my own tent and sleeping arrangements.

With that said, the grand finally of the trip is a 4400 VF hike out with all my personal gear. I turn 50 on the day we hit the river at Lee's Fairy and have been on the fitness roller coaster for most of my life. This has given me a goal and I have been on a mission for the past 6 months. I have been swimming laps, riding a stationary bike in a spin class 3 days per week, and for the last two months I have been hiking with backpack 3 days per week. I have increased my pack weight gradually and am up to 26 lbs and doing 3.5 miles over rough terrain and hills.

I live in Central Texas and I can't duplicate the 4400 VF, but we do have hills and very very hot weather. My goal is to be able to do this trip and not let my physical limitations be a factor. I want to totally absorb and thoroughly enjoy the experience. I plan to do a 10 mile hike with 50% more weight than my target, before the trip.

My question is; is there anything else that I can (should) do over the next 6 weeks to increase my trail readiness?

P.S. I lived and backpacked in AK in the late 70's and all of this has given me the bug again. I still have my Kelty frame pack and down bag from then. I am at a point in my life where I have the resources to be able to travel to some nice places and be properly equipped, as opposed to the way we went about it in the 70's.
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#99405 - 07/11/08 04:38 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
6brnorma Offline
member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 252
Loc: Arizona
Sounds like you're making solid preparations, Trailrunner and others have done similar trips and can give more specific advice...however....as a native...
Quote:
I turn 50 on the day we hit the river at Lee's Fairy
I'd add on about three rounds of Boxing a day also. If you call it anything other than Lee's Ferry here, you'll need it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#99406 - 07/11/08 06:37 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Go to Enchanted Rock. Hike up, down, up, down, repeat. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> If that don't prepare you, not much else will. Do it between noon and 3pm. Make sure to go through the cave at the top (if yer skinny enough <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />).
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#99407 - 07/11/08 03:27 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: finallyME]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Quote:
I'd add on about three rounds of Boxing a day also. If you call it anything other than Lee's Ferry here, you'll need it.


Sound advice. Good thing they are pronounced the same, at least in Texican.

Enchanted Rock is on my list. I live in Spicewood so it's an easy drive for me.

How about water consumption? I will never be too far from reliable water but how much water should you carry/consume. I have read anywhere from 1 - 2 liters / hr. but have also read that your body can only absorb about 1 L / hr. The outfitter also mentions water intoxication but when I mentioned that to a friend that is a P.A. at a trauma center in AZ, he said they rarely see cases of it. They deal with many cases of dehydration.

I am also trying out different configuration of shorts and underwear to prevent chafing. I cut out the mesh liners from all my shorts. They seemed to cause more damage than good. I read somewhere on here about the synthetic boxer briefs. Although pricey, they seem to be working sufficiently.

Irregardless, I am looking forward to some dry air, running some rapids, side canyon hikes, and many many photo opportunities. The humidity around here is pretty tough and combine that with high 90's to 100's, I should be acclimated to the heat.
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#99408 - 07/14/08 03:27 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
BobEFord Offline
member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 72
Loc: SE AZ
Sounds like you may be doing a partial canyon float trip and getting out at Bright Angel Creek.

If so, consider investigating what it takes to get the outfitter to bring your stuff out at the end of his trip and ship it to you, and you just hike out with a day pack.

That way you can go plush and heavy on your river trip gear.

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#99409 - 07/14/08 06:31 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: BobEFord]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
Quote:
Sounds like you may be doing a partial canyon float trip and getting out at Bright Angel Creek.

If so, consider investigating what it takes to get the outfitter to bring your stuff out at the end of his trip and ship it to you, and you just hike out with a day pack.

That way you can go plush and heavy on your river trip gear.

Actually, the usual routine is to have the mules carry bags out.

scottyb, check with your guide service, who will likely be familiar with that option.




scottyb wrote:
Quote:
My question is; is there anything else that I can (should) do over the next 6 weeks to increase my trail readiness?

Your preparations sound reasonable. If you water up at all the rest houses on the Bright Angel, you shouldn't need to carry more than a quart or so on your walk out. Honestly, although the canyon shouldn't be underestimated, the hike up the Bright Angel, with its fairly steady grade and occasional shady spots, isn't that bad. The worst parts are the mules and the idiots. The actual climb feels easier than some 3000 foot climbs on more rugged trails.

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#99410 - 07/15/08 05:11 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: azcanyon]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Quote:
Quote:
Sounds like you may be doing a partial canyon float trip and getting out at Bright Angel Creek.

If so, consider investigating what it takes to get the outfitter to bring your stuff out at the end of his trip and ship it to you, and you just hike out with a day pack.

That way you can go plush and heavy on your river trip gear.

Actually, the usual routine is to have the mules carry bags out.

scottyb, check with your guide service, who will likely be familiar with that option.




scottyb wrote:
Quote:
My question is; is there anything else that I can (should) do over the next 6 weeks to increase my trail readiness?

Your preparations sound reasonable. If you water up at all the rest houses on the Bright Angel, you shouldn't need to carry more than a quart or so on your walk out. Honestly, although the canyon shouldn't be underestimated, the hike up the Bright Angel, with its fairly steady grade and occasional shady spots, isn't that bad. The worst parts are the mules and the idiots. The actual climb feels easier than some 3000 foot climbs on more rugged trails.


This is a quote from the Arizona Raft Adventure's web site, which is repeated in the detailed information I received from registration.
Quote:
However, you must hike with your own personal belongings. The mule duffle service provided by Xanterra Parks and Resorts is not an option.


After looking at your link to Xanterra, I think it is because the rafts never stop at Phantom Ranch, where the duffles have to be dropped off before 7AM. We will be dropped off further down river, at Pipe Creek where the Bright Angel Trail intersects the River Trail. This shortens the hike significantly. I think it is also a means to keep their overall weight down.
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#99411 - 07/15/08 06:16 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
azcanyon Offline
member

Registered: 07/12/04
Posts: 264
A couple thoughts, scottyb...

I think you will likely be capable of hauling your own pack out of the canyon. You'll want to pack relatively light anyway. It's different than backpacking and very plush in terms of food, drink, etc., but most of the heavy gear is group stuff, and your personal stuff can be reasonably light if you check around and follow the outfitters general suggestions.

On the other hand, if you have anxiety about your ability to do the Bright Angel hike comfortably, you should inquire further about the duffle service. You are right that the boat will drop you off at Pipe Creek, which makes sense for walking, but the boats will pass by Phantom. Honestly, the logistics of getting someone's gear to the stables are not that difficult.

It's your trip, and I assume you've paid good money for it. Don't let them bully you into an option you don't want.

I sure you'll have a great trip in any case!

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#99412 - 07/15/08 09:57 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
BobEFord Offline
member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 72
Loc: SE AZ
Once you get on your trip, try slipping your swamper some bucks to get your stuff hauled to the end and shipped to you.

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#99413 - 07/15/08 10:35 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: azcanyon]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Sounds like you are pretty familiar with the canyon. I'm sure that I could find a way to get my gear hauled out if I really wanted to and I appreciate the suggestions. However, I have taken this on as a challenge, both physically and mentally. It has given me a goal for which I have been working toward faithfully and passionately for the last 6 months. My long range goal, after this trip is to sustain this level and plan another trip to set another goal. I'm already thinking about the Lower Canyon trip that specializes in extensive hiking.

I have streamlined my gear and clothing to their suggested levels. The first thing to go was the DSLR, strobe, batteries, and lenses @ 10 lbs with no waterproof provision. I have scaled down to an acceptable P&S, and due to wet conditions, an underwater housing to protect it. It will become my backup dive camera after this trip, unless my wife latches onto it to replace her u/w camera. All totalled, camera, housing, batteries, etc. are at 3 Lbs.

It looks like my grand total to pack out, less water, will be under 15 Lbs. I have now worked up to 30 lbs (24lbs + 3L water) on my workouts, 3 times / week. There are some really killer hills around Austin but 400-500 VF is about it. Enchanted Rock, mentioned earlier is about 800 VF.
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#99414 - 07/15/08 07:22 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
BobEFord Offline
member

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 72
Loc: SE AZ
That sounds really manageable for weight. At least you won't be packing out your own personal pfd, dry bags and ammo can with junk - that can get pretty heavy.
Be prepared for it to possibly be horribly hot at the bottom in August, but as stated the Bright Angel Trail is not super steep overall and it will be cooler up higher. The steepest stretches on the trail are probably not much more than 500 vertical continuous anyway and there are basically three of those, so just do you hills more than once. It is a fantastic trip and talk of the hike out is overdone.

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#99415 - 07/16/08 07:37 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
indyrednek Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/29/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Ahwatukee, AZ
I too am hiking the canyon in August.
North Rim to South Rim mid August.
As far as underwear chaffing, I use:
http://www.rei.com/product/694431
They are pricey but are worth it.
I rode 3000 miles across I-10 last month on my motorcycle to try them.
When I got home I bought 2 more.
I also cut the liners out of my shorts.
The hike should be fun. It will be hot and 2 ltr of water should get you to the next water stop.
Some other items to bring for the hike is jerky and other snacks.
Take your time and don't try to be the Tough Guy and run it.
With you bringing a camera it will make you slow down a bit which is good.
August can be hot exceeding 110-115. Just remember to hydrate and salt tab or salted snacks. Not too much though.
BTW when are you dropped off to hike out?
Have fun.

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#99416 - 07/16/08 10:05 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: indyrednek]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
We leave Lee's Ferry on 8/23 and hike out on 8/28.

I know a few people that have done rim to rim. Where are you camping and how are you getting back to / from your car?
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#99417 - 07/16/08 11:14 AM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
indyrednek Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/29/08
Posts: 10
Loc: Ahwatukee, AZ
We leave N rim on 8/17 to Cottonwood
8/18 Cottonwood to Phantom
8/19 Phantom to Indian Springs
8/20 Indian Springs to S Rim
What is great I will have my DSLR and it is full moon that week and my B-day on 8/17. Fiance is trying to figure what to take. It may only be a cupcake.
At the pace we are going we will be done hiking by 11am. We can take exploration hikes and pics the rest of the day.

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#99418 - 07/16/08 02:07 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: indyrednek]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
That's pretty cool, another August BD. Mine is the day we start and My brother-in-law's, that is going, is during the trip. This whole trip started because it's my Big Five-O. The wives are picking us up at the south rim and we are heading to Sedona for Labor Day weekend.
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#99419 - 07/16/08 05:32 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: scottyb]
6brnorma Offline
member

Registered: 05/11/05
Posts: 252
Loc: Arizona
That makes at least three of us on this board with 8/17 BDs

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#99420 - 07/16/08 06:19 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: 6brnorma]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Let's hear it for 8/17 birthdays! Yee Haw!

I've run into a few 8/17s since starting to work in the Emergency Room. At least one co-worker, and several patients. None yet with the same birth-year as me (1965).

MNS
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#99421 - 07/16/08 07:53 PM Re: Desert Hiking and Training [Re: midnightsun03]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
I have heard statistically, there are more BD's in August than any month. Must be something about November. MNS, I lived in AK for my 20th.
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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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