Back in the Saddle

So the last couple of weeks I’ve talked about adventures completed and adventures to come. I’m guessing you probably won’t realize how these two intersect… and it’s not in a good way.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve been seeing my posts about getting out on the trails, upping my pack weight, and upping my distance while enduring the July heat and humidity in Georgia in preparation for the Hell Hike and Raft. What is probably not obvious about it as that I’m coming at it from the worst fitness level I’ve stooped to in many years. And it’s a result of the Pacific Northwest Tour.

Coming off of the trip, I felt like crap. My energy level was in the toilet, my muscle mass deteriorated significantly, my cardio fitness was atrocious, and not to mention the very unfortunate weight gain… just ugh! On the trail yesterday with my dear friend Leslie, I confessed this and she was surprised. In her head, I was constantly out hiking and exploring and whatnot. Early on in the trip, that was certainly the case. But with Fred and George joining me two weeks in (they’re not huge hikers…) and the steady increase in the driving distance we were covering, the trip slowly slipped to lethargy and atrophy behind the wheel. Yes, we were still seeing and doing lots of things but they weren’t necessarily physically demanding.

By the time I returned home, I was a mess. I’m normally known for being the pack mule (Think “Give it to Val, she’ll carry it…”) but I struggled greatly with the post-trip process of hauling all the gear (including Blubaru’s roof box) back up to my 2nd floor loft. Normally this is nothing for me.

The toll of 48 days days on the road is a lot to overcome in the short time I have before the Hell Hike and Raft. But because I don’t want that trip to actually be hell, you better believe I’m upping my game. I’m making good progress but the struggle at middle age is more intense than ever. My body doesn’t bounce back like it used to and I have to be careful not to aggravate old (and not-so-old injuries) so it’s a delicate dance. Recent posts by Wilderness Dave, The Morning Fresh, and Landon Faulkner help me keep it in perspective so mad love to them for their insight and inspiration.

Here’s to getting back in the saddle because I’ve got a wild ride ahead…

I guess I should really say I’m getting back in the pack! Haven’t actually ridden a horse in years. 😉


  1. Oh lady I feel you! Letting “it” go and then trying to hop right back into the saddle is always a humbling and challenging experience – but you’re gonna rock it and be in total crusher mode by the time the trip comes around! Can’t wait to follow the journey.

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