Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New boots, and I'm geting antsy

I got a new pair of boots on Sunday and decided to break them in by wearing them to work yesterday. They seem OK, but there may be a problem with them that could end up causing some problems. They are Asolo Flame XTs, and they fit my foot very nicely, but they have one of those tongues that isn't separate, it's one of those ones that is connected to the boot by a "membrane". Well, when I fold the membrane in to tie the boots, it presses against my ankle bone. I think I'm going to give them another day at least before I take them back to REI. Thankfully REI has on of the best return policies out there, so it shouldn't be a problem is they don't work out.

I'm starting to get antsy about starting out on the project. Partially because I've gotten a lot of my gear, and every time I get into my closet and see them I want to put them to use already. There are two things keeping me from starting on it right now. The first is that I have been buying gear with the expectation of doing all of this in the summer, so my gear is not really set up for winter use. The other is winter; I don't like being cold. At all. So the thought of intentionally going outside and getting away from a nice warm building just isn't very appealing to me. And since I don't ski, or snowboard, or snowmachine, or ice skate, or ice fish, etc., I don't really have any of the right clothing for any winter activities. Nor do I have any experience in how to take care of myself outside in the winter.

I might go to Thuderbird Falls if the weather gets a little colder so that the trail freezes up and isn't slushy. I've done that one enough in the summer that I'm pretty sure that I won't have too many problems in the winter. Plus it's only about 2 miles, so that shouldn't be too bad.

Until next time...

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Numbers Behind the Project OR My Nerdiness

As I read through the book, I compiled a list of the numbers and statistics for each hike with the information provided by the authors, including elevation gain, difficulty (on a 1-4 scale), miles traveled(minimum and maximum) and expected time of each hike(also min. and max.), and where the trail head was located.

Then I went one step further and put it into a spreadsheet so I could play with the information as i wanted. I've just figured out that using their numbers, it will be between 504.75 and 655 miles when I'm done; as well as somewhere between 344 and 600 hours if I walk at their pace. Which, at my current level of fitness, I know I couldn't do.

Which brings up my health-iness. I know that I'm packing 20-30 lbs of extra weight, and I've led a fairly sedentary life for a few years neither of which is conducive to a massive physical undertaking. And so to that end I have joined a gym and have been doing 30-4- minutes on the elliptical at least 3 times a week to try and get my endurance up, and I have been dieting and eating better to try and get my weight down. I've got a few months before I'm planning to really hit the trails really hard, so hopefully I can get in better shape by then. Who knows, maybe a few winter hikes will help get me there a little quicker.

Though those numbers put the Chilkoot Trail that I'm planning for in September into a lot of perspective. If I get this Project done by then, the Chilkoot should be a walk in the park.

We shall see...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Project

So, a couple of years ago, I read "The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World" by A.J. Jacobs about a man who decided to read the Encyclopedia Britannica in a year and I thought now this was a man with way too much time on his hands. But I also admired the fact that he gave himself a goal and stuck to it until he completed it.

Then I watched the movie Julie and Julia, about a woman who cooked her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and then blogging about it.

Which got me to thinking about a Project(with a capital P) for myself. I could read the encyclopedia or cook everything in a cookbook, but those have already been done. Besides, I already know way to many facts about all kinds of stuff, and living in Alaska, getting all the ingredients for French cooking would cost a fortune.

Nope, I had to come up with something else. So then I thought, what does Alaska have? What does Anchorage have? Then one day I was looking at the sunrise over the Chugach mountains and thought, "well, there are some beautiful places in this state, like those mountains." And so I found the book "
50 Hikes in Alaska's Chugach State Park". Which it turns out was written by two guys I went to high school with.

And as I read it, I started to think that doing all of the hikes in that book would be a worthwhile project to do. It would be something not impossible, but a definite challenge. Hiking is something that I've always enjoyed, but never been seriously gung-ho about. So then I realized that I needed a deadline, and since a year worked for the two inspirations, I decided it would work for me also. Of course, I'm a bad Alaskan in that I don't like to be cold, so I'm really planning on doing these hikes between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Which comes down to about 2 hikes a week all summer long. Hmmmm. Maybe I could do a couple of shorter ones during the winter to get them out of the way.

Anyway, that's what this blog is about. I hope you enjoy taking my journey with me, whoever you are.