I'm worried. I can hike 10-14 mile day hikes with a 30lb pack on, but frankly I am out of shape. Please bare with my novel. Backstory:
In 2014 I moved to California. I got a job as a vet assistant full time, and a groom for a horse barn 2-3 days a week. I loved it. I was active and finally losing the weight I had packed on. I was 210lbs when I moved, and dropped 15 in probably the first 3 months.I was eating healthier, stopping after one serving. I was too active to sit at home and eat all day, haha. I was happier, more confident and felt like I was figuring myself out.
I started hiking more, something I had loved when I was a kid. Some of my best memories are of my dad taking me to the waterfall in Monrovia Canyon when I was younger. I started adding on miles as I became more fit. The weight continued to drop. I started running a few nights a week, a three mile loop in my neighborhood.
It got to the point where I was doing 10 mile day hikes close to my home on my days off, and more if possible. It was great! The weight kept coming off. At the height of my fitness level, I was a healthy, muscular (even if I still had some areas I wanted to improve) 165lbs. I remember going on my first multi day trip and my pack weighing 35 lbs and realizing I had carried that extra weight around for years, without a second thought. It was an epiphany for me. Until I broke my back.
In June of 2015 there was a stupid accident riding horses. Helpful hint, don't fall off a 16.2 thoroughbred at a full gallop down a hill. Involuntary dismount or not, I was pretty badly hurt. I could barely drive to work without my back spasming and being in pain. Backpacking seemed like a distant memory. I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to cover distance like I was, much less with a full pack.
I also switched jobs to a different vet clinic, as a receptionist and was wayyyy more sedentary. I couldn't ride. I couldn't hike. I couldn't run like I used to.I got depressed, I turned to food. Today I am presently 218lbs and hate it. I have very little stamina.
I told you that, to tell you this.
I am trying to hike on my days off, usually just a 7 mile up and down with some good hills by my home, but have only been able to squeeze in weekend trips 3 times in the last year. I did a trip with some fantastic ladies at San Bernardino peak and was exhausted. But I was able to summit the next morning, in icy/snow, and make the full descent and kept up. My legs were shaking at the end of it, but I made it. I did my first overnight solo up and down devils backbone at Mt. Baldy in SoCal and was wiped out when I reached the summit. In September I did an overnight at cottonwood lakes....and realized I get altitude sickness around 10,800 feet. Needless to say, I plan on taking elevation climbs painstakingly slow.
I realize I am not in the best shape. I still try to eat well, but I am staying off horses for the time being. I am trying to squeeze in hikes whenever I can, but have trouble with anything really over 10 miles right now. I have 3 months give or take before I set off for the PCT.
Is there hope that I will be able to work up to 15 mile days? 20 mile days? I just feel downtrodden and depressed. I feel like I'm counting myself out before I even start. Are there any "plus size" hikers out there? I feel like every hiker I see is way more ready fitness wise. I feel foolish. And yet I'm still hopeful. I need this. I need to prove to myself that I can make it. That I can push myself and rely on myself. That I'm capable. If I only make it 2,000 miles, 1,000 miles, or 500 miles, that's more than if I had just stayed home. That's more than if I never tried.
I just needed to express my anxiety that I have right now.
And on that note, time to pop in that Insanity workout and dream about being on the trail instead.
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