Thursday, June 12, 2008

Parched - longest training walk May 25th

Although I have been continually training (it is a part of life now) since spring 2006, I officially began to take the extended hike I will do this September seriously this month. I had already begun to incorporate some longer hikes (2 hours) about once a week for the past couple months but I officially did my longest training hike for the year on May 25th (2 hours and 40 minutes).

The day was pretty warm (like summer unlike now where the daily temp has been in the 50s) and the dogs and I headed out to the Snoqualmie Trail where I will be doing my hike. I have only covered portions of the north trail for about 12 miles so I started out on the section where I had left off on my last 2 hour jaunt.

Now I had never been on this central/southern part of the trail so I had come unprepared for the dogs. In the sections traveling through Duvall and Carnation the trail meanders through the low valley where it passes by ponds, creeks, and rivers where water is assessible. I have not needed to carry water for the dogs since the years before I lost my balance when we would go on a long day hikes in the mountains. As such, I have fallen out of practice carrying water for them.

To my surprise, this section of the trail climbed higher in elevation and on to a ridge where it was dry and water was too far down to safely reach. Now it would not have been terribly bad if the weather were cooler and puddles from the rain had been left behind. However, the weather was hot enough for me to be warm in a moisture wicking tank top and shorts. Imagine having to wear a fur coat and temperatures like that! Further, the unusual warm spell dried up any puddles the could be left around. The following is my experience I wrote to a friend in a letter. I will definitely need to keep this in mind for future hikes and into the summer.

"Today the dogs and I walked for 2 hours and 40 minutes. I figure we only went about 9 miles though as I had to stop to give them rests and try to find water. I did a really stupid thing which I don't think I have ever done before. I did not carry water for the dogs. I used to carry a 2 liter bottle for them when I was an avid hiker. Since losing my balance I have not gone on those kind of hikes with them nor gone for that length of time. It got hot here too which was fine for me with a cool moisure wicking tank and light material hiking shorts but not for them with big fur coats. It was at least mostly shaded on our path and higher in elevation so it was slightly cooler. Anyhow, on the northern portions of the trail it is in the lower valley and next to several sources of water. The portion we went on today traversed high up and away from any sources of water. I was hoping we would cross a river or creek but when we did it was a trestle at least 150 feet high! There was no way we could make it safely down the steep embankment.

So we kept walking and I thought I would surely see something but the trail continued going up along this ridge.I felt so horrible! It would be like having an infant and forgetting to feed him for a day! I was worried they were going to get dehydrated and Katie gets hotter than Jake. There were several times that we stopped and she just lied down and we needed to give her a break. It had been just over an hour of fast pace walking in 70 degree weather since they last had a small drink at the truck.

I thought "God please let us find some water." I had my own squirt type water bottle but no method to give it to them. I tried squirting them in the mouth but that was unsuccessful as they closed their mouth and looked away. (My dogs don't like being squirted and hide under the deck when I am watering the flowers.)

It was clear we were not getting close to any water so we turned around. Then finally we came upon a puddle from the rain yesterday that I had not see before. I was not too crazy about them drinking from it but it was more fresh than stagnant pond water. Further on down the trail I spotted a creek with running water down a type of gulley with a side trail accessing it that we could both make it down. Phew!"

No comments: