Sunday, April 4, 2010

3 days and 60 miles with a loaded pack

It is with little in the way of surprise that I must report the outcome of this weekends hiking adventure as generally successful (1.5 days 31.8 miles) with a large helping of pain and failure On the list of failures:
  • Over packing
  • Feet / Foot care
  • Practice
  • Sunscreen (lack of)
  • Hydration
  • Scouting for the theoretical JFK 50
  • Still alive
  • Generally good time (ignoring the feet)
  • ~32 miles in 1.5 days
Chocolate Malt MilkshakeFood I packed way too much food, baking meat into bread seemed like such a good idea. The trial run went well but on the trail the amount consumed was less than expected and the results turned out dry. ~ 3,000 Cal (~1lb) of trail mix ... this seemed reasonable at the time but I never went into the bulk storage bag consuming only the 4 servings (640 cal , ~.25 lbs) in the ready access bag on my belt over 1.5 days. In retrospect this alone would have been good for ~1 day eating almost nothing else. ~1,250 Cal (~1lb) dehydrated fruit, see above. I did consume the two servings in the bag on my belt (~220 cal) ~9,700 Cal (~3.5 lbs) of meat roll (2 lbs flour, .5lb meat .5lb cheese, 0.11lb olive oil, water) without double checking my math (which I clearly didn't do before hand for weight or calorie density. Consumed ~3200 cal) ~1,100 Cal (~.6lb + ~1.5lb water) pre-mixed Hammer Perpetuem (Sitting in the fridge from last week, needed to be consumed) ~1560 Cal (~1lb) Perpetuem powder as emergency just add water food ~340 Cal (100g) Recoverite powder. Consumed ~170 Cal at end of day 1. Additionally, we had planned dinner in Sharpsburg Day 1, Lunch outside Boonsboro Day 2, Dinner at Gathland Day 2, Brunch Day 3 why did I take none of this into account when planning food? I have no idea. ~ 4.75/6.75 lbs of food that I did not consume. Had I not abandoned the hike I would have needed food for the rest of a day of hiking and breakfast the next day (at most one more day of food), fail. 2.5 miles before lunch on day 2 we stopped at an Ice Cream Parlor where I got a Chocolate Malt! Then at the Old South Mountain Inn a burger with great fries.
The Lisa Burger 
Why is it that I packed all this food again?

Almost Food Messkit: We had decided not to carry a stove. I was on the point on leaving this in the car but didn't. Other Some clothes and socks I didn't need but I would be hard pressed to not carry. e.g. warm layer I didn't end up needing but could have worn as it got cool Friday night. More selective reduction in medications/supplies and extras would have been warranted and probably would have saved at least a pound. BodyGlide is good on thighs. I think it is good on feet for hiking but I don't have enough of a sample size to tell. Failure Why didn't I put on more sunscreen Saturday morning? I don't know either, a bit of sunburn on the tops of my ears and backs of my hands (but really my ears) will teach me to reapply. The C&O Canal water pumps were all winterized. Including the mixed Perpetuem I started with ~.65 gallons of water (2L hydration bladder). More frequent water and better hydration is needed. When I thought about it I also took Hammer Endurolytes (~9 capsules in 1.5 days, not enough) Foot care, my feet are a wreck. Various sources talk of many reasons for blisters including dampness, fit and bad humors. Having recently run 20 miles in wet shoes without blisters I currently subscribe to the hydration and electrolyte imbalance results in swelling and swollen flesh is less able to support weight theory of blister formation (that and the wet sand in your shoe always causes blisters theory). I know I was dehydrated, I know I have a high sweat rate and dump a lot of sodium. 
Sweat Stained Pantsblistered feet 
Practice: I got my pack 4 days before the hike. While the fit seemed good and I have no pain other than my feet even with a pack weight of ~32 lbs (closer to 40 with food and full water, why I didn't weigh immediately before leaving I don't know).
  • More practice will likely result in better packing discipline.
  • Less weight will provide less load on the feet.
  • Shorter loaded practice hikes would likely have revealed problems with footwear, sock or whatever selection (as it is I don't know if this is an actual issue or not)
JFK 50: I still believe that I am not planning on doing (or even sending in an entry for the JFK 50) but I am entertaining the concept as a followup to the North Face 50K (or the NF 50K is a trial on ultra marathons after being asked if I wanted to do the JFK 50). I dropped off the hike after doing only the walk from Boonsboro to the AT, the very beginning (~2mi) of the JFK route so much for scouting. At this point I think there is not a single one of us who didn't learn something on this hike or come away unscathed. On the other hand we are all talking about what to do to make the next one better. The route from 0 - 31.8 Smugmug Photo Gallery

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