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Re: [pct-l] Sprint and Burn equals stress and medications

Tom wrote:

>If you are a 5'-4" 50 year old woman you should not expect to hike the way
>Greg Hummel hiked 20 years ago.

Heck, the way I hiked isn't even considered fast these days.  With the
ultra light packs and 30 mile per day averages it puts my way to shame. 

I only walked more than 30 miles in one day twice, averaged about 25 miles
per day for about three weeks in southern Oregon and otherwise averaged 20
miles per day with the exception of the Sierras.  

I agree with Tom though, pushing 30 mile days must put a lot more stress on
you, mentally and physically.  The mental stress has already been discussed
as being intense.  This is strange, for although almost everyone agrees
that to long distance hike is mostly mental, don't we all go out there
seeking a mental break?  I believe that the mental stress is subtle and
accumulative.  Day after day, mile after mile, the quest to keep moving,
day on day on day of heat and little water, day on day of mosquitoes, snow,
rain, blisters, flies, etc.  Each one is stressful and builds up on you as
you go.  At some point you question if the continual endurance of these
tests is worth the perceived benefits of the hike. I asked myself this
question several times.  To me the answer was always yes, of course, for I
continued on. 

At the same time as this stress is slowly accumulating, other forms of
stress that we are normally accustomed to slowly decline.  The stresses of
driving to work every day, of work, of kids, or girl friends, wives, dogs,
horns, the evening news, Kosovo, credit card debt, the phone, the fax, the
pager, the answering machine . . .  This stress quickly dissipates and is
why I seek the mountains.  But the mountains aren't free, they carry their
own set of stresses.

I'd recommend 20 to 25 per day for a comfortable longer term goal.  Start
out slower, depending on your pre-hike condition, and build up to this.
The only reason to rush that I can see is to miss some of the front end
weather in the Sierras and rear end weather in the North Cascades (or vice
versa for southbounders).  The Sierras are beautiful any time of year, but
there is something special about being alone in them in the snow.  I would
not trade it for 30 mile days.  Start early April, prepare for snow in the
Sierras and enjoy a more casual pace.


Greg "Strider" Hummel

PS (IMIO =  In My Ignorant Opinion)
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