June 23rd is the longest weekend day of the year. So, I suggested we celebrate with an all day hike on a portion of the Horse-Shoe Trail that has been designated a National Recreation Trail (NRT). It's a section I've hiked before (parts of it more than once) It's beautiful. It's also hilly and rocky. The Appalachian Trail thru hikers don't refer to PA as Rocksylvania for nothing.
I've determined we should prepare for a 12 hour day on our feet. I go back and forth on this quite a bit. We could plow through much faster than that. But that's kinda the point, I don't want to plow through. I want to explore and enjoy the beauty of the trail; take photos; stop for an extended refueling break about halfway and through it all not feel like we have to race the sun to finish, The rocks, the hills and the tendency for June to throw us a heat wave all support the 12 hour guesstimate. Better to be prepared for longer and go shorter than the other way around, right? And if nothing else, we will have fun getting back in moving and smiling shape.
I'm making the training up as I go along. One week for time; the next week we complete a loop or shuttle hike and go till we are finished. I'd like to grow our time by one hour every other week and in between go for routes in that will add terrain and hills for time that approximates the time we spent the week before. Likely taking a drop back week or two here and there. As long as we have fun doing this - as long as we can keep smiling and moving - it's all good.
So today was training hike #1. We walked for two hours along the Perkiomen Trail from Collegeville heading North. Our group mascot, Perki - named after this trail - came along too.
I set the alarm on my phone for one hour when we started off. When it went off we turned around. I'm happy to report that our return trip was 3 minutes faster. Of course it was a gorgeously sunny day, the trail is more or less flat and there was the promise of breakfast at the diner after. All good motivators.
Five us walked today. Me, Tootsie, Sara, Mike and Fitz. Some of the things we talked about - how not to celebrate St. Patrick's Day; food (there is always talk about food); a 16 seed (UMBC) beating a 1 seed (Virginia); how this trail seemed more hilly when we trained here for our marathon/half marathons; and cats vs dogs. We had to make way for large groups of runners; likely the cross country / track team from Perkiomen Valley High School. The geese and the woodpeckers made themselves heard throughout.
It was about 29 degrees when we started and about 35 when we finished. We will likely think fondly on this cold day as we get closer to June. I am pleased that my layers were almost perfect. I needed to take off gloves and open my jacket with about 20 minutes left but the rest of the time I was very comfortable.
Unfortunately I had to miss breakfast at the diner because Villanova's second round game was given a 12:10 p.m. start. I'm typing some of this during commercials. So, instead of diner breakfast I stopped for coffee and a sausage egg and cheese bagel from Wawa. It's all good.
Keep smiling Keep moving,