Hiking Fitness by Melissa Ozbek, Author of 75 Great Hikes Seattle

Hiking Fitness by Melissa Ozbek Author of 75 Great Hikes Seattle 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being physically prepared for a hike is important to help you complete a hike safely, have more endurance, prevent injuries, and set yourself up to have a fun, successful hike. Maria Faires, RD (www.myactivenutrition.com), a personal trainer, outdoor fitness expert, registered dietitian, and active hiker, was kind enough to share some tips on hiking fitness below.

  • Be examined by a physician. Ask your physician about any special medical needs you might have or areas of concern. If you’re overweight, get the physician’s or a registered dietitian’s recommendation on how to lose weight through dieting and exercise.
  • Start with 20 minutes, 3x a week. Begin by walking, swimming, or biking for 20 minutes or more at least three to five times a week. Gradually increase your time and number of days to five times a week. Schedule a couple of five- to 10-mile day hikes. Gradually increase the weight of your backpack for even more benefits!
  • Take the stairs. If you don’t have a chance to hike outdoors as much as you’d like, find other options, like your gym, building, or neighborhood. Simply strap on a backpack for your next walk or carry a backpack while you’re on the treadmill or stairmaster. Gradually increase the incline of your treadmill walks to simulate hiking up rolling hills. Take the stairs during the day whenever possible: walking or running up and down them on a regular basis is terrific pre-trail training.
  • Add in strength training. Done properly, strength training challenges your other muscles by forcing them to adapt to the stress of the weights and become stronger (meaning they can help you to feel less worn out when you are hiking). For the greatest benefit, do a well-designed weight training program two to three times a week. Get a professional to teach you how to safely and effectively do strength training exercises. The muscle groups particularly important for hiking/climbing include the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors, adductors, the lower back, shoulders, rear delts, back, and calves. Add in the chest, biceps, triceps, and core too for a well-rounded program.
  • Stretch after your hike. Stretching will increase the range of movement in your joints. Stretch when your muscles are warm, either immediately after exercising or after a 5- 10 minute warm-up. Warm muscles will elongate more, i.e., the warm-up increases the elasticity of the muscle-tendon unit. Stretching when you are cold increases your risk of a pulled muscle.
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Camp Muir Mt. Rainier Day Hike Trip Report

Sunday 9-10-17 Jim and I hiked up to Camp Muir and had the most glorious alpine adventure!

This hike is a strenuous, yet rewarding, scenic ascent from the Mt. Rainier Paradise Visitor Center to the Camp Muir base camp for many Mount Rainier summit expeditions climbing The Ingraham Glacier/Disappointment Cleaver. Climbers usually hike to Camp Muir the day before they climb to rest and acclimate to the altitude, a little over 10,000 feet. I’ve done this hike countless times and this was Jim’s first. We have been hiking all summer and he was fit and ready!

“The trek to Camp Muir is exhilarating but is not a hike to be taken lightly. It’s tougher than it looks and the weather can change unexpectedly. This hike is only recommended for strong, experienced hikers, who are prepare.” ~VisitRainier.com

To make your trip safe and enjoyable follow these packing tips. 

I have some valuable tips for your Camp Muir Day Hike here.

Jim and I arrived at Paradise at 830am. Temps were in the low 60’s. I elected to wear shorts, a wicking tshirt followed by a wicking long sleeve, a down vest and a fleece jacket. After 10 minutes, I took off the vest and jacket.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got our early start and were on the trail by 9 a.m. About 5 minutes into our hike, some hikers stopped to alert us that a bear was right off the trail. We easily saw the large black bear stripping berries off low bushes. We observed and photographed him then moved as a group past and he lumbered off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hike to Camp Muir starts on the Skyline Trail at Paradise, the nine-mile round-trip rambles innocently through gorgeous meadows, scrambling chipmunks and lolling fat marmots before climbing the strenuous (always) snow covered steep 2.2 miles and 2,800 vertical feet up the Muir Snowfield. This Skyline alpine trail contrasts to the world of rocky outcropping and the snow and ice of the higher mountain. We lucked out and despite starting the hike out chilly and in the low clouds with no view of Mt. Rainier, the clouds disappeared as we gained elevation and the sky was blue and the mountain, beckoning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conditions for hiking in snow were perfect and there was a good track to follow and we found that we did not need traction devices called microspikes though we

 carried them.

We kept a steady pace with a few rests on one of the rock “islands” in the snowfield. While snacking, we took in the views of the mountain ahead and the Tatoosh range behind which were breathtaking.

It took us 4.5 hours until we could see Camp Muir in the distance. Those last thousand

 feet of the climb are the most difficult. The Muir Snowfield seems to stretch on forever before you see the buildings and when you do finally see Camp Muir, it looks closer than it is and feels like you’re making no progress at all as you climb. At this point we began the rest-step and pressure breathe to help to raise blood oxygen levels.

Once we got to Camp Muir, after 5 hours of steep hiking, we found it relatively quiet. There was a group of RMI climbers RMI just led up as we were climbing, a few day-hikers and a few men who were attempting the summit the next day. As we explored, I showed Jim the stone public bunkhouse, a bunk house for the RMI Guide Service clients to rest in, a NPS Ranger Hut, outhouses and typically dozens of tents set up between rock outcroppings; today only two. Jim and I took off our boots and had a snack. We lingered there in the sun for about an hour (temps in the low 70’s) enjoying the dramatic views from Muir that reach all the way to central Oregon on a clear day. We were able to see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.

On the way down, we decided to see how we were able to descend without microspikes. It turned out that he snow had softened enough that going down was as tiring as climbing up. The snow wasn’t soft enough to plunge-step and so struggled to keep our balance. Once we put on our microspikes it was easier. On the way down, we took advantage of some glissade chutes. (To glissade is to slide down the snow on your rear on a garbage sack). We had safe glissade conditions, speeds weren’t too fast and we had so much fun. Definitely the way to descend! What a wonderful day.

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Hiking Snack: Processed versus Real Food

Whether you are hiking or taking a snack to the office, choose real food not processed packaged foods.

Whole Wheat Tortilla with pesto and Swiss cheese, small amount of leftover chicken, banana, and a mandarin orange.

VERSUS

Protein Bar and 3 tablespoons trail mix.

Compare the nutrition of the snacks  in the table below.

For roughly the same amount of calories and protein, the real food snack provides more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber (12 g versus only 2 g). The real food meal is more nutrient dense. The real food meal provides more actual amount of food and will be more filling. The processed meal has more fat and sugars.

Foods
Calories
Carbs
Fat
Protein
Sugars
Fiber
1.5 oz. Chicken Breast
60
1g
1g
11g
0g
0g
1 Multi-grain Tortilla
150
23g
4g
4g
2g
5g
1.5 Tbsp Basil Pesto
66
2g
6g
1g
0g
1g
1 oz. Swiss Cheese
80
1g
6g
7g
0g
1g
1 Banana
105
27g
0g
1g
14g
3g
1 Cuties  Mandarin Oranges
40
8g
0g
1g
7g
2g
TOTAL:
501
62g
17g
25g
23g
12g

Foods
Calories
Carbs
Fat
Protein
Sugars
Fiber
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar
360
42g
13g
20g
31g
1g
3 Tbsp Kirkland Trail Mix
160
12g
10g
5g
9g
1g
TOTAL:
520
54g
23g
25g
40g
2g

 

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