Take a (Day)Hike: Climbing Mountains Before Work

With my leave date edging closer and closer, I’ll take whatever hiking I can get.  I’ve recently taken to exploring every nook and cranny of my local state park, and this week I truly began seeing dividends in my hiking capability.


The Auger Hole Trail is notorious for steep grades.  When I worked at Gorges State Park it seemed so common to run into stories of people getting themselves stuck by sinking their vehicles in mud or sitting in one of the valleys because they couldn’t get enough traction to climb back out.  Come to think of it, I can hardly see how anyone manages to drive back there, but they often try.  This steepness made for some challenging walking, and I thought it best to base much of my remaining training time on them.

The Canebrake Trail leads straight down the mountain from top to the lake that sits in South Carolina.  I had thought tackling 11 miles before work may have been a little much, but it went incredibly well.  I not only made it down and back before work without any residual aches and pains the next day, but I had maintained a three mph pace with my pack loaded to baseweight.  I’m hoping not to necessarily get faster as my leave date approaches but instead to get stronger and maintain my health while putting in mileage.  I’m in the process of dialing in a morning stretch routine to keep me feeling good in the mornings while on trail, but I haven’t found anything that quite gets me feeling as fresh as I’d like.  Any suggestions?

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