Trail Zealot

Colorado hiking, Appalachian Trail thru-hiking, and more...

March 20, 2020, 9:11 a.m.

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Took yesterday off because there was a ton of rain and snow flying, and I just wasn't feeling up to toughing it out. I justified it as coronavirus prevention to not weaken my immune system. Well, I had run for 6 days before that, so a day off was due anyway! I just didn't know it.

Went to another world today. Loaded up 10 L of water into my bigger pack, recruited murphy, and headed up the steepest trail I could think of. Surpised to see a few sets of footprints heading up already. I felt good, nothing really to report. I was dragging my ass uphill through deep powder with 25+ pounds on my back...how would I have known if I felt bad amidst all that noise? I was expecting snowfall totals similar to what we got in town. Not so. The morning hours in the valley were filled with rain. I guess all that time it was snowing on the foothills. Boy did it show. It kept increasing and increasing as I climbed. By the time I got to the ladder on Saddle Rock, it had gotten pretty hard to move through. I came out here seeking solitude, and boy did I find it. In contrast to reports I heard about Boulder's mountain parks being slammed for the past week+, not many people were looking to hike today!! And they were wise - it really was tough.
My reward came at the junction between Saddle Rock and EM Greenman. The only unbroken trail was the Greenman Trail to the summit, which does not allow dogs - the downhill trail was untouched! If I had fully realized how much snow was out there, I might have opted to head back the way I came. But I was up for a challenge, and an unbroken trail practically guarantees solitude. The snow was deep enough that I had to break trail for murph - she would quickly get tired when she led the way. To make her life easier, I decided to drag my feet and create a trench, rather than stomping with each step and making postholes. I'm not sure if she knew what a favor I was doing for her. Ungrateful. The general snow depth must have been close to my knee, less beneath trees, and sometimes up to my upper thigh in drifted areas. Creating a snow trough became part of my muscular endurance workout for the day. I was already carrying 22 lbs of water, why not make everything else hard too? It felt rewarding, and between the unbroken snowy trail and the dense cloud cover, I felt like I had left Boulder altogether. Not a bad feeling when we are limiting social contact by staying home most of the time!
This hike was what I needed. I feel a little bit reset. Murphy is sleeping SOUNDLY right now - zonked so hard she didn't even bother to bark at the people shoveling snow outside. She had to work so hard to plow through that snow. She essentially bunny hopped the whole way downhill!
How to quantify this effort? I have no idea. I already didn't know what to do with the extra weight on my back, and the snow makes it dang near impossible. It was hard, but I didn't really get super duper sweaty. My HR stayed pretty low as I kicked through the snow. I know it was muscularly hard, but I don't have a way to account for muscular work yet, outside of the general TSS stuff. Alls I know is, I was working hard to kick snow out of the way, like HARD, and my HR was in the recovery zone. Tricky tricky.