Saturday, January 23, 2010


California has been battered by powerful storms. It rained all week, flooded, toppled trees and did other damages. But there was a break today. It was sunny when I woke up. It's nice to see some blue sky after a whole week of gray. I took advantage of the weather and did my usual hiking to Mission Peak. This week I have returned to my work out routines to start my training for my next challenge: climb Mt McKinley or Denali (which appropriately means "The Great One").

I donned my backpack which was pre-loaded before my trip to the South Pole, and brought one liter of water and of course some snacks. The backpack felt really heavy. I was a little concerned. I used to be able to carry my 40 lbs backpack to hike. I thought it could have been I did not carry heavy backpack for a while. I took it easy on my first trip back on the hill.

The trail was muddy but I was surprised to see it wasn't bad at all. Half of the trail was added gravel before the rain season. That helped a lot. I almost did not recognize the lush green grass covered hills. The hike was very pleasant, the weather was cool and the trail is green. On the way to the top, some people asked how heavy my backpack was. I said about 40 lbs as I remembered adding about that much weight before my trip. When I reached to the top, after munching on my snacks, I dumped 3 gallons of water to lighten up my load for descending.

I started to suspect something not right. My backpack was little larger than what I remembered. I checked the bottom compartment. It turned out I had two gallons of water there. It was a sweet surprise. I carried 5 gallons of water and other stuffs to Mission Peak without knowing it. No wonder it was heavier than usual. But I made it to the top without issue nor feeling exhausted. When I got back home and added back the same weight and step on the scale. It was 53 lbs! That is only a few pounds short to my target for Denali (57-60 lbs - roughly half of my weight!). Not too bad for the first day.

This is the benefit to go on such a hard core trip such as the ski to the South Pole. And I think I can get use to this new "normalcy", and must maintain it.

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