Posts Tagged ‘Outdoor activities’

Are You Experienced???

May 17, 2011

Are you experienced?

Not long after I moved to Phoenix and joined those who would climb the local mountains, did I find myself remarking about other “novice” hikers. You know what I mean. When you see the helicopters circling Camelback or Piestewa Peak Mountains don’t you knee jerk in thought and say to yourself, “dumb tourist” or “first time hiker” almost in disgust?

Last October I was running the “Camelback Loop”. (run from one parking area to the other and then up one side of the mountain and down the other to the original spot where we began). It was a great day for me. Everything felt really good. I was on FIRE! Once on the mountain especially as I was coming down, dodging hikers, wondering why they were in my way. A stumble here and a stumble there but recovering every time. I was the King!…..Until about 10 yards from the end. I dodged around the last hiker, and my right foot caught a rock. When I pushed off of another with my left I heard my hamstring pop and I landed hard off trail. It took about 20 minutes for me to get up and limp away. Aggressive Physical Therapy for the next week allowed me to walk upright again. It would be another month before I could hike and a second month before I could run again.

Are you experienced?

In the past couple of months the news has been sprinkled with athletic tragedy. Sally Meyerhoff an experienced and accomplished athlete lost her life while biking. Clint McHale lost his while rock climbing at Camelback Mountain.

There are simple rules of the road to follow when biking and running on the streets. Wheels go with wheels (in other words, bikes should be riding in the same direction as cars) and runners should be running, facing traffic. Stop at traffic signs. These should be easy to follow yet we still find situations where we choose to play with the “edge” and push ourselves into danger zones.

What is it in our mind set that allows us to push the edge no matter the consequence but then fault others as if we should be immune to the same scrutiny? Is it that magical line that takes us from safety to danger that is alluring?  Is it in the name of that higher level of competition that we play with this?

I’m certainly not sure of the answers. But I am very aware of the fact that it could be me or any one of us that could be getting a free helicopter ride off the mountain. I have often been heard to say during training sessions “you have to train so that you can train another day”.

I certainly do not want to hear your name in the news tomorrow. And I have no intent in you hearing mine. Please be careful. Enjoy this environment that we live and play in. And respect it as well.

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Traveling To Unknown Parts

September 13, 2009

Next weekend I’m going to be in Asheville NC. I’ve never been there, but I have seen the town and area written up in many magazines. In fact it has been listed by Outside magazine as one of their “Best Outside Towns”. And Backpacker magazine just listed it as a “Best City To Raise An Outdoor Kid”.

Asheville is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is just hours from the Great Smokies and the Pisgah National Forest with 950 miles of trails, waterfalls and backcountry camping. My time is limited. I’m only going to be there for a day and a half.

So what do you do when you’re unfamiliar with an area but want to get the most from your trip? The internet can be an amazing tool for such a task.

When booking air fare and hotel I recommend This website gathers prices from the major travel “discount” sites. These include quotes from Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline and So you can comparison shop.

As far as outside activities I go to Outside magazine’s site, They keep an archive of their past articles and I can find plenty of information from where to get a good breakfast to who I should rent a mountain bike from. I really like Backpacker’s You plug in the city you’re going to and they present you with a topographical map of the area and show you where to find hikes of various levels of difficulty. They also include descriptions of the hike. All of his can be downloaded to your 3G iPhone, GPS phone or computer. You can also e-mail the information to yourself or your friends.

If you’re feeling exotic and traveling outside of the country a great site to visit is This site includes trips to Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest. Heck, a guy can dream can’t he?

So what do you do to prepare for a trip? Do you plan every detail out? Or do you throw caution to the wind and rely on instinct when you arrive at your destination?

In a future post I’ll let you know how our trip went. But always remember for more Health & Fitness information visit our ongoing blog at