|The Beaver Creek Watershed is one of the crown jewels of The Verde Valley.|
Second Chance Ranch is at the bottom of the yellow line--the TH is at the top.
After our pleasant excursion on The Highline Trail Thursday we talked around the campfire that night about "getting back in hiking shape." You know how those casual words are so easy to say during Happy Hour but not so easy to "walk the talk" in unforgiving light of the next day in the Real World.
Si 'twas with the Long Canyon Trail yesterday. After an indolent winter spent mostly in front of this computer, staring up at the steep trail felt none to inviting on a very warm first day of March. Anyway, we'd given ourselves March-ing orders so off we went straight into our ascent.
The trail is thankfully very short--at least the hill climb part of it is. It's perhaps a half of a mile. The reason it's a "work out trail" is that it gains 760 feet in that half-mile so it's an approximate 30 percent grade. Gravity is the key word here. Pushing a 65-year-old body up a steep slope defies the laws of gravity. Gravity would have us once again comfortably ensconced right here in our swivel chair at the internet's beck and call.
Alas, it was time to "walk the talk" yesterday so up we went, legs, thighs and lungs protesting mightily every step of the way.
"Back in the day" we've been able to propel our body mass index up this hill in the 23-24 minute range. Yesterday, we barely broke 30 minutes and were really huffing and puffing by the time the crest of the hill came none too soon.
As we stood sweating in the shade of a puny juniper tree, who should call by Dear Friend Gary. Gary wanted to do a work out on the Long Canyon Trail, too. Afterall, we'd talked about it just the night before at the campfire. I'd been th eone who invited him to hike with me. Ah, the foolishness of it all.
Soooo...that meant we gingerly descended the rock and mud strewn trail to meet Gary at the small parking. Yep, you guess it, up we went again. The first time I'd made it to the top without stopping. The second time? No way, no how. I make at least six short "catch my breath" stops. Gary's a hiking animal, of course, so he barely raised his pulse strolling up 760 feet.
Surprisingly we made it up in roughly 30 minutes again but it was much tougher for me than the first episode.
Gary carries all sorts of medical monitoring devices and his pulse didn't even crack 100 by the time we reached the top. In fact, shortly thereafter, his resting pulse was back to 67. You don't even want to know what MY pulse was after the second climb but at least it did come back to 107 after a breather at the top. Gary gently chided me about my oxygen level and offered to take my blood pressure but I politely declined the BP thing. There are some things a guy just doesn't need to know.
Soooo...what's on tap for this sunny Saturday? Yep, you guessed it--we're gonna "Get A Long" again. As much as we dearly dislike that steep hill, it's the best work out trail anywhere near our place. It's a mere 12 mile round trip to the trailhead. During the winter, the trail is too slick and muddy to use. However, now that Spring has Sprung, we really don't have a valid excuse to avoid our daily date with the Loooong Canyon Trail Hill. Hopefully, as we get back to the future, we can get our time back down under 30 minutes while keeping our pulse rate at a reasonable level.
The nothing like a steep hill to bring home the reality of what being "out of shape" is all about.
The little red "o's" mark the beginning and end of our workout. The trail itself continues for many miles.
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