It’s my third consecutive year of regular hiking, and it continues to be a key ingredient to some much needed balance in my life. This year’s daily average for mileage and steps, 3.5 miles per day or 8775 steps, is lower than the previous two; I averaged 4 miles per day in 2018 (9438 steps) and 3.8 miles in 2017 (9,127 steps).
On the other hand, this year saw an uptick in flights of stairs climbed, 35 flights per day in 2019 versus 33 flights in 2018 and 28 flights in 2017.
Numbers, numbers, numbers.
I think the key take away remains the same, regular hiking is good for mind, body, and soul. That said, some of the details are interesting to me. 2019 was kind of a break-out year for longer, more intense hikes. In March Antonella and I managed a 11-mile hike wherein we did a 1300 meter ascent, which remains the biggest ascent I have done to date.
And in August we did a 5-day tour de force through the Dolemiti, which was the most sustained hiking I’ve ever done. Averaging 10 miles a day over 4 or 5 days between 2000 and 3000 meters is no joke. In fact, after that hike I found my will to hike fell off quite a bit, not unlike in 1990 when my running fell off completely after finishing a marathon. Not sure if that’s a result of some kind of deflation after accomplishing something you’ve trained months for, but seems oddly counter-intuitive. The other factors this year that are worth noting are I travelled more in 2019 than any other year with the equivalent of four and a half full months on the road, and most of that Reclaim related. I enjoy the travel, but come late November, early December I was starting to feel it. Being on the road cuts into my hiking time, and that takes its toll. The other factor is that the original reason I even started hiking was to be in decent enough shape to snowboard, and I went snowboarding 10-12 times in 2019, which is awesome, and those days would have probably been spent hiking had I not been on the slopes. So, maybe that is another sign that the hiking is paying off.
Although, in the end the biggest motivator for my daily hikes are neither staying in shape nor snowboarding, but rather spending quality time with Duke. I know I’m getting over my travel lethargy when Duke and I get into a daily rhythm of 4 or 5 miles a day. He’s fun to clock time with, and one of the reasons I found I’ve blogged less these past few years is because hiking several miles a day (on top of pretending to be a dad and husband and running Reclaim) demands a lot of time, in my case hours of my day. I had to re-arrange my schedule to fit everything in, and that is a luxury I have truly relished with my shifted work hours and relative freedom. Plus, having a dog rules all, especially a tired one!