Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hiking Update: Still working on accomplishing 20-miler

I recently relocated to Philadelphia from Albuquerque, and while the hiking offers little in comparison to the mountains of the Southwest there are still many excellent opportunities to explore. Just this week I did a five-mile hike a section of the Orange Trial in the Wissahickon Gorge, located in northwest Philly. In the morning I will return to hike the trail's entirety, which is about seven miles*. And I will be paying close attention to time as I hike the gorge tomorrow as I'm still seeking a 20-mile route to finally complete the last requirement of the Boy Scouts Hiking Merit Badge.

Training hike along Wissahickon Gorge Orange Trail, east of Lincoln Drive
Those who follow this blog may have noticed that I've already outlined a couple of options along the way for my 20-miler - one, an urban hike in Albuquerque, and the other, a wilderness hike in the San Jacinto Mountains of Southern California. Unfortunately, I did not accomplish those plans. The hike in Albuquerque didn't happen as a result of the dangerous pedestrian conditions the city has become notorious for, while the San Jacinto hike was scrapped after I did the upper portion of the trail and realized degree of difficulty would be an impediment to its safe completion, especially considering my current weight, still dangerously in the obesity zone.

I'm still researching options, but what I'm thinking I may do for the 20-mile hike is to hike from downtown Philadelphia through Fairmount Park East and into the gorge, doing a loop of the Orange and Yellow trails, then returning to Philadelphia via Fairmount Park West. I don't have an exact plan yet, but I will be posting one sometime during the next month as I continue to lose weight and train.

Over the winter I packed on 20 extra pounds, and I will need to take that weight off before considering such a long hike. In fact, my goal is to get my weight down below 260 pounds again. After losing 165 pounds a couple of years ago I made it to 255 pounds before slowly putting on weight again. Now I weigh between 280 and 290 pounds, and I have recommitted myself to achieving my goal of overcoming obesity by achieving a weight of less than 227 pounds.

Thanks for reading this blog and my two related blogs, MyFitLife2Day and HikeyHikey. Also, I welcome and invite all your comments. Either leave a comment below or Tweet me @MyFitLife2Day.

*NOTE: To reach the start of the Orange Trail for tomorrow's training hike I'll take the Broad Street Subway from South Philadelphia to Olney Transportation Center in North Philadelphia, a 30-minute ride. From Olney I will transfer to the L Bus, which heads west toward Plymouth Meeting, and I'll get off at Germantown Pike and Northwestern Avenue. The trailhead is just beyond the southeast side of the bridge that crosses over the Wissahickon Creek on Germantown Pike, east of Harpers Meadow and Dewees Rock. I'll hike the entire Orange Trail, including the old section on the east side of Lincoln Drive, which ends somewhere under the rail bridge along Ridge Avenue. At this point I'll catch the 27 bus back to the Broad Street line.