Last Friday was the warmest day in my neck of the woods since November, so I did my first real practice walk. I was hoping to do 2 hours of walking, but ended up doing the 1.5 hour minimum I had set for myself. I’m still breaking in my boots (Merrell Sirens), and my feet started to hurt after about an hour.
Wearing my JanSport backback was predictably harsh on my trapezius muscles, but I don’t have a proper hiking backpack yet. I put a towel in the bottom of the backpack, added a 40 lb. kettlebell, and immediately removed the kettlebell after hefting the pack a foot off the ground. I wouldn’t have lasted ten minutes with that amount of weight and the poor weight distribution of the JanSport. I tried two 8 lb. weights, but that still seemed too heavy, so I settled on just one weight. I also packed 4 ounces of water, some kleenex, and my cell phone.
I live in a small city, so after only 20 minutes of walking I was completely out of town. I realized it had been a long time since my last walk in the country, and I enjoyed the solitude. My route was simple, roughly a large rectangle. I thought about many different things as I walked, and tried to imagine what the actual trek across North Dakota will be like.
This relatively short and easy practice walk only gave me a glimpse at what it will be like to walk 6-10 hours a day, but you have to start somewhere. The last thing I want is to put off my physical preparation until a couple weeks before the trip.