*Home Blazing – not to be confused with “green blazing“…at home. Read on for an explanation.
Every since our plans to hike the CDT have been put on hold, the desire to continue our training (frankly any form of training) has been a struggle. In my last post for The Trek (Post-(poned) Trail Depression), I like many other intended 2020 thru-hikers have been fairly dismayed, if not depressed. Luckily our (my) pity party was relatively short lived…once I figured out what I was actually experiencing.
Since our (my) “enlightenment” we’ve gotten a bit creative with our training, and I have added the Strava app to my phone as a way to track our “Home Blazing” exploits.
During this whole COVID-19 thing, we never stopped hiking (except for that week it rained constantly). As I have stated before, we are blessed to have an expansive back country of hills within walking distance of our house. Normally we wander the designated trails and power company dirt roads. However, with the extensive (and unusual) rain we’ve had up until recently, traversing those trails were a no-go…unless of course you like walking in mud the consistency of moose snot. And if you can walk without skating, said mud will then cake up onto the bottoms of your soles till you feel like you are hiking in uneven platform shoes, and/or have made your own adobe brick. Not fun, and very annoying.
But even as the trails dried out, we were subjected to a yellow tunnel of mustard plant overgrowth, and the encroachment of other green grow-ey stuff. While beautiful, this meant (especially in these areas) that as we have entered “snake season”, our ability to avoid them became even more precarious.
Enter our latest term, “Home Blazing”, where we have created routes around our neighborhood streets.
This is not to be confused with the often distasteful term of “Yellow Blazing”, wherein in road walking is done to avoid hard trail miles, or even miles at all. We were trying to keep up with our mileage, if not increase it, to insure that our feet are going to be ready to thru-hike once this pandemic subsides sufficiently. We were not only prepping our feet, but our minds for the plethora of what is considered the “dreaded” road walking that makes up a good portion of the CDT. This road walking, mostly on cement sidewalks, is/was BRUTAL! In mapping out routes we turned to Google Earth. We found we could make loops and add hills without getting our feet muddy. But also on Google Earth we discovered that we may have discovered how to circumnavigate the perimeter of our city, and turn it into a unique challenge once the trails dried up, and the paths were “widened” of the encroached vegetation.
We broke the route into sections, to get a more accurate measure of the mileage and difficulty ( our trail “system” is devoid of switch-backs, and our city is anything but flat). A 6 mile section, even a 4 mile one will have you huffing and puffing. For those who are familiar with the first “dreaded climb” of the PCT out of Hauser Creek, it makes that look like a cake-walk, with a third of the elevation gain. To date we have completed and mapped all but two major sections of our intended “challenge”. One section, the beach route has finally opened, but we are waiting for the trails within San Onofre State Park to open up, to be able to complete this proposed “challenge”. Our goal is to complete it in one day, of which we expect it to be somewhere between 23-26 miles. We won’t truly know the actual mileage until we do it.
Some part of me hopes it is 26.2 miles, making it one “mean” marathon.