Sunday, April 3, 2011

Walk Up Palm Springs Tram Road Today - Windy, Sunny, Warm and Beautiful

By Keith Brock
April 2, 2011

Training for a 2,000 plus mile hike with 30 to 40 pounds on your back is a daunting task - especially when you start off with a goal of losing 100 lbs of love handles to get to your hiking weight. The weight is coming off in spits and spurts. I drop five pounds quickly and then plateau for awhile before the next pounds melt off. It helps to work out a minimum of six, and sometimes seven days a week.

Today, a beautiful sunny day in the Coachella Valley, found me hiking up the Tram Road to condition my legs and my endurance. I packed a light 10 pound pack on my back to start getting used to the chaffing and the weight on my back and shoulders. It really does make a big difference - just ten pounds. Considering I have lost 30 pounds since starting this endeavor in December, I really should have 20 more pounds on my back. I hope that shedding 100 pounds will make carrying 40 on my back seem much easier.

Anyone who has walked the Tram Road knows the sign that tells you to turn off your air-conditioning means this is no pick-nick walk. At Highway 111 the altitude is about 90' I believe. Four miles later you are at over 2,600 feet, or a half mile up, and the hardest and most difficult part of the entire climb is in the last mile. It's funny watching the visitors, who must park below the Tram in the parking lot below, try to walk up the steep grade to get to the Tram. You want to grab on to cars and pull yourself up.

My goal was to walk from the bottom to the top, but things didn't work out as planned. I did end up walking two miles up and two back down, or a total of four miles. My wonderful friend, companion and spouse walked up the first mile with me and turned back. At approximately the two mile mark my cell phone rang: "Guess what! I don't have the truck keys!" she said. Well, that was that. Though there is a visitor center at the entrance of Palm Springs at the base of the Tramway Road, I wasn't going to make her wait until I walked all the way to the top, and then back down another four miles. Alas, I turned around and met her walking back up the steep road and we walked back down together. She got more of a workout then she thought, but walking up twice, and everything worked out fine.

Tomorrow is another day and because the heat is starting to creep back through the pass into the valley, I will get up early in the morning before the heat hits the hardest and walk all the way to the top and back down. If you don't first succeed, try, try again!

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