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Big Basin Rim Trail
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Carlos Figueroa
(cfigueroa) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz Area
Big Basin Rim Trail on 06/14/2009 11:44:06 MDT Print View

This trip report is being generated because I have had about half-a-dozen emails from BPLers about some of my routes that I use to train on in the Santa Cruz area (of California) and how I train for long continuous days of hiking. Since I teach at a college, during the summer months I have the opportunity to schedule in long training days only if I am home by 5:30 pm and have dinner ready (when my wife and kids arrive). Now that I have a good physical conditioning base to work off, I will start doing multi-day, continuous hiking of 30+ miles per day. If this is of interest to you I recommend that you see Mark Davis’ JMT fastpack trip report. I always use a 20-lb pack, I always shoot for about a 3.5 mile/hr pace and the plan is about 150 to 170 miles per week over the next two weeks.

The first of these day hikes is the Big Basin Rim Trail. The link is

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Fastpack Hiking Pace on 06/15/2009 08:30:23 MDT Print View


Are you running parts of the hike or are you a super fast walker?

Edited by asandh on 05/02/2010 23:34:50 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Big Basin Rim Trail on 06/15/2009 13:15:04 MDT Print View

Hey Carlos, I like your trip reports, beautiful area you have to hike in. What multiple day trips do you have planned in the near future? JMT? SHR? I'm curious what drives you to hike for 12 hours a day and at that pace besides the training element for your upcoming extended trips. Are you wanting to see more in less time, or break a personal record, or is it the physical endurance and mental challenges associated with those distances?

Carlos Figueroa
(cfigueroa) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz Area
Re: Fastpack Hike Pace on 06/16/2009 09:11:08 MDT Print View

Hi Art,
I do not run the trails unless I’m running late. If I run the trails I find that I do not recover very well for the next day and I struggle on the trails. This may sound silly but I swear that the key to my quick pace is my “Pacer Poles” as well as my good conditioning. I really have learned how to use them to constantly push me on my hikes and as a result move faster. My body seems to be able to handle very well sustained 3.5 mph pace and for extended times can even go faster at 4.0 mph on the flats. Furthermore, I love climbing and I have been told numerous times that I am an extremely good climber which saves a lot of time on hikes.

As for the elevation gains, I did do a lot of climbing (just like you are doing now) as part of my base training and did this for an extend time already. But I am now past that stage and my focus is on training for the long miles, as the trip reports indicate. This is more realistic of what I will encounter this summer when I start my week long trips.

Since I always wear a 20-lb pack, I never realize that it is on my back anymore. I never ever hike without it. If you never where a pack that you are going to have to adjust to the pack weight at sometime.

As for burnout, there are times when it occurs and I take the appropriate time off. About every 3 months, I take a week off and rest my body and mind. However, the outdoors is my lifestyle, a way of life for me. Although I call it training it is not training for me. It is who I am. I find that with my work schedule and family, if I do these kinds of things I am a much better professor, husband and father. I get all that “uneasiness” within me out and I am able to be completely present with my wife and kids, not have my mind wondering somewhere else.

Carlos Figueroa
(cfigueroa) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz Area
Re: Big Basin Rim Trail on 06/16/2009 10:22:50 MDT Print View

Thanks Eugene,
I do live in a beautiful area and I have about a dozens parks within an hours drive from my home. I am in the process of finishing up a couple more new trip reports that I hope to put out by the end of the week. Wait till you see some of these photos – its pretty amazing that it costs no money to do these hikes. The southwest desert is awesome – I was born in Deming NM and raised in Tucson AZ. I have hiked numerous Arizona trails and found it to be just as stunning.

I have two planned trips: (1) I will be doing an extend Tahoe Rim Trail that includes the Desolation forest and Granite Chief and (2) the Colorado Trail. It is the Colorado trail that has been pushing me for some time now but I have not been able to get two week of free time to do it. In mid August, I believe that I have finally been able to secure the time off. At the moment, I am not so sure because of an NSF grant meeting that I might have to attend in DC. I believe that I can get around it though – my fingers are crossed.

As to your question about what drives me, I really don’t know. I never attempt to break personal records – I find that it defeats the purpose of being outdoors for me. However, the physical endurance and mental challenges associated with those distances keeps my life into perspective. Sometimes I find that life (work, family, money…) is too much for me and over the top. There are many hikes that I tell myself at the beginning that this is crazy and doubt whether I can complete it or not, but somehow I raise up to the occasion and succeed. I guess it is this struggle that is the key. Afterwards, of course, I feel proud because I accomplished my goal but it’s deeper - everything seems better; the air tastes a little sweeter, the colors are a little brighter, and work seems easy. Everything that was challenging before just seems to be trivial and ordinary. On the other hand, the outdoors is my lifestyle, a way of life for me. Although I call it training it is not training for me, it is who I am. I guess it is really a combination of things.

Your question is deep Eugene! I can go on and on but I hopefully you get the point.