Now that the ski season has closed, what to do next.
Unless you spent a great deal of time on the slopes this year, you may find your legs get a little grumpy as you transition to hiking or biking.
Take this into account when you plan your spring adventures. The best thing is to start out on a relatively mild outing.
The difference between downhill skiing and hiking, as far as your legs are concerned, is that while skiing you probably didn’t carry much on your back. While your thighs get a workout, the way those muscles are used is what makes the transition somewhat interesting.
Your skis, boots, and poles do weigh a bit. You don’t walk up and down the trails with them though. When you get off the lift at the top of the trail, you glide down to the bottom.
Granted, you’re pumping up and down as you do so, but it’s isn’t the same as carrying the weight of your water, food, and emergency gear while hiking up and the down the trails during the rest of the year.
Taking an easy hike now just might let you know how much work you may or may not have to do on your overall fitness for the rest of the season.
Tackling Mt. Ralston or Mt. Tallac as your first hike of the season is best left to those who hike up through the winter snows with ski skins on their randonee or Telemark gear and then head downhill.
Where do you want to start? If you’ve truly not done much over the winter months, the best place to start is on a relatively flat trail, preferably one that has some bit of gentle climb to it. The El Dorado Trail in Placerville, both sides of it, are perfect for this.
The hike around Jenkinson Lake in Pollock Pines is a good spot too. You could go out to Ferrari Mill Road, just off Iron Mountain Road, a mile past the lake, and have a wonderful time working those legs out.
Head down El Dorado Hills and you’ll find walk paths along El Dorado Hills Boulevard. A little further down the hill is the American River Bike Trail, which you can access at several places in Folsom.
The trail has rolling ups and downs, and you can tailor your walk for time or distance. It’s a 36 mile stretch of paved trail that runs from downtown Sacramento to Beals Point. Folsom has quite a few more interconnected trails to wander about on too.
If you’d rather go up to Tahoe, the bike path that runs from Anderson’s Bike Rentals at 13th Street and Highway 89, and which meanders through the forest roughly parallel to Highway 89 (Emerald Bay Road), is about as nice as it gets. The trail ends about 3 miles later. It’s about 6 miles round trip. A very nice 6 miles.
These trails will get you started if you truly did nothing over the winter. The beauty of these is that you can walk as far as is comfortable, then turn around. The next time you head out, extend your walk. It won’t be long and you’ll be moving farther, at a steady clip.
You will also have started to build your stamina up for any longer hikes through the hiking season. Remember to wear your hiking boots, or whatever foot gear you plan to hike in. Put a few pounds of goodies, along with enough water for your hike, in your backpack. You want to start getting used to the routine before you head out to a much longer and more rigorous trek through the woods.
We’ll get to cycling next time. The muscles used to pedal, and what kind of bike you ride, are all part of the transition business.
All of this will get you outside, which is the place to be, especially in this gorgeous place where we all live. Get outside!