Dot to Trot

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2014 ‘Fatpacking’ Season Kicks Off With Raven Rocks Hike

I kicked off my 2014 fatpacking season at Raven Rocks. Here I'm resting after climbing 1530 ft to the top of the 2nd climb at Raven Rocks.

I kicked off my 2014 fatpacking season on Sunday. Here I’m resting after climbing 1530 ft to the top of the 2nd climb at Raven Rocks.

My husband and I love backpacking. We plan to do much more of it this year. Not only is it great exercise but it gets you outdoors to many beautiful locations. I’ve taken to calling it fatpacking as you burn off lots of fat and give your whole body an incredible workout.

To help us prepare for our fatpacking adventures, the hubby and I are launching into our day hikes — 2-4 hour hikes at nearby trails. These little day hikes prep us for the more challenging weekend trips where we carry a lot of gear — tent, sleeping bags, food, water, stove.

Yesterday was our first hiking trek of the season — Raven Rocks. We ended up hiking for nearly 3 hours. I was unable to do the full 5.4-mile trail. The hike includes 3 big climbs and 3 steep descents – in both directions. The largest vertical climb is 1530 feet. The smallest of the 3 big climbs is 1200 feet. I normally have to ease myself into a climb like this with more flat trails. But with the weight loss, my hubby convinced me to try something more challenging.

I shot up the first vertical climb with great ease. However, I didn’t pace myself. A rookie mistake.  I paid the price on the 2nd ascent — huffing, puffing and resting during the climb. I was so happy to make it to the top, until we started our steep, rocky descent to Raven Rocks Hallow Stream. As my ears started popping, I knew I was in for a rough climb on the 3rd hill.

We got about 3/4 of the way up the last climb before calling it quits. My legs were tired and I started stumbling too much. A sign of fatigue. I knew I needed what little energy I had left to make the two climbs to get back to my car.

I’m not disappointed we turned around. It was my first hike of the season, and the first time attempting something with so many steep climbs. But Raven Rocks is now on my radar and I’m determined to finish the hike when I revisit this trail later this summer.

A beautiful view of the Winchester Valley before descending to Raven Rocks Hallow Stream.

A beautiful view of the Winchester Valley before descending to Raven Rocks Hallow Stream.

The hubby and I did get off to a slow start yesterday. We hit the trail head a little late in the day and ended up hiking when the temperature hit over 80 degrees. Not hot by Virginia standards, but much hotter than I anticipated. Without much coverage from the trees (lots of buds but no leaves yet), the sun did beat down on us and we have the sunburns to prove it.

While we had plenty of water, I think I drank too little and dehydration set in. I ended up chugging a lot of clean, cold, high quality H2O when we got back to the car. I’m sure it would have helped my legs to pace my water intake better than I did. Lesson learned.

We ended up hiking over 4 miles and according to My Fitness Pal I burned an estimated 2,000 calories on my little excursion.

After a 3 hour hike, Five Guys bacon cheeseburger hit the spot. I treat myself to one of these puppies once a year. A good way to cap the first trek of my fatpacking season.

After a 3 hour hike, Five Guys bacon cheeseburger hit the spot. I treat myself to one of these puppies once a year. A good way to cap the first trek of my fatpacking season.

Starving after the hike, we ended up at Five Guys for the best damn burger in the world (no fries!) and water.

The hike was great, but what I loved was the hubby agreeing to a day hike every weekend (weather permitting). He is planning out next week’s trek to Great Falls.

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One thought on “2014 ‘Fatpacking’ Season Kicks Off With Raven Rocks Hike

  1. Pingback: Hiking Fest ’15 | Dot to Trot

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