runningWhen it comes to maintaining or improving your health and fitness, one of the best ways to stay motivated throughout the year is to enter upcoming walks, runs or triathlons, and train for them. It’s always fun to have that next big event to talk about and prepare for and it’s also helpful to know that you are not the only person out there training for this event.

However, if races just aren’t your thing or if training for the same types of events year after year is not appealing to you, I’d like to suggest two major hikes that will require at least 6 months of training: Hiking Cactus to Clouds and hiking Mt. Whitney in one day.

Both of these hikes require a full day and when I say “full day” I mean starting before sunrise and hopefully finishing by sundown. They will kick your butt and make you feel exhausted. At times you may even want to sit on the ground and cry. But, with proper training, the right food and lots of water you will eventually look back on your accomplishment with pride and a new found strength for future athletic, and life endeavors.

As for that sense of camaraderie that many people enjoy while participating in 10k’s, marathons or organized bike rides and swims, these two hikes will provide that and possibly more. Each time I have hiked Mt. Whitney or Cactus to Clouds I have experienced only the best in humanity. In fact, I think that is what continues to draw me back for more.

As we approach spring, I invite you to explore these options. You might hate me at mile 16 for suggesting this, but eventually (assuming you wear proper hiking boots and bring plenty of food and water) you will thank me for planting the seed!

Following is information about Cactus to Clouds and Mt. Whitney. For additional details and permit information click on the links provided. If you would like my personal review of either of these hikes or training tips please email me at leighann@52healthyweeks.com. I am happy to help.

Happy Hiking!

Cactus to Clouds
: This hike is 23 miles. You begin at the valley floor in Palm Springs and hike 17.5 miles to the top of San Jacinto which is at 10,804 feet. From there you will hike 5.5 miles back to the Palm Springs Tram which will take you back to the valley floor. Plan on leaving one car at the start of the trail and one car at the bottom of the tram. Assuming you have trained properly, your hike should take between 14 and 17 hours. For detailed information including permits go to Summit Post’s or DayHiker’s website .

Mt. Whitney in One Day
: This hike is 22 miles. You begin at 8,322 feet and hike up to 14,497 feet which is the highest point in the Continental United States. From there you turn around and take the same trail back to your starting point. The trailhead is located 13 miles east of Lone Pine which is off of Highway 395. (It takes about 5.5 hours to drive there from San Diego). For additional details and permit information go to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website.

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