Trials and Trails on a Summer Day
Even on one of the most beautiful mornings of the year so far, the idea of lacing up my trail shoes and heading out with the dog is exhausting. Add in the fact that I’m five months pregnant, have a physical job already, it’s not even 7am yet and you get the picture.
I do rejoice in the fact that today I can wear shorts and a t-shirt instead of my usual walking outfit over the last few months which, even until last week, was tights, boots and a winter raincoat.
Well, I’ll tell you… those days are over! Maybe it’s because I leave my house and hit an immediate uphill climb as I walk up Mountain Highway in Lynn Valley, or more likely because it’s the first full day of summer, but it was hot. Like muggy, middle of summer, hot. At 7am! And quiet. So, so quiet. Once Miles (my ever-present forest companion) and I hit the entrance to the Baden Powell trail there was not a soul in sight. not even birds singing. Not a mounatin biker to be seen on any of the mounatin trails. And it was heaven.
And I wasn’t cursing my dog’s name anymore.
If you don’t have a dog trust me when I say that watching a dog free in the forest, leaping over logs and running with his tongue hanging out in pure joy, is one of life’s great pleasures. Their sheer agility and grace and athleticism is astonishing. My guy is just young and I keep an eagle eye on him to keep him close at hand should we run into wildlife or bikers or runners but even when he runs away at full speed, he already knows to stop and turn to find me, to look at me and check in. Never get too far away. It’s amazing to watch a puppy grow up and make these big dog decisions.
Today we decided to go west on the Baden Powell, towards Grouse Mountain. It starts off on a pretty steep set of stairs and it’s considered a “blue” level hike for intermediate users. The great thing about the trails on Fromme Mountain where I was is that they colour code the bike and hiking trails so you know what you are getting into. Just like a ski hill it runs green, blue and black. This section of the Baden Powell runs from Lynn Headwaters Park to Grouse Mountain a distance of about 10km one way. I was already one km in at least on the Old Grouse Mounatin Road at my entrance point but the whole section is fantastic. Challenging though and rugged in many places.
I only went a little ways in on the trail but have done it back and forth many times before (pre-pregnancy!) and it is a ways uphill before levelling out over and above several local neighbourhoods, and eventually crossing Mosquito Creek on your way west.
For a full description of this section of the Baden Powell go to www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/baden-powell-lynn-canyon-to-grouse.
The great thing is where I started there is a water dish for dogs and a faucet for humans. Which brings me to my next point and really what I learned today!
Hydration is key.
Whether for yourself, or your dog (very important!), water is a must. And I was carrying none. Fooled by the drizzly, cold weather lately I forgot the key ingredient to a comfortable and safe hike. Not smart! Being five months pregnant and hiking in the summer your water needs are even more immediate. According to the American Institute of Medicine, a pregnant woman needs 2.3 L on average a day of fluid. Now I include a glass of milk or real juice in this amount but think about needing that on any old day of your pregnancy then add muggy heat and an uphill walk. I have to stress I walked uphill slowly and took lots of breaks plus I am used to this kind of walking from way before I got pregnant. I was still out of breath in spots and had to stop. So I was, essentially, a total idiot not to have water with me. I also usually have a collapsible water container for my dog as well so now I know that comes with us at all times in my “hound bag”.
Dogs overheat just like humans and will often keep going way longer than they should if you don’t stop to let them drink!
So I will continue on to be as active as I can safely be during my pregnancy and I am happy that the trails are still in my reach (for now!) but I also can’t stress enough that there comes a time for everyone (not just the waddling mums-to-be) when maybe modification is key.
My advice today… more water, more stopping to take in the views, and more time in the forest. Oh yeah… and more summer!!