I told her of my new hiking shoes and my plan to increase my walking distances each week as well as eventually adding a backpack to prepare myself for the various national park hikes.
She mentioned that my training might be somewhat lacking because there are no hills in South Florida. That had not occurred to me before. No, not that there aren’t any hills, but that everywhere else in the U.S. there are.
Driving back after dropping her off at the end of the evening, I thought about that fatal flaw in my training and another “mistake” bubbled up. Down here, I’m probably about 3 inches above sea level. We have nice, thick, heavily oxygenated air.
I have heard many times how high altitudes have a debilitating effect on stamina. While I am not climbing any mountains, I expect Glacier National and Yellowstone are already pretty high up in altitude without having to be on an actual mountain.
Sure, I’ll be seeing a baseball game in Colorado, but climbing up the steps to my seat is probably not going to be as taxing as roaming around on the state park trails.
I’ll have to look it up to see if there’s special training to build up lung capacity. Perhaps I won’t even need it, after all, I can take as many breaks in my hiking as I need (there’s no clock ticking).
Still, I have to assume that combining hilly hikes with higher altitudes will add yet another new experience to look forward to on this journey.