Saturday, March 1, 2014

Urban rucking for fun and fitness

One of the things I like to do is what I have come to call "Urban Rucking"...basically, hiking city streets while wearing a day pack or rucksack.

Using a city street map, I plan a route which will provide the distance and terrain [flat or hilly] I wish to walk, and also that will take me past interesting sights. I also usually plan a lunch stop at a park with meal preparation in the field using a gel stove. Recently a friend and I made a 2 mile cross-town ruck:

Starting the ruck
We parked a vehicle at our destination and then drove across town to our starting point. a hospital parking lot. His pack weighed 17 lbs. and mine about 15+ lbs. Shown here are the contents of my pack that day:
This was the load-out for this ruck, displayed on my
GRABBER "SPORTSMAN" model Space Blanket
[heavy duty, with sewn-in hood and glove corners].
We began by taking streets to an open space trail across a hilltop.  Once atop the hill we had a great view of the community below, and some volcanic peaks in the valley outside of town:

These volcanic peaks are around 1300' elevation.
When active they were many times that height.
This is all that remains.

We hiked down the hill and then passed over a bridge that crossed over the Union Pacific railroad tracks. This community was the last place in California to receive rail service, because it took many years to carve a road down the steep grade north of the city:

Railroad yard and depot

It was a warm day, so I made a hydration stop:

Mixing a hydration beverage
It was probably approaching a sunny 80 degrees. I had brought along a little 1 pint USAF pilot's flask [about $3.00] and mixed some sugar free Hawaiian Punch drink mix in. Really good stuff for little money. The flask is handy so you can keep your main reservoir pure.

Heading to the destination, we passed through neighborhoods and saw parts of town we'd never noticed while driving. Hiking [walking] allows you time to notice thing's you otherwise would not see. The final obstacle was to cross over the Highway 101 overpass to a shopping center where we'd earlier dropped our second vehicle. As we did so, I spotted this lone person sitting under a tree beside the Freeway below:

Homeless person encamped by Freeway

There was lots of cardboard pallets scattered around and you could tell a lot of homeless folk spend their nights and days there, probably because its near the shopping center and resources [I spotted a young woman coming down a trail with a little backpack. It's so sad to see how these folks live...exist really. It reminds me to be thankful for what I have...some have literally the clothes on their back and little more].

The entire hike took us about an hour and a quarter. Along the way we made a game of pointing out potential resources that would be useful in an earthquake or disaster scenario, were we suddenly cast into a survival situation, such as places one could seek warm shelter, obtain water, scrounge food, or potential tools like discarded water bottles.

The point is, you don't have to drive out into the country and find a woodland trail to get exercise, practice self-reliance skills, and see interesting sights. You can do all of that on the streets of your own community and don't have to spend gas money to get there.

Give Urban Rucking a try!


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