15. Trail Descriptions & Training Schedule
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Get Ready To Hike One Of The Most Beautiful Trails On Earth - Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii!
Plan to be on the trail for 7 - 9 Hours on Hike Day!
Our goal is to prepare you to meet the rigors that come with hiking the special nuances that not only make hiking in Waimea Canyon a challenge, but to overcome some of the mental and physical challenges that are typically a part of all iConquer series hikes with Team Diabetes.
Waimea Canyon - Kukui Trail
The physical demands of hiking in and out of Waimea Canyon are in stark contrast to those found in fitness walking or hiking on relatively flat terrain. The first portion of the adventure is in a forest that provides shade and a cool beginning to the hike. Weather permitting, the view from here is in a word, spectacular. Soon after, you begin the hike down the switchbacks on the trail open up to a much different environment. The shade trees turn into smaller and shorter trees and shrubs, and the ground underfoot becomes much more technical. At the same time, the trail becomes more obscure and steeper as it lowers into the canyon. It is here that you will be glad for the local
knowledge of an expert guide and also where you will begin to really appreciate the
training hikes that prepared you for this adventure. The trail in both directions is
in a word, steep!
Strong knees and shins along with fitting boots are a must. As you descend the
temperature can rise. As you take time to rest and enjoy the views, know that for
every step down, it will take an extra step on your way out. For each minute walked
in, it will take an extra half-minute to walk out. The hike down is hardest on lower
limbs, feet and back.The returning hike out will come when legs are most tired.
The atmosphere will become increasingly thinner as you near the top (the
average rim elevation is 3320 feet. There is 2520 feet of elevation change
from the rim to the river over a relatively short distance.
The walk up is hardest on your feet, legs, lungs and your mental toughness. Finally,
though you may have overcome the “intimidation” factor of taking the first actual
steps over the rim, as you hike down the steep walls, somewhere in your head your
minds eye will be on the rim. You will always be cognizant of the climb back out.
Believe it or not, it is a good thing. It will help you to not over extend yourself or burn
any excess energy going down. You'll need your reserve coming back up.
What Goes Down, Must Come Back UpUnder Your Own Power!
With that in mind, the best way for us to assure you that you will be safe and successful in your trail experience is to give you all the tools you will need to prepare and train! The first are the images in the slideshow on the first page of this site and in the photo gallery at the end. They should help you gain a healthy respect for the trail from where we start on the rim of Waimea Canyon, the trail underfoot, and the steepness of the hike in both directions.
Timed hike and YOUR adventure
Our adventure and hike in Waimea Canyon will be based upon several variables that will determine the amount of time we have to hike. As always, Team Diabetes hikes as a team. As you have read in other sections of this guide, we have planned for quicker paced hikers as well as for those who choose a slower or less demanding pace. As you train, it is up to you to decide which hike is best for you. Once you are on the trail, our actual hikes and distances will be determined by your guides. They, and they alone have prepared for the logistics of transportation, gauged the abilities and interests of the team, assessed the trail and weather conditions and have set a predetermined time to hike into and then out of the canyon. For your safety and the safety of the other team members, you will be required to turn around and stay with the team at all times. Our guides will not hike beyond the predetermined turnaround point, so please don't even ask.
Waimea Canyon Weather and Trail Conditions
Like all Team Diabetes adventures, safety is our highest priority. So NO one EVER hikes alone. Weather in Kauai, Hawaii and particularly in this canyon, can play a significant role in nearly every aspect of this hike. While we cannot foresee any circumstance where we will not be able to do this hike, please be aware that conditions of the day will determine exactly what our adventure together will be. There is a dry side and green side of Waimea Canyon. You will learn about each when you are there. However, for the sake of training there are two conditions that you should prepare for. Our hike will be on the dry side so the trail can be dry, dusty and the decomposing volcanic soils and small rocks can make it unstable and slick. If it does rain on our side, those conditions can turn to mud quickly and that will cause us to slow down considerably. Fog, heat and humidity are also significant factors so prepare for all conditions.
Recipe For Success
2 - 3 Liters of Water
Trail Snacks and Lunch
Deep Tread Hiking Boots
Getting Ready To Train - Run/Walk/Aerobics
We know that some of you are longtime runners, some of you prefer to walk for your daily fitness regime and still others prefer a combination of aerobic workouts and weight training in the gym. In training for our hike, all are great ways to prepare yourself so long as you actually get up, out and do them everyday. Consistency is the key.
Through our experience and in research over the last few years, we have learned that the single biggest challenge that most of our hike participants face is not just what to do, but rather to find the time, motivation and drive to stay active and train on a regular basis. If you follow the recommended schedule, Hike Day will be Day 71 of your consecutive days of walk training. So not only will you have Conquered The Canyon, but you will have started a daily fitness regime that can help you live healthier for the rest of your life.
Even if you are unable to take the time to fully follow the scheduled times/distances, make sure you walk at least 30 minutes everyday to keep the consistency part going. Once you reach 20 or 30 days in a row, you will be more highly motivated to keep it going, if for no other reason than to just avoid the dreaded "Day One" all over again.
Use these definitions in conjunction with the training schedule
With that in mind, we have "uncomplicated" our training recommendations so that it easier to follow and stick with for the next few months. Below are a few definitions that will help as you read the schedule and get started on it.
1. Run/Power Walk/Gym - This means exercising with a purpose for the time allotted. This is an aerobic exercise so if you are running or walking make sure you are building and maintaining a pace that gets your heart rate and respiration elevated. Keep it going during your entire workout.
2. Incline Walk - Walk uphill! It is as simple as that. 50% of your hike and 75% of your energy will be spent walking uphill. Much of it is very steep. For this exercise, stair climbers in the gym or stairs in a local building, staduim work really well.
3. Get your mind right! If you are not use to hiking DOWN hill first, then back up, try it. It has a different feel than loops or out and back activities. Have someone drop you off 3 or 4 kilometers downhill from your house with only your regular gear, water, a snack and your phone. Now walk home. Build this up until you are doing several a week until you can comfortably do 12 to 14k.
4. Hike (Sundays and Midweek) - Get out in nature and hike. The goal is for you to develop the dexterity, balance and stamina for walking on uneven, rocky and inconsistent surfaces and pitches that make up a forest or mountain trail.
5. Hike (Saturdays) - This hike should be something you set up that will challenge your strength, endurance, agility and motivation. It is meant to be a harder hike than the Sundayor midweek hikes and is designed to help you develop your sense of commitment to a longer hike. Remember, hiking down is optional. Hiking back up is mandatory. Approach these training hikes with that mindset.
6. Keep Your Walk Consistent - Walk (Week 10) - Just do a purposeful walk anywhere you can for 30 minutes each day. Home, work, airport - anywhere that is convenient. The key is to keep your consistency streak going!
As a general reminder, while you prepare yourself mentally and physically for the hike, keep in mind that unless you live in an area where the elevation is 3000' and in a rain forest on the side of a volcano, you can't fully duplicate the environment that you will experience in Hawaii. As we stated before, while you can never really know how the environment will effect you until you arrive in Kauai, you can increase your ability to cope with the added physical stress by increasing your endurance and lung capacity as you train. Below we have listed the general elevations you will experience during your adventure which we hope will help you more fully gain an appreciation for the difficulty and rigors of the hike.
"When you are moving your feet, look down!
When you are looking up, stand still!"
START WALKING RIGHT NOW!
That's Right. Put down your mouse, plug in your earbuds or grab a friend and go for a WALK!