Hunting Fitness Alternatives

Steven’s been running.

As his friend, this worries me. It’s out of character. And arriving as it does hot on the heels of his move to Bozeman, I can’t help but wonder what other lifestyle shifts I’ve missed. Does he do hot yoga now too? Has he retained a veterinary herbalist for the dogs? Is there a stand-up paddleboard in the new garage? A wheatgrass juicer in the kitchen?

As the guy joining him shortly on a backcountry elk hunt, it worries me even more. The idea of (hopefully) schlepping hundreds of pounds of meat to the trailhead from a remote backpack camp deep in bear country initially gave me pause. I’m not, after all, the physical specimen I once was. Steven and his (famously tough) old man managed fine last year though, and with only three good knees between them. Surely I’m up to the task, I reasoned. What’s a little adversity in that face of adventure?

But now I learn that, having made the trek once, Steven feels compelled to train before round two. That’s not encouraging. The last thing I trained for was a bacon marathon (26 straight meals involving cured pork belly). And I trained hard, no specialized footwear required.

What to do? I should probably squeeze as much fitness work as possible into the few days I have left. But, you don’t switch horses mid-race. Nope, I’m sticking with bacon.

Luckily, I have a lot of experience surviving expeditions I should probably never have started in the first place. Here’s some unsolicited advice on how you too can make it from the couch, to camp, and back again in one piece.

  1. Slow is for suckers. The faster you get to the truck, the sooner you put down the pack and pick-up the cold beer. Tell your spinning head, burning lungs and screaming joints to shut-up, and keep on truckin’. Could such tactics result in injury? Yep, in fact, it’s quite likely. But do you want to drop that pack or not?
  1. Puking is perfectly acceptable, provided you move a discrete distance from the trail, and bury the results. Quitting is not. I learned a lot of valuable life skills as an athlete. The ‘boot and rally’ may be tops among them.
  1. Suffering is inevitable in this life. Do it in silence.
  1. Remember, pain is temporary, memories are forever, and scars come with good stories.

Now wash down that bacon with another beer and get some rest. You’ve got a big fall ahead of you.






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