Is your New Year’s resolution for exercise already in a slump? Sick of the cold? Sick of work? Dreaming about the miraculous winding canyons, soft sand squeezing its way through your toes, and those peaceful, lovely moments spent with family and friends under the stars? Me too my friend, me too. In order to beat these winter blues, I’ve decided to turn my gym time into river season prep time and you can too! Whether or not you’re headed to the river this upcoming season, here’s how you can be there in a state of mind:
Head confidently over to the stair stepper. This machine is about to become your best friend because you will be able to complete the winding switchbacks of “The Doll’s House” or the Loop Hike in Cataract Canyon after spending time here. Imagine every single one of your 3,000 steps is taking you closer and closer to reaching that (literally) breathtaking vantage point.
Next, as you wander off to grab a kettle bell, just imagine the loud cry of “FIRELINE!!” from your favorite guide echoing through the canyon. Start swinging that kettle bell and just think of all those chairs, tents, and dry bags you’ll be tossing into camp. Remember that one person on your trip who packed about 50 pounds of gear? Yeah, me too. Good thing the kettle bell doesn’t weigh that much. While we are in camp, it is critical to know the location of the kitchen, your cot, and of course, the toilet. Need I say more? Whether you do weighted squats or body weight squats is up to you, just make sure you don’t let your imagination take you too far on this one. There are some things we prefer to stay in the canyon.
On your first river trip you may have seen some blisters pop up on your hands or felt a burning sensation through your arms and abs as you courageously paddled into yet another fierce rapid. This time, your hands, heart, and muscles will be ready. Set the rowing machine for 1000 meters and let the sweat dripping down your face turn into splashes from the mighty Colorado River. Close your eyes and just imagine getting through Wire Fence rapid in Desolation Canyon or Satan’s Gut in Cataract Canyon. Keep going! Just a little faster! Everyone else is depending on you!
The relief and happiness of rowing through a canyon safely combined with the excitement of having 20 new best friends is hard to beat. In my opinion, the best way to celebrate a successful run through the canyon (or a great workout at the gym) is with some cold chocolate milk. That perfect brown liquid hits your mouth and you can feel it delightfully splashing down. And then you realize that makes you think of the river too. If this type of thought is frequent, I think it’s time you head back to Moab. I will be waiting for you there!