Physical preparations for the hike went quickly off the rails. I stayed in shape all winter by running but had done little hiking. My plan was to train by adding twice a week hikes up Grotto Mt with a 50lbs pack starting at the beginning of April. The day I intended to start training I was diagnosed with Covid 19. I had sore throat, cough and a headache for a few days but by day four my symptoms cleared up. While my illness cleared up quickly I was concerned for any long term effect I may have from Covid. I started back running very easy and everything felt fine. I finally got around to beginning my training hikes at the beginning of May a full four weeks behind schedule.
I did not feel very good following my first trip up Grotto. Needless to say I was not in very good hiking shape and was well behind the fitness level I had in 2020. As May progressed I continued with my hikes but I was very concerned about my fitness. My training took a further hit due to the thick smoke that blanketed the Bow Valley for much of the summer. I lost two backpacking trips due to the smoke. The first trip was to Red Deer Lakes with Ken (fellow teacher I have done several trips with) and the second trip was my annual backcountry trip with Laura which was to be three days on the Iceline in Yoho NP.
My fitness did come around. While I may not have been in as good as shape as the previous year I was fairly happy with my conditioning just prior to leaving for Section D.