Let me introduce you to Alan and Deb… My younger brother and his lovely wife! They too are participating in this adventure, and hail from Iowa. This is a rare sighting of Iowans outside in the winter since the normal weather there is aptly described as “arctic!”
Anyhow, due to weather and work schedules they get to spend most of their time preparing at the gym. They have an impressive routine that includes 1 1/2 hours walking on the treadmill at 2.7 mph with an 11% incline… all while wearing hiking boots and wearing a 20 lb backpack!. Now you have to understand, both Alan and Deb are brilliant people and they have precisely calculated these speeds and inclines to closely simulate our Himalayan trekking experience. I am confident they will be well prepared.
Since Iowa is a pretty flat state, Alan and Deb don’t get too much variety on their outdoor hikes. Apparently they have two choices, each with their own hazards. Choice #1 is to hike amongst the endless corn fields of Iowa. This option comes with many hazards: Getting lost in a corn maze, getting flattened by an alien spaceship making a crop circle, getting sliced and diced by a John Deere combine, to name a few. Choice #2 is to hike on the local golf course where the typical hazards one experiences on a golf course are ever-present (i.e. water hazards and bunkers), and of course airborne hazards like errant golf balls (fore!) and clubs thrown in anger.
After some serious risk assessment, they have decided that the golf course is a more manageable risk, but it comes at the price of never-changing scenery. This quote from Alan after seeing some of the pictures from Karen’s hikes in Oregon says it all:
We had 29 golf holes of the exact same scenery yesterday. 9 miles.
Iowa Golf Course vs. Oregon vista…