Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Leg cramps … a bummer if they occur while you are hiking. I’m not a Doctor…so see one if it really persists. I sometimes get a hamstring cramp about 2 am on the night after I hike Half Dome…I just whack it and rub it until it subsides. They are caused by dehydration, electrolyte depletion, poor conditioning or muscle fatigue. Basically overuse through repetitive motion. If you get cramps while hiking, maybe you didn’t prepare slowly by building up your distance and train well enough for the hike. Make sure you build up to the HD hike slowly…don’t push your body. It takes time to get into condition. Cramps usually go away on their own without treatment, but try these ideas. Stop hiking and rest for a while. Gently stretch and massage the cramping muscle. Hold the joint in a stretched position until the cramp stops. Warm up before exercise and stretch regularly after exercise. Try this: sit with one leg folded in and the other straight out, foot upright and toes and ankle relaxed. Lean forward slightly, touching the foot of the straightened leg. On the trail, I use my hiking poles as shown below to stretch the hamstrings.
Be careful to pull on the end of the pole/strap away from your body in case it slips. Also do stretches for your calves and quadriceps. Finally, be sure you put enough electrolytes in your water to replenish them. An elastic band might offer relief. Potassium will help too (found in an electrolyte mix). Bananas are a good source but you’d have to eat a whole bunch to make much difference. You can’t buy a bottle of potassium supllements. Turns out they can be toxic.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “This cat named Mickey came from out of town. He’s been spreadin’ this new dance all around. And in just a matter of a few days, this dance became the new teen craze. Do the monkey – Mickey’s Monkey.” – Smokey Robinson
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com