This past September eight adventurous women took on the challenge of hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim as part of their journey of personal fitness and wellbeing. The two-day 26.2 mile hike involved over 5,800 feet of descent and 4,500 feet of elevation gain, while each person carried 25 pound backpacks along the way.
Many factors attributed to the overall success of the difficult hike, one being the excellent guidance of hike leader Dr. Pamela Peeke, a renowned nutrition, fitness and health expert. Dr. Peeke says, “This is when all of those hours you spent in the gym, or were physically active, really paid off. You need strong legs, great balance and flexibility, as well as mental and physical stamina and endurance, to survive this advanced hiking trek. Mind and body unite to allow you to thoroughly embrace and enjoy every single moment of the journey.”
Dermatologist Dr. Shanny Baughman also attributes her success to physically and mentally preparing. “I leapt at the chance to join Dr. Peeke and her “Peeke Performers” on this hike,” says Dr. Baughman. “After opening my derm office in October, 2008, my energy was all going into the practice. I was becoming the person I never wanted to be – middle-aged and out of shape. Well, I can only change one of those, and Pam has helped me do that. She has been counseling me to incorporate exercise into my daily routine.”
Dermatologist Dr. Baughman also brought her expertise in skin health to the group. “I had two concerns about the trip – 1) would I be able to make it and 2) how to stay protected from the sun for two days straight?” says Dr. Baughman. While Dr. Peeke helped Dr. Baughman ease her first concern, Coolibar assisted in eliminating her concern about sun protection. The Grand Canyon provides very little shade and the sun’s rays can become extremely intense. Wearing the provided Coolibar shirts and hats allowed the trekkers to focus on their journey and pay less attention to sunburns and heat exhaustion. “Spray-on sunscreen with zinc oxide, and sun protective hats and shirts from Coolibar kept our skin hidden from the intense UV rays,” says Dr. Baughman. “The garments and hats were effective yet light weight. I couldn’t imagine the trip without them. They fit well, yet were loose enough for hiking, climbing up switch backs, and over streams.”
All of the Peeke Perfomers mentally and physically prepared for this challenging task by exercising, eating well and finding a reliable source of sun coverage. With this in mind, Dr. Peeke sends us these encouraging words. “By the end of the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike, every participant realized that if they could get through this mental and physical feat, they could probably get through anything in life. That’s the beauty of these challenges. You could do the same thing. Choose a challenge, any challenge (e.g. walk or jog a 5K, walk 4 miles and live to talk about it!), and see how that achievement gifts you with the confidence to face life’s curve balls.”
Prepare for your next challenge, and stay sun safe.