Taking care of the knees on the trail

Once a knee starts giving you woes, the ills seem to grow like weeds. After hiking the Round Lake Trail of 6 miles round trip last weekend and experiencing right knee pain much of the way, I figured it was time to see the physical therapist who helped me after arthroscopic surgery. Corrine checked the knee and offered these comments:

• Start out using a heavier backpact on easier terrain. Avoid steeper trails and don't make the treks too long. Don't load the pack up.

• Keep taking glucosamine (I'd run out and hadn't picked up a new supply. Take Advil or the like when the knee is a bit swollen. And ice it after hiking.

• Wear the knee brace while hiking. It helps at those odd moments when the foot twists on a rock and the knee is stressed.

• Stop doing situps from a flat position. That divides the abs. Instead, rest the back on an exercise ball, feet against the wall, raise the body.

• When using a large backpack break it in gradually. There's a whole new balancing point as well as extra stress on the knees.

• The clicking of the knee is just over the kneecap and not a problem.

And rather than trying the North Rim of the Grand Canyon this fall, try Havasupai where the scenery is just a fine as the Canyon. And if I do go to the Canyon, consider having a mule pack to bring the backpack down. That way the knee won't get stressed and will be in shape to explore. Thanks, Corrine.

• To encourage families to take their much needed summer vacation, ARAMARK Parks & Resorts is paying for the gas that it takes to get to Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas for residents of neighboring states, including Nevada, that have booked a houseboating vacation for five days or more on a 59-foot Discovery or Discovery XL houseboat. The offer is good for up to $200 in fuel /credit and can be combined with another houseboating special, which offers up to $700 in fuel credit for the houseboat itself.

Call (619) 515-5313 for details.

Sounds like fun, but what to do with a 59-foot houseboat?

• Squaw Valley is offering a special Sunday Mountaintop "Break-Feast" Buffet at High Camp for guests looking for a different brunch. The $29 package includes a ride on the scenic Cable Car to High Camp and a breakfast buffet in the Terrace Room overlooking Lake Tahoe.

After breakfast, guests have a variety of options for recreation or relaxation on the upper mountain including hiking, ice skating or swimming and lounging by the pool.

Call (530) 581-7278 or visit www.squaw.com.

Squaw Valley USA Hiking Center at High Camp offers a variety of guided and self-guided hikes on the resort's upper mountain including Sunset Hikes, Ranger Hikes, Full Moon Hikes and new this summer, daily guided hikes.

The fee for daily hikes is $5. A Cable Car & Hike Package costs $24 for adults, $20 for juniors and seniors and $5 for kids 12 and under.

Sturdy shoes and warm clothes are recommended, and guests are encouraged to bring water and a flashlight. Scheduled Full Moon hikes for the 2004 summer take place June 30, July 2, July 29-31 and Aug. 26-29.

Access to Squaw Valley's network of trails is free with a cable car ticket.

Contact Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.


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