Hiking Inspires New Fitness Goals
Our reminiscences about hiking a few weeks back have inspired me to change up my fitness routine by starting a hiking regimen. So I signed up for a long hike last Sunday, organized by a chick whom I didn’t really know.
The hike was in the Purisma Creek Redwoods Open Space, located about 5 miles inland from Half Moon Bay, and 3 women showed up. The hike organizer described this as a 7+ mile loop starting with a broad upward trail, then a narrower ridge trail, a rest stop at a vista point looking out to the ocean, and then back down. Thank goodness there was a potty at the start, which we all took advantage of. Heading upwards, the weather was cool/cold, foggy/misty — luckily I had multiple layers, and my new hoodie had built-in thumb slits to keep my hands from freezing.
The redwoods, ferns and other flora were beauteous. Spotted a few banana slugs along the trail and heard birds calling, but no other fauna. Awhile into it, I started thinking it was not as fun as I had expected, because I seemed to be lagging while the 2 ahead of me were chatting up a storm about their adventures building houses with Habitat International in Uganda and installing solar panels for a village in Nicaragua, with visits to Bali and Fiji thrown into the mix.
We took a water-break when we got to the narrower trail, and I asked how far we’d come — hoping it was 3+ miles, but was told it was more like 2+. The leader suggested that we hike in silence up to the lookout, which very much enhanced the experience. The trail continued to wind slowly upward and I slogged along, successfully keeping my companions in view. Then we stopped for water and snacks at the vista point — the apex of our 1500 feet climb. The clouds pretty much obliterated the view of the ocean, revealing just the slightest glint of water way, way out there.
The final leg was, not going to lie, not fun even though it was downhill. It was an exposed fire trail, very steep and lots of gravel so I almost slipped several times, as did the others. I was euphoric at reaching the endpoint after 3 hours of hiking (about 18,000 steps), and headed directly to Peets Coffee as a reward.
Finding out that my body was not really adequately primed for this hike was a revelation. Yes, I need to mix things up more, not just rely on gym-based indoor workouts. For sure, there’ll be more hiking in my future, for fitness’ sake.