Journey: 52 Hikes and more

Archive for the month “May, 2010”

Hike 30 – The Foothills of Devil Mountain, March 14, 2010

My morning began with a lot of death threats directed towards the alarm clock and Daylight Savings Time.  Today time sprang forward an hour, depriving all the good citizens of America an hour of sleep.  It also meant that the sun rose an hour earlier so everything would be brighter when I opened my eyes.  I don’t like that.  Meanwhile, my wife and I were still fighting a cold and had spent another restless night.  Needless to say, my motivation to hike today was low.

My plan was to go on a 7.5 mile hike in the Diablo Foothills Regional Park.  This would be the second of a minimum of five hikes I had to complete as part of Trails Challenge 2010.  But I felt that mentally and physically I could not handle 7.5 miles, and I struggled to get myself excited about the challenge.  Finally my wife came up with a clever solution and suggested I plan an easy hike, and if I felt good enough, extend it to the moderate or challenging loop.  Trails Challenge 2010 offers three alternatives to each hike and classifies them as easy, moderate and challenging, and one can easily switch between the three.

With an improved attitude, I jumped into the shower enthusiastically.  I am usually my brightest, bravest and boldest in the shower and there it dawned on me that the best I would be able to do today might be a moderate hike.  I just did not have the capacity to take on a challenging hike.  Under normal circumstances, I would find this 7.5 mile “challenging” hike easy.

Unfortunately, all this procrastinating, debating and motivating took a toll on time.  So I pulled into the Castle Rock parking lot in Walnut Creek at 9:45 AM instead of 7 AM as planned, or more truthfully, dreamt.  I wanted to get some early morning, sunrise photographs on the trail this spring but it wasn’t meant to be.  Thankfully, the temperature at the trailhead was 52 degrees and the sky was blue with barely any clouds.  It was indeed a perfect day to enjoy the outdoors.

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Hike 29 – A Hike Through History to the Rescue, March 13, 2010

For the last five weeks I had been fighting a cold.  I hadn’t hiked in weeks.  But today I felt good enough to head out for a walk, just as long as it wasn’t too strenuous.  Over the last few years, I have regularly participated in the East Bay Regional Park District’s (EBRPD) Trails Challenge and today I decided to do one of their hikes.  The Trails Challenge is a great way to explore one of the 65 parks within the EBRPD system.  They cover over 100,000 acres of land and offer access to over 1,100 miles of trails, many of which are multi-use, so everyone including hikers, bikers and equestrians can enjoy them.

I settled on a 4.5 mile loop in Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline in the historic city of Richmond, California.  It features short climbs, amazing views and enough history to make it interesting.  I figured it would offer enough of a challenge to my recovering lungs and serve as an excellent motivator to hike again.

After a rather restless night, at 8:55 AM I finally pulled into the Ferry Point parking lot.  I got there a few hours later than I had wanted to, but this was the best I could manage.

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Hike 28 – Stairways and Sidewalks of North Beach, February 20, 2010

Russian Hill Park

Excitedly, I jumped out of the bed on a beautiful Saturday morning.  My wife would finally join me on a hike!  We were planning to explore some of San Francisco’s stairway walks, the funky enclave of North Beach, and Coit Tower.  The reason she has not hiked with me so far can be traced back to “The Incident.”  Let’s flash back.

Imagine the sound of harps playing in the background and everything in front of you dissolves into a mess of shaky, squiggly lines.

We are back in the mid-late 1990’s, standing along a section of the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Canada.  This is an 800 Km (500 mile) long trail along the Niagara escarpment from Niagara Falls to Tobermory.  We’d hiked many sections of the trail before.  I wanted to go on a long hike while my wife wanted a short one.  I promised her we were going on a short hike.  Unbeknownst to her, I had picked a route that could easily be extended.

I kept adding sections to the hike and so 12 kilometers became 12 miles and so on.  Eventually she began resisting.  At some point it began to drizzle too and she was totally miserable.  By the time we returned to the car, we had covered over 16 miles and understandably, she was not at all happy with me.  Since then I have had a tough time getting her to trust me on any issue, and hiking in particular.  These days, she rarely accompanies me on hikes.

The sound of harps playing in the background and everything in front of you dissolves into a mess of shaky, squiggly lines.  We’re back to the present now.

View from Russian Hill Park

For this walk, she figured that things could not get too bad.  This was an urban setting.  She could easily bail out on me if I turned out to be lying.  Besides, I had been missing company on my last few hikes and I sincerely wanted to go on one with her.  So I had no plans of misbehaving or deceiving her this time.

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