Discovery Beauty: an unexpected benefit of my training

In my last post, I mentioned that a couple of the hikes I have been on recently were on an urban trail in the outskirts of town.

I had been avoiding that trail for a long time because it is “urban”. By looking at the trail on satellite photos and reading descriptions, I always cued into the fact that the trail is essentially lined with houses. When I go hiking, I like to be out away from town and civilization. It also looked rather barren and boring since there wouldn’t be much of a view seeing that it was down in a ravine. Some of the descriptions mentioned trees and it being a pretty trail, but I didn’t have very high hopes. But in trying to find a trail which I hadn’t been on that wasn’t already covered in snow, I finally decided to check it out. And was very pleasantly surprised.

The creek is rather substantial, and is lined with aspens, cottonwood, willow bushes, and wild roses.

Yes, the rim of the creek ravine is lined with the back yards of the neighborhood houses, but the burbling of the creek easily shut out the noises of town, and the beauty of the creek and the trees eclipsed the fact that there was no view to speak of.

It is a beautiful little gem, and so accessible.

But I wasn’t really expecting much from the next trail I decided to explore. I knew from the descriptions that the only trees along the route were at the very end (the turn around point), but that the attraction at the end (a man-made irrigation canal that comes straight out of the side of the hillside) is pretty cool.

Again, I was very pleasantly surprised.

So, on December 28, I decided to explore this trail that had intrigued me since I first heard about it.

A slightly overcast sky lent a beautiful light to the rolling hills around me.

Up near the irrigation canal, the hills level off a bit and you can see for miles.

At the very end of the trail, there is a small stand of trees, which after miles of nothing but sagebrush, seems magical.

The canal exit from the hillside is not nearly as awesome as described when there’s no water rushing from it.

A lone pine tree sits along the canal.

As I traveled back along the canal on my way toward the car, I saw another trail that headed down through a little rolling valley. I quickly checked the GPS map on my phone and saw that I could take that trail back toward the trailhead.

As beautiful as it was in early Winter, I just couldn’t help imagining what it would be like in the Spring. Crystal clear blue skies, warm sun, green grass covering those hills, dotted with wildflowers.

Yeah, you can bet we’ll be headed back there in, say, April or May!

Or even having a picnic under these trees in the summer. Or playing in the creek.

This trail ended up being just over 3 miles and it took me 1½ hours.

If I hadn’t started training for my thru hike and if I hadn’t joined the 52 Hike Challenge, I might not have been looking for new trails to hike. My experiences in hiking these new trails has taught me to not discount any trails in the area. There is always beauty on any trail you might be hiking, and more often than not, it won’t even be that hard to find.

Kinda like life, I think.

So enjoy the trail you’re on and look for the beauty. It’s there.

Training re-start

Wow, I totally fell off the blogging bandwagon. To be honest, in about May of this year (2019) I fell off the whole training wagon as well. Probably why I didn’t blog anything except for our trip on the Appalachian Trail. I have posted a few videos on my YouTube channel, and kept up pretty good with Instagram, but this blog has suffered. I’m making a commitment to change that.

Hey, look at that, not even New Year’s yet, and already making resolutions.😆

So, while training went out the window this past summer in lieu of other things in life, I did go on several fun little hikes besides the overnighter on the Appalachian Trail. (Working on getting videos made of those hikes.)

An impromptu 2 mile hike in between errands in June (video made).

A short hike (1ish mile) at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon while on family vacation in July.

Overnight hike on the Appalachian Trail in July (video made).

Had a couple hours free so me and the youngest had a nice little hike in August (video made).

Another little 2 mile hike in the hills around Lake Tahoe during a retreat weekend in October.

And then I was invited by a friend to go backpacking with her in February! There had been some talk of her asking me to go. And she finally made it official.

I’M GOING TO HAVASU FALLS IN FEBRUARY!!!

But, oy! a 30 mile hike (round trip) coming up in only a couple months and I hadn’t been training in 5 months! Time to start!

Even when it’s freakin’ cold outside (19°F!)

And especially when it’s a beautiful day (57°F).

By the end of October, I was back into a good routine of daily hikes and walks mainly just in the hills behind my house.

And then I learned about the 52 Hike Challenge. You can learn all about it through their website, but basically it is a challenge to go hiking 52 times within a one year period. There are various challenge types that you can participate in. I chose to do the original Challenge, which is just 52 hikes of at least a mile each. That’s the only requirement. I signed up on November 11th, 2019. I suppose I could have waited until January 1st to “start” the challenge, but I’m not a fan of delaying once I’ve made a decision. So, my first official hike of my 52 Hike Challenge was on November 12th.

November 12, 2019 – Hike 1 – 1.2 miles – in the canyon behind my house.

November 15, 2019 – Hike 2 – 6 miles – Mt Rose Wilderness above Lake Tahoe (my first “moderate” hike and the longest one I’ve gone on since starting training earlier this year).

November 26 and December 4, 2019 – Hikes 3 & 4 – 1.5 miles each – In the hills behind my house.

December 9, 2019 – Hike 5 – 3.1 miles – Sierra Nevada foothills

December 10, 2019 – Hike 6 – 2.1 miles – Urban trail on the outskirts of town.

December 17, 2019 – Hike 7 – 3.5 miles – Urban trail on the outskirts of town.

And that brings us up to the present. Today is December 27 and with all he holiday hulibaloo, I haven’t had a chance to go hiking in the past 10 days. But, Christmas is over and we are still on break for another week (both from school and from our house construction), and I have no major plans or preparations to do for the next week. During that time, I want to make some videos out of the footage I got on several of those hikes, and I plan to blog in more detail if I find the time. And of course go on at least one or more hikes during that time as well. Hopefully I can get it all done!

I also used Christmas money and gift cards to order the last of the equipment I’ll need for the trip to Havasu Falls. So when that comes in I’m going to do a couple videos and blog posts about my equipment. That trip will be a pretty good shakedown run for my Tahoe Rim Trail thru-hike coming up in just 7 months.

SEVEN months!?!?

Oh. My. Goodness!

Gah! I’ve still got a lot of training to do! Time to get to it!

Weekly Hike #1

1/11/19

Well, I tried. I had a great little hike planned for me and the girls today.

We were going to get on the trail by 8:30 so the mud was still frozen, hike 2-3 miles, explore some beautiful areas, and be home by noon.

But at the last minute, I was needed to babysit my 7yo and 4yo nieces. We still went on the hike, and we did get home by noon, but we didn’t get on the trail till 9:30 (so by 10 it was starting to thaw and get pretty mucky), and because of the mud and a bunch of young kids, we only ended up going 1.7 miles round trip.

It was still a fun outing, and all the girls (including me!) loved the area and we had a great time. And there is always next week.

The Journey Begins

January 10, 2019

If you’ve read my About page, you’ll know that I started this blog almost a year ago. Yet this is my first post.

Yeah, not a great track record so far.

I didn’t go on a single real hike in 2018, and only the occasional short walk. Too busy with building the house and family emergencies.

However, I was able to find most of my gear in storage, figured out what I’m gonna need to replace (most of it unfortunately), and even worked on updating my hiking wardrobe.

But, its a new year and I am committed (and slightly terrified that I won’t be ready) and so I have actually finally started training.

So here we go!

I found this little trail journal recently and fell in love with it. I love journalling (shocking, I know) and like to keep records of my hikes, etc.

Today’s entry:

1-10-19

“No challenge is too big for you.”

Gosh it seems like it might be at this time. My legs are weak! They hurt! How can I think I’ll be able to backpack for 3 straight weeks by next year?

By pushing myself and never giving up! I got this! No challenge is too big for me!

Training:

Daily walks: I’ve started my daily walks in the hills near my house. So far, I’m keeping it short, just around a mile or so. I’m not fatiguing my muscles yet, just trying to get my knees used to the ups and downs. I also have been very conscious about using the correct muscles every time I go up or down the garden stairs between the trailer we’re living in and the house we’re building. I’ve had arthritis in my knees for long enough now that I compensate with other muscles when doing stairs and my quads have suffered. And I’ve made a point that every time I go to stand in front of the wood stove to warm up, I’ll do a set of calf raises. As the mile route starts to get too easy, I’ll add on length to where I’m going at least 2 miles every day and then as that gets easier, I’ll add in speed and carrying weight. Eventually my goal is to be able to do a 3 mile hour with a pack on daily.

Weekly hikes: haven’t started these yet, but my goal is to go on hikes each week ranging in the 3-5 mile range to start with. One, so I can take the kids with me, and two, because that’s all I (and they) will be able to handle at first. As we all start out, I’m imagining these outings will take the better part of a day. I could push myself, but then I might not be able to walk the next day, and when you’ve got a house to build, that’s not a good idea. Eventually, we’ll all get stronger and we’ll be able to do the hikes faster and easier. Then we’ll look for longer hikes to do weekly. Eventually, my goal is to be able to easily do 5-10 mile hikes every week.

Monthly outings: as the months progress, I want to then focus on longer hikes once a month, and eventually a few shorter backpacking trips. By late summer we’re hoping to be finished with our house and I can shift my focus to longer trips. My goal by the end of summer/early fall is to go on a week long trip. I haven’t been on one of those since I was a teenager! But this one will depend entirely on timing issues with the house.

So there you have it. The official real start to my Journey to the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Thanks for joining me on the journey!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

-MamaBear