Sweat, dust, steep trails, panoramic vistas, photo ops, heart pounding, more sweat, more dust…
Hiking has become my new favorite activity this summer, summer lovin’ for the Daily Post weekly photo challenge. And in spite of feeling like I am going to die at some points, I’m enjoying the exertion, exploring the county with my hubby, and the amazing opportunities for photography.
Today was a tough one. We headed off bright and early to avoid the heat…but not early enough. An 8am start meant we ended our nearly 8 mile hike at noon, and it was hot! The early morning light was beautiful as we headed out and we noticed a group of children fishing from the pier.
The trail definitely got more trying as we climbed and climbed. We could see views of hikes we had done in previous weeks–and could also see that this one was longer and more strenuous. At one point, I thought I might have to stop and turn back. But a rest at this tree almost two miles from the summit convinced me that I could muster the strength to go on.
Maybe it was the shade, maybe it was the views…whatever it was, I continued to climb. Dust clung to my sweat covered arms and legs, my hat provided some much needed shade, and regular stops for sips of water kept me going. The trail was rocky, switchbacks zigzagging toward the summit. We went through this boulder path as we neared the top.
I was surprised as we crested the summit to find a line of people waiting for a photo opportunity on “the chip,” an interesting rock formation near the top of Mt Woodson. When the person got their “turn,” they would head out toward the end of the chip and pose while a hiking companion took their picture. We didn’t wait in line, but I did get a few shots of the comedy of watching others.
But the chip isn’t quite the top of the mountain. We continued up a fairly steep asphalt path to the pinnacle where all the communication towers jutted high above the peak.
There were also beautiful pine trees and amazing views of the valleys below. And it was the perfect place to stop and rest a bit before heading back. Here is picture of my husband with the breathtaking views behind him.
I thought it would easier heading down…and I was right for a good portion of the trip. The rest at the top was energizing, and there were cool breezes up at the heights. But it got a lot hotter and a lot harder as the lake came into view.
At nearly 7 miles into the hike, our reserves of energy had run low and the noon-time heat was brutal. The one more uphill near the end of the hike was excruciating!
And in spite of the challenges, I’m loving hiking this summer. I love the time my husband and I spend out in the countryside exploring and testing our physical limits (he’s a much more experienced hiker than I am!). I love testing the limits of my body…even when I am hating it! There is a wonderful camaraderie on the trail…and unexpected diversity of age, ethnicity, language, physical ability…with people cheering each other on. And there are amazing numbers of people out hiking on weekends, at times these trails resemble our local freeways (without the road rage!). I love the hours on the trail looking for interesting photos, noticing the wildlife (we watched a bird of prey float on the wind currents at the summit today…it seemed almost within arm’s reach) and the resilience of the drought resistant plant life. We observed areas previously ravaged by fire returning to their natural beauty and places where nature is reclaiming what men tried to tame. My next hike will be in Montana…I can’t wait!
What are you lovin’ this summer?