Monday, September 6, 2010

Instead of Disneyland

My friend Mike was looking at these photos, and he commented on them as he handed back my camera.

"I look hot?" I asked, flattered, thinking that's what he was telling me.

He shook his head, "It looks hot."

And it totally was.

We were planning on going to Disneyland while we were in California, but, after discovering a few Backpacker magazines in my brother's car, I became convinced we'd be better off hiking Mt. Baldy.

Okay, I want to give you some information about what we did. First of all, I live at sea level. Total sea level. 0 feet of elevation. And I've lived here for 4 years.

We parked the car at 6,000 feet. The walk from the car to the ranger station left me breathless. I did not take this as a good sign.

We asked the ranger how long it would take us to hike, and he said it depended on how fast we were going. He said not long, as long as we didn't take breaks or stop for photos or sit down to eat our lunch. We nodded, scoffing at those saps who did all those things.

Then we started, and stopped repeatedly for breaks, and for photos, and to eat our lunch.

We hiked a little over five miles, 2.5 miles in, and the same out. We gained over 2,000 feet in elevation in that 2.5 miles, ending up at about 8,200 feet. If you don't have a good sense of what that means, allow me to elucidate: it was really, really, really hard. Really steep. I don't mind steep. My running buddy of yesteryear (or, at least until the weather cools down), Shiloh, has this bad habit of sprinting hills. It's annoying, until you get what she's doing. Which is getting them over with quick. And then you recover on the downhill, or the flat.

But, there was no downhill. Or flat. Just steep. For 2.5 miles. Which, maybe doesn't seem like a fair distance, but, at 7,000 feet, you're gasping another tune, pal.

We hiked, and got home and ate popsicles and sat in the spa, and I woke the next morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. My hip joints felt positively dislocated, and the vague notion of trail running I'd entertained the week before went right out the window.

Totally worth it. I feel like my life has too much in it that looks like a thing, instead of the thing itself. I'm glad I choose, at least this once, the thing itself.

And, possibly best of all, I found the backpack I carried all through high school (navy blue, jansport) in my parent's closet. There was also a well made hiking backpack, engineered for comfort in there, and, guess which one I chose.

**Also, I announced the T-Shirt Project Giveaway Winner. Thanks to everyone for your submissions.

1 comment:

  1. Hiking Baldy is AWESOME. I did it with my lab, a few summers back. I only looked up the stats after we finished, and I'm glad I looked then, because I never would've attempted it if I'd known how hard it was going to be!