Twelve Miles Uphill, Before and After

Sunny dropped us at the beach at Sycamore Canyon around 9am. It was a later start than we would normally like, but as it turns out it was a good thing we were rested.

The twelve mile uphill hike wasn’t particularly strenuous, except for a portion where we gained about 600 feet in a mile, and that was only a challenge because it was after 8 miles and 2:40 of steady walking up slope without rest. What is more, Aaron keeps up a steady 3mph pace with a full day pack, so it was a bit more than a leisurely stroll up Sycamore Canyon.

In theory the last four miles should have been an easy downhill stroll to the 101, but fatigue was starting to set in, and even the kid was audibly relieved when our stopping point hive into view as we crossed the freeway.

By the end we had taken a bit over 4 hours to walk the 12 miles, but we had crossed the Santa Monica Mountains, burned 2,000 extra calories, and started our training program for the big prize: the John Muir Trail.

Over-exercising and under-eating

This is how I know when I am not eating enough.

The thick black line on the chart is what I am supposed to eat each day on my maintenance program. This is a recipe for about a 1-2 lb weight loss. A year ago I’d have been delighted, but I am learning that the maintenance mindset is very different than the weight-loss mindset, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

Sea Scouts. On Land.

At their request, we took our Sea Scout ship camping at Lake Piru last weekend. In order to work themselves into a pre-kayaking sweat, the boatswain suggested a hike. Here we are near the end of our 4.7 mile trek through the September heat.

Needless to say, the Scouts were ready for lunch and some on-the-water time when they got back. A fantastic two days in the hills, and more proof that the BSA is just an unbelievable organization.

Donner Summit Chill-out

It’s cooler up here than it was down in the meadows, and I suspect I will have the air conditioning well before the final foothills of the Sierras give way to the valley somewhere around Citrus Heights. Summer is releasing her hold on the mountains without haste, but the weather is glorious.

The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the highway about 100 meters from where I sit, and the trees behind me mask the trail’s meander upwards from this saddle towards Castle Peak. The moment reminds me that I want to spend some time on the PCT with my son, maybe just a few of the “easier” segments, and that I have a lot of training ahead before I can enjoy the pleasure of the trail as much as I enjoy that of the road or the iron rail.

 

The Great Dune from Above

We hiked up the Outlook Trail to find ourselves perched on a rise between the canyon and the sea, looking down upon the big sand dune that hugs the hillside above Pacific Coast Highway at Thornhill Broome Beach.

I have climbed the dune often and have passed it more than a hundred times, but I have never seen it from this vantage. From here the dune is no longer dominant: you see it in context, a beach blown uphill at a point in the coast that is exposed to the prevailing northwesterly onshore wind. From here south Point Conception no longer blocks those winds, but only here does the rock face cup just enough to capture the sand and spray.

The view reminds me of my desire to study both geography and geology when I return to the classroom a few years hence. My travels and a lifetime studying politics and commerce have left me more curious than ever about the planet upon which we play out our temporal dramas.