Sunday, May 5, 2013

Valley View Trail: Training Hike

Monkey flower
 High temperatures and dry heat returned to the area this week. I've started to hike the Valley View trail again to get in shape for the CDT. It's a good place to train. I was hoping to get a hike in early yesterday but had to wait until evening.
 I commented to my roommate how this heat reminded me of hiking in Southern California on the PCT. It was too dangerous some days to hike during the afternoon. In the desert, we often stopped around noon, found or created a place for shade, and would re-hydrate and wait for lower temperatures to arrive by 4:00 or so.
Poison Oak covered trail
 So, I waited until about 5:00 to hit the trail. To my surprise, when I left the house, the sky was filled with clouds, it became really windy, and it started raining. I hadn't heard a weather report, but it seemed a front of some sort was moving through. Never mind, when on the trail, you have to hike, despite the weather. I decided to head to the trail head.
 It turned out to be a fantastic evening to hike. The temperature dropped just a little. It was not too hot, nor too cold. I was perfectly content to wear short sleeves and shorts. The clouds made for nice lighting for picture taking. The only drawbacks were the poison oak and damn ticks once again. I found three ticks crawling on me, including one that just started to embed itself into my side, despite being very careful where I walked. It's very discouraging. The amount of ticks I have encountered the last couple years out here really can be a deterrent when it comes to hiking and exploring. I feel like I'm playing Russian roulette with my health, every time I go for a hike. They seem to be everywhere.
 I reached the ridge line after an hour or so. It occurred to me that it has been a while since I've hiked along a ridge. The views and openness of the terrain were thrilling. Everything always seems purer on the tops of mountains. I heard the occasional gunshot fired off in the distance at the shooting range. Actually, I'm not sure it's really a shooting range as much as it's just items set up by locals who enjoy the target practice.
 The return hike down the mountain was uneventful. I continued to watch my step for poison oak and pieces of grass where ticks may be hanging out. My legs felt a little shaky on the way down. Further proof that I need more exercise.
I thought about the internal universe that composes my physical body. I wonder if it is aware of the beating it's about to receive in the coming months while out on the CDT?

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