Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good bye beaches...Hello foothills!

This photo was taken at the top of the trail, overlooking the ocean and Laguna. As you can see the sun is about to set, not just on our day, but also on the beach hikes. (violins are playing in the background) The West Ridge, Lynx, and Cholla trails have now been successfully tickled, and it is a good thing too, as these trails lived up to their rating of "hardest". Let me start at the beginning...

The drive to the Alta Laguna Park was super. I felt like I was back in Magnolia, zooming up the twisting and turning streets. The trail was very wide and well marked, and well used by hikers and bikers. Martine and I noted that the bikers were much friendlier here than at the Morrow Ridge Loop, probably because they didn't have to pay $15 to park. As we traveled the very steep and long trail down the backside of the coastal mountain, we were not too impressed with the area. It was quite barren and overlooked vast housing developments and freeways. The day was another scorcher so the thought of traveling on this wide open path for 5 miles was not very appealing. I will admit that I put out the option of just stepping on the Lynx and Cholla trails (which made the loop part of the hike) and call it good, thus shortening our hike by 2 miles. As we were thinking seriously about this option, we came to a huge water storage tank. (As you can see from the above photo, Martine is continuing her crime streak, this time loitering on government property.) At the end of the West Ridge trail we joined the very rocky, steep, and narrow path of the Cholla trail. Since it hadn't taken us too long to walk to this point, and the hike wasn't all that hard, the decision was made to do the whole trail as planned.
Half way down the trail a woman met us who was very obviously struggling in her ascent. Hmmm...I hoped desperately that she was much more out of shape than I was! Once at the bottom of the hill, our surroundings beautifully transformed.
(Please note the photo, with Martine sitting on the fence, not loitering.) We were no longer out in the open, but on a very nice trail which curved under live oaks and shrubbery. Not far away was a little stream, perhaps from Lake Barbara, that gurgled by and huge rocky cliffs jutting out above us. It was shady and quiet and beautiful.The Cholla trail was very rejuvenating, and that is a lucky thing because the Lynx trail was not (rejuvenating or lucky). I will only mention quickly that we missed the marker for the Lynx trail, but only because it was about 3 feet above the trail on a ledge among the shrubs, and I'm sure we were being passed by a wild bike rider as we were walking past it:-).
The good news is that since we are becoming experienced easy trail hikers, we turned around before we had traveled too far down the path. The Lynx trail was up, up, then straight up! Over crags and rocks and not much shade. As the trail curved, you were sure you were at the top, only to be looking a another quarter mile until the next turn. Once we made it back to the West Ridge trail, the climb was, sadly, not over. It was 2 more miles of uphill trekking.
Every bit of water was drunk by the time we made it to the top. I felt like Colin in San Salvador, I had sweat through everything! I cannot tell you how much I love air conditioned cars! But we did it!!! and it felt, in the words of BYU football fans, majestic. I'm very grateful that we traveled the whole trail. It just goes to show that the best things in life are the things that take that extra effort and determination. Now, on to the foothills. I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. I like how there are several photos, and your writing is fun and witty:-)