Seriously, Patti… Take A Hike

Rancho La PuertaHiking is not the same as walking; that revelation dawned on me at Rancho La Puerta. Gad, I sound like a bubble-brain, but there aren’t that many opportunities to hike in my routine. And I know you’re thinking, “Gee Patti, there are plenty of hiking trails nearby.” Santa Monica mountains are visible from my home, agreed. The operative word is going to be… effort!

After my glorious visit to the Ranch, and daily opportunities to take real, live hikes, I needed an attitude adjustment here at home. Time to make more of an effort to HIKE. I took the Ranch spirit home and on Valentine’s Day, packed a picnic lunch, and took Larry hiking at the most romantic spot I could think of… the place where he popped the question 34 years ago, Will Rogers State Park.  {Thank you, Ranch, for the cool idea!}

In my little life, I walk, not a huge amount but collectively, maybe 10 miles a week. I’m a city girl with a 20-minute-mile gait. Flat or hilly, it is still city here. Noisy, crowded, not serene, even on the UCLA campus next door. Getting out of my ‘hood to nearby hills was lovely!

Hiking is not UN-like walking, it just has a few tweaks. SandalsTime to review the tools. First, shoes. The important detail: tread. Grip. Gym shoes aren’t much help when it comes to slippery gravel. My hiking shoes are sandals, well-broken-in: I bought them used on E-bay for our Africa trip. (So much for any impression I am sporty.) The glitch with sandals on a winter hike is water. Mud. Squishing thru to your socks (and yes to my sister Gretchen, I wore them with socks). These are designed for water, but not for socks + water. No matter, my Ranch hikes were awesome, slightly muddy but not wet enuf to soak my socks.

Clothes. Layers. Things that wick and don’t chafe, to keep me warm without discomfort and weight. With pockets for my chapstick and tissue and sunglasses and camera. I have freckly skin, so my layers need to keep the sun off, too.

Which brings me to hats. Hikes and walks can be cold, and/or hot. And sometimes windy. At the Ranch, wacky knit hats for frosty sunrise hikes made me feel kinda cute. Later in the day, a wide brim for sun was necessary.  A baseball cap only shades the face, not ears or neck.

Water.  If I walk at home, I don’t carry it. Westwood is crowded… if I was injured, I’d have my cell and call Larry. In other words, I wouldn’t perish without water. But on a hike, even a short 2-mile thing, stumble, go BOOM and then sit there trying to not be eaten by a coyote before another hiker finds you.  Throw rocks at the coyote and drink water.

Pawprint hikingSunscreen, necessary.  Hate the stuff, personally. It is sticky, but OY these freckles.

Gloves. My favs are my cashmere lined leather. They slip off one hand quickly to take a photo and slip back on.

Besides oxygen and clearing your head from your work, hikes are insightful: it dawned on me during a hike at the Ranch that being ABLE to hike is a gift. My legs are strong.  I can walk at a good clip and still talk, which means my lungs are strong (and enjoy a great conversation with my hiking buddy). The message of Ranch was sinking in… health and fitness are treasures that take effort and deliver rewards. Gotta keep that mantra…

Look at these hiking buddies (photo, below) on their Ranch hike.  Having A Moment.

I am going to call myself a hiker. Now, I need to keep up that spirit and get a trail into my little routine here.  Do you hike??

Friends hiking

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sue February 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Love your Keen ‘hiking’ shoes! They are based here in Portland. We have many beautiful hikes out in the Columbia Gorge. Come here for a food trip and we can go!

2 Deena @ stay at home FOODIE February 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

We love Paseo Miramar (off Sunset just about 1/2 mile off the ocean) and Temescal. Paseo Miramar is a great medium hike…. Too hard for my girls… But with an AMAZING view and bench (perfect for a hearty snack) at the end. Totally worth it.

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