Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Hike

Nine years ago, on September 11, we went to the Pinnacles National Monument with our son and his girlfriend to get away from all media for the day.

It was close to 100* that day and I suffered minor hallucinations as part of heat-stroke.  We were trying to hike the highest and hardest part of the park.  Overheated, I sat down in the center of the trail and told the others to go on ahead and send a helicopter for me "tomorrow".  I can  clearly remember saying that and thinking it was a perfectly reasonable idea!

Our son went on to a Ranger Station, and Craig helped me back down to a lower parking area.  I did recovered on my own, but the ranger sent a rescue squad to check me out.  Fortunately, I didn't need to be taken to the hospital.

On this trip to the park, the weather was much cooler and once again Craig wanted to try for the High Peaks Trail.  I told him I didn't think I could do it, but he had it in his head that that is what he wanted to do.

Keep in mind, Craig does not exercise.  Craig does not believe in carrying or drinking water. Craig rarely stops to rest.  Craig is generally pushes me to do things all at once, that sane people work up to gradually.

Sometimes I try.  But I have learned to say "no" when I reach my limit.

To get to the High Peaks trailhead from our campground we first had to hike the 3.5 mile Bench trail. 

 Much of this was easy since it was thru oak meadowland

 and along a dry creek. 

Only about a mile of it was harder, as we started to climb up the side of the mountain.

There was a Nature Center at the trailhead area. 

 Craig waited outside, while I went in to talk to a Ranger about our options.  Looking at the maps I learned the High Peaks trail was a loop of seven miles of very hard climbs.  

The Ranger suggested "Keep the car keys and let him go up by himself if he was so inclined!"

This is a view of a very level section of the trail.
It was a steady, rocky incline.
She suggested an alternative 1.7 mile "strenuous" climb that continued on to the High Peaks trail.  She said that we would still have some great vistas, and could come back the same way to the Center.

Craig agreed to this.  

"Strenuous" was a good description of the trail.  At about a half mile my knee began to twinge and I felt like I was getting a blister on one toe. 

Seeing I was slowing down, Craig asked if I wanted to turn back, and of course I did. 

 I kept thinking about the four miles we would have to go to get back to camp.

Sometimes going downhill is harder than going up.

The first mile and a half back were a bit hard because the trail was very rocky and we had to be careful not to trip. 

Once on the flat, the trail was mostly sand, which is not  easy to walk in either.

A very welcome sight!
By the time we were close to the campground again I was feeling much better, and it was Craig who asked: "Aren't we there yet?"  

The total hike was eight miles.

Truth be told, I haven't been working out on the treadmill for a while.  This has motivated me to try to loose some of the excess  pounds I carry!

We talked about going back in Spring. The wildflower bloom is said to be beautiful.  They also have a bus then, that goes from the campground to the Nature Center.   If we start there, maybe I can do it.  

If not, I can always turn back.  


  1. I couldn't have made it the 3.5 miles to the trailhead. I think you did great.

  2. You played it smart, my knees are shot, like Diana I need to get them repaired but unlike Diana I continue to wait.

    I like to hike but pay the price at night in pain, it's worth it for the views though.

    Glad you guys are alright,


  3. That's a long hike for a 1st hike in awhile. I tend to push it when I am out in the National and State Parks. I want to see it all.

  4. Wow, eight miles! You have me beat by a few miles! If you ice your knee when you get back from a hike, it really helps.

  5. Wow, eight miles! You have me beat by a few miles! If you ice your knee when you get back from a hike, it really helps.

  6. you go girl... take it to the limit...

  7. Terrific, guys! Way to go! I made sure Eldy read this post today, lol! :-)

  8. Holy smokes! I only went 6 miles the other day and I'm still gimping from my blisters. Seriously, I can't get my shoes back on yet.

    Good Job!! But next time be sure to carry water.
    Cheers! ~M

  9. Wow! Eight miles! That's the most I've ever hiked in one day. Those darn knees! Sounds like you had a good time regardless! Keep on having fun!

  10. good for you for giving it a try!..you did well!..eight miles whoohoo!!..and uphill to boot!!

  11. We like to get out hiking in the southwest but we are not long distance hikers. Don't think we have ever done 8 miles. I'm always stopping to look at things, taking pics, etc. Like Craig, I am not a water guy either nor do I make a conscious effort to exercise. You did well to go that distance.

  12. Wow! That's quite a hike considering you haven't been doing that for a while. Congrats!

  13. One thing I learned from scuba diving is that I won't go further than I can get back under my own power. I think you did great going 8 miles in that terrain. I hope you both carry cell phones...just in case.


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