It’s no secret that I love hiking. I’ve devoted my SoCalHiker website to cataloging the hiking trails I explore in Orange County and throughout Southern California. Hiking is a great form of exercise, but it’s also a way to connect with nature, to unplug from the technology-driven world of work and reconnect with friends both old and new. Hiking can be almost a meditation, when done in solitude; or an intensely social activity.
This week marks a significant milestone in 2011 — the first week of daylight savings time. Oh, how I love DST, because it means there’s enough daylight after work to get in a great hike in the evening.
For about 1-1/2 years, I’ve been leading a Wednesday night hike on San Clemente’s Roller Coaster Ridge trail. The hike is cross-posted in two Meetup groups, both the Far South OC Social Events (ugh, what a mouthful) and Hiking OC. We meet at the end of Camino del los Mares just before 6pm each Wednesday during daylight savings time. The trail is a beauty; 4.6 miles with over 900 feet of elevation gain and sweeping 360 degree views of the coastal mountains, the blue Pacific Ocean, Dana Point and the marina, and on clear days like this, San Clemente Island and Catalina Island.
What’s wonderful is that in that past 1-1/2 years, I’ve met some wonderful people on the trails. We’ve hiked many miles together, and shared quite a few tacos afterwards (we like to visit Wahoo’s after the hike). We supported each other as we grew stronger as hikers, and as Joan and I trained for last year’s John Muir Trail backpack trip.
But what I didn’t really realize is what an impact we’ve made. Tonight, on our first Wednesday night hike on Roller Coaster Ridge in 2011, we had ten hikers on the trail. Some old friends, and some new. Something Barbara (one of tonight’s ten) said really touched me. She told Joan and I what an inspiration we were for hiking the JMT last year, and how that had motivated her for her own goals.
It’s funny, when you set a lofty, difficult goal, and then do the preparation and training, and actually reach that goal, other problems seem insignificant. And that’s the lesson. We all have the ability to achieve far more than we imagine possible. And once we do, it empowers us to do more still.
If you live in south OC and would like to join me on our Wednesday night hikes, let me know!
Special thanks to Allan, Ina, Dave, Amy, Barbara, Cindy, Gloria, Karen and Joan for joining me on the first Wednesday night hike of daylight savings time!