On Sunday, May 5th, I really didn’t feel like hiking. I just wasn’t feeling very motivated. I’ve been working on a difficult book edit, the 5th anniversary of my dad’s death is looming in the immediate future, and I just felt blah.
I had originally planned to hike in the Laguna Mountain area, but thanks to my blahtitude, I was slow to get moving in the morning, and the later it got, the less I felt like driving three hours, round-trip, to do the hike.
It wasn’t until 11:00 a.m. that I finally kicked myself hard enough in the butt to decide on a hike closer to home… preferably an easy one so I could try out my backpacking backpack for the first time. I figured I would fill my pack up with all the gear I’ve accumulated so far to see how it felt to hike with the weight.
The area that seemed to meet the criteria best was the Santa Ysabel Upper Creek Preserve, just outside of Julian, California. The Kanaka Loop Trail is rated as “moderate” on AllTrails, but based on a previous hike in the preserve, I had it in my head that it would be flat. It turned out to be more hilly than I thought, and with my backpack on, it was pretty challenging.
I was doing great until about mile six. That is when I really felt the weight of my pack (I didn’t think to weigh it until it was too late). I can definitely see why backpackers talk about reducing weight wherever they can. My knees and feet felt the difference, but two days later—as I write this—they are fine, and that’s what matters to me.
The final two miles of the hike were tough. I took a lot of breaks and questioned my sanity, but I survived. Best of all, it got me out of the funk I was in. The exercise, fresh air, and beautiful scenery were just what I needed.