The lack of adventure in my life felt tangible. Too much rain and snow had kept me inside like a wolf made into a house dog. When Bec made plans for Saturday with friends, I jumped at the chance to do my first overnight for the year. I had my pack ready in an hour. I was on my way to Timber Peak. The peak follows the same trail system as Cucamonga Peak, only it’s a bit shorter and with less elevation gain.
While I was at it, I thought I’d use the opportunity to push up my cardio, so I loaded my pack extra heavy. I put in a lot more water than I needed. It was pretty close to 50lbs. Sweat started to drip off my head a mile into the trail. That said, from the Icehouse Canyon Trailhead, I managed to make the 4.5 miles and 3300+ ft elevation gain to Timber Peak with no breaks. It felt good to arrive with a little excess cardio.
As silly as it sounds, I think we all need a lot more adventure in our lives, times we just go do something out of the routine. Find the beauty. Learn. Take risks. Push ourselves. It resets our brains from the endless drone of email, social media, TV, and work responsibilities.
I got up there just in time to set camp and walk to an open ridge where I could watch the sunset. It was stunning. Wow. It made me want to raise my hands to heaven like those corny stock photos of mountaineers. I savored the time until last light then headed back up to camp. Sleep was terrible. I hadn’t cooled down long enough. The full moon rose like a spotlight at the baseball stadium. The wind kicked up and started to howl through the trees and canyons below. Being a “cold sleeper,” my 20-degree bag didn’t quite cut it in 35 degrees. Luckily, I had three extra layers.
I woke up to a sunrise that was as beautiful as the sunset the night before. In a moment, I forgot about that crappy night’s sleep. I had a great cup of instant Starbucks coffee (it’s actually pretty good) and some oatmeal. I dumped my extra water and felt great on the way down with a lighter pack. I was home by 9:00 am.
As silly as it sounds, I think we all need a lot more adventure in our lives, times we just go do something out of the routine. Find the beauty. Learn. Take risks. Push ourselves. It resets our brains from the endless drone of email, social media, TV, and work responsibilities. For me, it just makes me human again.
Author’s note: I wrote this post five years ago. This was actually the first time I had overnighted alone backpacking. Little did I know that this was the beginning of an annual ritual of solo hiking that would take me places I never could have dreamed of – including the John Muir Trail. You never know where you might end up when you step out of your comfort zone. So what is your next adventure?