July's Training Hikes

It’s that time of year again.  The dog days of summer have returned.  Not my favorite season. However, I look forward to hiking through the local mountains in preparation for our annual PCH Bonding Trip.  This year, at the end of July, we plan to summit San Jacinto Peak.

This past Sunday, our group hiked the Foresee Creek trail to Johns Meadow in the San Gorgonio wilderness, for the first of two training hikes.  

Last week, during the first of several heat waves yet to come, I noticed dark clouds surrounding the San Bernardino Mountains.  Like walking mid-day through a desert in the middle of summer and seeing a tropical body of water or mirage, I wondered what it would be like to be under those voluminous clouds.  Surely, it must be cooler than the 100+ degree temperatures in the Inland Empire.  

Well, I tell you, it was AMAZING.  During our Sunday morning hike,  the trails came alive.  I am not speaking about the sounds of our labored breathing, neither the souls of our shoes stepping over the earth nor our occasional chatter to each other.  Instead, we heard the sky growl and the trails chime with barely visible droplets of precipitation that thrummed on the foliage in nature’s concert hall.  I tell you again, the trails came alive like a philharmonic tuning up before beginning to play Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565.  

We had concerns that the elevated temperatures would follow us up the mountains and make the hike a hot, muggy slog.  However, to the contrary, the cool moisture that came down from the clouds was refreshing.  The damp ground absorbed the sound of our footsteps further elevating the vibrant acoustics of the tree leaves applauding as we walked by.

After  completing the six-mile hike, with just over 500 feet of elevation gain, everyone felt good for our first training hike.  There were not too many aches to fuss about.  For our well-deserved celebration afterwards, we were treated to ice tea, beer, chips and homemade salsa at the Pacini’s.  Ralph makes a good salsa, sort of a tradition.  The training hikes most often begin and end at the Pacini’s mountain residence.  What a great half-day to spend with good friends.

As our sore feet rest and our haunches recuperate, we look forward to next Sunday’s training hike following the San Bernardino Peak Trail up from Angeles Oaks to Manzanita Flats.  It will be around 8 miles round trip with just over 1,500 feet of elevation gain.  Definitely a great test for the old knees and glutes.

Looking forward to it.  Keep climbing!