Training Tuesdays: Santa Cruz Coastal Hike

I’ve been doing a lot of training hikes in the last few months to prepare for my upcoming Camino, so today begins a new series, Training Tuesdays. This is where the tread meets the trail.

But first, why all this training? Here are my reasons:

  1. To build physical endurance. I’ll be walking 10-15 miles a day to cover the last 100 +/- miles of the Camino Portugues. I walk an average of 4-5 miles on a typical weekday, so I’ve added longer hikes on weekends.
  2. To test my gear. Backpack, shoes, clothes, and iPhone Apps. By now, most of these items have been fully tested and trail approved. I’m happy with my Sirrus backpack, and reviews for everything else will be shared soon.
  3. To learn from others. Throughout this series I’ll share the helpful hints of the wise pilgrims and experienced thru-hikers I’ve had the pleasure of blazing a trail with.
  4. To explore Bay Area trails. I’ve lived here all my life and never got around to hiking Mt. Diablo or Mt. Tam, two of the highest peaks in the area.  Thanks to the Camino, I’m familiar with these parks and a few more.

Oh, how the Camino provides. I have a lot to catch up on, so here’s a hike that I organized with peregrina friend Cathy Seitchik Diaz in January.

It’s Getting Wild in Santa Cruz!

At Wilder Ranch State Park, that is. On January 30, 2016, nine pilgrims gathered for a coastal hike on a trail recommended by Santa Cruz residents Cathy Seitchik Diaz and Dave Stewart. There were a few #PilgrimStrong moments when we had to change course to avoid mud, or trudge right through it. Once again, trekking poles to the rescue! A good time was had by all.

This brief write-up was part of an article I wrote for the March 2016 La Concha Newsletter that appeared on page 12.

LaConchaMarch2016Page12

Download La Concha March 2016 (PDF)

Team La Concha put the photos in the wrong place on the page, so for the record, this is the photo that matches the Santa Cruz hike (not the Lake Merritt walk):

SantaCruzHike

Photo courtesy of Lori Donohoe and her selfie stick.

Things I learned:

Someone, who shall remain nameless, said that placing panty liners in the soles of your shoes will absorb sweat. The long and thin kind with wings so you can wrap them around the insole so they’ll stay put. At the end of the day, discard the sweaty liners and your insoles will be dry!  The thought of using something “with wings” just might put a little spring in my step, at least psychologically. I’m willing to try anything, so on a hot day I’ll give it a go and report my experience , with wings!

Mud doesn’t kill us, it just makes us stronger! After a week of rain in Santa Cruz, there were some deep muddy patches on the trail. We had to decide if we wanted to take the steep banks through the grasses, or step on through it. We did a variety of both and got quite muddy. This was a true test for my Adidas Terrex  Swift gortex boots. My feet stayed dry! The Cascade Mountain trekking poles were also very helpful in these sticky situations.

It surprised me that I wasn’t thirsty at all during the hike! I only drank about half a liter of water. I’m thinking this was because the humidity surrounding us in the air, ground and ocean.  Hence, I didn’t need to use the bathroom during the nearly 4-hour adventure. This was fine by me because there were no bathrooms except for at parking lot trail head.

The image below is the track of our hike I recorded with the AllTrails App. It wasn’t as dry and brown like this satellite photo, which must have been taken during the drought.  The landscape was very lush and green after all the winter rain we’ve had.  It was so refreshing to be walking along the coast! I highly recommend this hike if you’re in the Santa Cruz area.  Wilder Ranch State Park is about 15 minutes drive north of Santa Cruz. Check out more hike details of our hike on the AllTrails App.

AllTrails hike map

Satellite view of our hike tracked with AllTrails App

Hike Stats:

DISTANCE: 8.75 mi
AVERAGE SPEED: 2.8 mph
MOVING TIME: 03:05:43
ELEVATION GAIN: 371 feet
MAX SPEED: 4.2 mph
TOTAL TIME: 03:22:00

Stay tuned next Tuesday for my hike to the peak of Mount Diablo. You will understand why it’s called Devil’s Mountain!

See you on the trail!

3 thoughts on “Training Tuesdays: Santa Cruz Coastal Hike

  1. My training hikes have made for funny stories. While training for my last hike, a woman came up to me to ask when I had the baby. I’m in my 60s so you can Imagine how confused I was. I guess she mistook the backpack for a child carrier. Hiking can make your feel younger, but I doubt it could change the clock that much.

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