Friday, September 16, 2011

Wildwood Park, Paradise Falls and Lizard Rock

Today I took a hike in Wildwood Park. I started at the main parking lot and took the trail east to Indian Creek Trail. The first part of the hike descended quickly into the canyon with sporadic cover from Oak and Sycamore trees. Once I reached the bottom I crossed the creek and continued along the flat trail to the Nature Center. I took the Wildwood Canyon Trail from there to the Teepee Trail. I took the Teepee Trail because I knew the majority of the loop I wanted to take was flat and I wanted to get some more uphill hiking in. 

I rested at the Teepee for a few minutes and had a snack. I went to the edge of the canyon to see if Paradise Falls was in sight, but I could only see the pool of water it falls into. I continued down the Teepee trail to where it meets with the Paradise Falls Trail. Here there is a decent view of the waterfall from above. I heard two women saying that they just saw a snake so I was extra watchful on the way down. 

I rested at the base of Paradise Falls for a few and took in the sound of the water. I continued down the trail from there towards Lizard Rock. The trail was fairly flat, crossing the stream a few times. I walked through a few nice picnic areas down there with many tables and BBQ pits. Soon after that I could hear trucks from the water treatment plant at the end of the canyon. The trail ascended at the plant around a hill and up a few switchbacks. I stayed focused on my breathing on the way up and tried to ignore the sights and sounds of the plant. 

Once on top of the switchbacks I decided to take the trail to the top of Lizard Rock. I sat on the peak for a bit and looked back on where I had been. It was pretty hazy so I could not see the mountains very well. From there the trail dropped fast at first and then leveled off on a wide, dusty trail (Mesa Trail) that leads directly to the parking lot.

I was happy with the way my feet felt at the end of today, I think the thicker socks are working well. I still am going to get better insoles soon though because the stock ones are paper thin where I step the hardest. I used my Ospry Dayite pack and loved it. I took one 1.5L Camelbak hydration bladder and 2 One Litre Platypus bottles. I emptied the bladder and only busted into the bottle at the parking lot. I also brought my light jacket but didn't need it. There was plenty of extra space in the pack so It will work for longer day hikes as well.

I focused on three things today on the trail:

1. Breathing. I was taking smooth, deep breaths in rhythm with my pace.
2. Trekking Poles. I was trying to make them feel as natural as possible.
3. Looking up. I was trying not to look at my feet.

I want these to be second nature to be by the time I hike the JMT, so focusing on them now is really important. I was very pleased with how natural these things came today.

All in all I hiked around 4 miles in around 2 hours, and I definitely was not pushing myself.

Wildwood Park, Paradise Falls and Lizard Rock

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