Looking eastward from the summit of the Pacheco Pass one shining morning, a landscape was displayed that after all my wanderings still appears as the most beautiful I have ever beheld. At my feet lay the Great Central Valley of California, level and flowery, like a lake of pure sunshine, forty or fifty miles wide, five hundred miles long, one rich furred garden of yellow compositae. And from the eastern boundary of this vast golden flower-bed rose the mighty Sierra, miles in height, and so gloriously colored and so radiant, it seemed not clothed with light, but wholly composed of it, like the wall of celestial city. Along the top and extending a good way down, was a rich pearl-gray belt of snow; below it a belt of blue and dark purple, making the extension of the forests; and stretching along the base of the range a broad belt of rose-purple; all these colors, from the blue sky to the yellow valley smoothly blending as they do in a rainbow, making a wall of light ineffably fine. Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.”
-- John Muir, The Yosemite (1912)
* * * * *
For many years we’ve had an assortment of “regulars” who hike with us as frequently as once a week, or 2-3 times a month. Others come less often.
Whether you become a regular hiker or not obviously depends on how motivated and enthusiastic you are about hiking, whether you can get away on weekends, etc.
For some of you, hiking a few times a year may be enough. You may prefer to spend most of your weekends doing other indoor/outdoor activities, or relaxing.
There are still others of you who tell me you’d like to hike more often, but have interests or responsibilities that make it difficult to do so regularly. Understood.
If something is important to us, however, and we make it a high enough priority, it’s amazing what we can accomplish, even with a totally overloaded schedule.
As some of our more avid regulars have relayed to me over the years, one “secret” is to mark down dates for hikes in your calendar weeks or months ahead of time.
Then when people (friends, relatives, your boss, etc.) try to recruit you for other activities, you can say you have unbreakable commitments for those dates.
By planning to hike weeks in advance, and committing to it, you can almost guarantee it’ll happen (as long as you don’t have a constantly-changing schedule).
And if you do reserve for our hikes well in advance – as many of our regulars do – and you need to switch dates, remember there’s never a penalty for canceling a hike reservation as long as you do so by Monday noon the week of the hike.
The rewards of being a regular include that you get a wonderful multi-hour restorative dose of “nature therapy” – a respite from stress – every week or two.
Can you think of a better or more beautiful time of year than spring to get into a healthy hiking groove? To regularly imbibe those delectable “hiker’s highs”?
-- Charlie Cook