Monday, March 26, 2012

Bishop Peak, The Hunger Games, and Avila Beach

It might come as a surprise to some who know how much I love to sleep in till noon, but I really love the early morning. The air is crisp and clean, the sun is soft, and everything seems so fresh and inviting. And on top of all that, there typically aren't very many people out and about just after sunrise, so the world is all yours. This is how we started the day in San Luis Obispo and it was wonderful.

After a quick breakfast, Erinn and I drove to the trail head for the Bishop Peak trail and got started. The first bit of the hike is an easy stroll under some trees with a lot of wildflowers along the side, but just a few minutes later the incline changes pretty dramatically. To be honest, I thought I would do alright. I've been going jogging recently and I'm definitely in better shape than I was a month ago, but this first incline was a subtle reminder that I still have a long way to go. Nevertheless, Erinn and I continued, undeterred.

We did get a little lost early on when we came across a sign that read "Trail", but had arrows pointing in two directions. Neither of us were sure where to go, so we took the right fork, which was definitely the wrong way to go. We ended up on a horse trail and had to keep a close eye on where we were stepping. The good part is that we were ultimately headed to the top of a 1,500 ft mountain, and it's impossible to get truly lost with the peak right in front of you the whole time.

After going around some barbed wire and a cow pond we found ourselves walking through a nice grove of trees, which brought us around to the south side of the mountain. This is where the trail begins to wind back and forth as it takes you more directly up to the peak. There were lots of eager hikers here who were much quicker than we were and less out of breath. Lots of "Good morning"s were exchanged and quite a few dogs were on the trail. As we got closer to the top, we could just make out the ocean, which is right around 9 or 10 miles away.

Bishop Peak is not the hardest hike we've ever been on, but it's also not the easiest. Going up that mountain was a nice workout and gave us a very rewarding view from the top. Once we got to the peak we took our time resting and sat down to enjoy the view for a while. On the top, there are two benches to sit down on and lots of big boulders to climb around on. Erinn and I found our way to the top of one of the boulders and took in the view.


Eventually, we scrambled down off the rocks and began the hike down the mountain. By this time it was mid morning and there were a lot of people on the trail. There were lots of golden retrievers, a couple dachshunds, and a giant group of people that was carrying a cross up the trail. Going up, I only had to carry my own weight and that itself was enough to keep me out of breath. I can't imagine how much harder the climb would be with a full sized cross on your back. I'm sure they traded off, though. There must have been 80 people in that group. For a few minutes we stood on the side of the trail letting the group pass and then continued on our way. It was a very pleasant stroll down.

It ended up being a 5.5 mile hike round-trip and it took us just over 3 hours. We high fived each other and drove to downtown San Luis where we ate pizza and watched The Hunger Games. A note about that: Solo Pizza has a delicious Pesto Chicken Pizza. I recommend it.

To finish off our quick trip, we drove to Avila Beach to stroll along main street, watch the waves, walk on the pier, and get a snack. We stopped at a candy store and I got the tastiest caramel apple I've had in years and Erinn got some toffee and coffee ice cream. It was a nice way to celebrate the end of a very busy ten weeks of school. It was good to have this trip to look forward to and we had a lot of fun.

Can't wait for the next one.

Untitled from James Walker on Vimeo.

Credit: Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood

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Monday, March 19, 2012

A San Luis Obispo Weekend

By the end of the week I will have finished my second quarter at CSUB and I will be just a teensy bit closer to graduating. There are all sorts of obstacles to overcome there, but as for this quarter, things are going well and I'm looking forward to the end.

I am especially excited about this Saturday. Erinn and I will be heading to San Luis Obispo to hike around, watch Hunger Games, and generally enjoy the beauty of the central coast. We won't be there long, but it's certainly a long-awaited trip after the busy schedule of the last ten weeks.

The plan is to hike Bishop Peak, which is just northwest of downtown San Luis Obispo. It's a beautiful place (as all of San Luis Obispo is) and should bring with it some amazing views of the area. Bishop Peak itself is the tallest of the "nine sisters" and should be a pretty fun little hike.

After the climb we're going to go relax in downtown San Luis Obispo and watch The Hunger Games so it'll be a nice getaway from the busy schedule of home. I'll be sure to post some pictures.


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