Peaceful at Dawn: Hiking Challenge: Weeks 1 through 5

Hiking Challenge: Weeks 1 through 5

Last month, I read about the 52-week hiking challenge (one hike a week for 52 weeks straight) from a fellow blogger, Alisen Dopf, and it inspired my husband and me. I’m a little behind on blogging, but we have hiked for five weeks in a row now, and I would like to share the start of our journey. It’s been a little slow for the same reason that I have not blogged much (the 4th of July celebrations and catching a cold), but I am determined to get out there every week to meet our goal. I’ve taken most of these photos with my iPhone 12 Pro Max (I like to hike light), so I am sharing for John’s Cellpic Sunday.

Week 1 – Keeping It Local: Prospect Park (1.05 miles)

Prospect Park in Redlands, California, includes a trail along the orange grove that was planted in 1896. The old irrigation system and stone walls still line the trail.
Part of Prospect Park trail overlooks an old orange grove from 1800’s, with a view of San Bernardino Mountains in the background. This is a very clear day for summertime.

Week 2 – In the Heat of the Desert: Snow Valley State Park, Saint George, Utah (.51 miles)

We took a little road trip to Saint George, Utah, for our best friend’s birthday shortly before the 4th of July–not really my favorite time of year to visit the desert, but it was for a good cause. As we approached the western end of Santa Clara (outside Saint George), I was kicking myself for forgetting my Nikon on the kitchen counter at home. Luckily, I have a decent phone. I’m including some photos of the road trip for Terri’s Sunday Stills–Road Trippin’, but I really wish we were traveling all over the countryside like her!

Yet, with a mini road trip, I found peaceful scenery and a short hike early (5:30 am!) in the morning, before the sun rose over the rocks. I have not been to this part of Utah; we used to travel to Zion like the rest of the visitors. To my surprise, there’s a lot more to see outside of the national parks, like this volcanic area west of Saint George. I hadn’t planned on finding a state park, and as the sun quickly rose, I tried to hike a trail before the sun came up over the rock walls. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan it too well and didn’t realize it was only half of a mile roundtrip. By the time we finished our exploration of the slot canyon and reached the end of the trail, the sun was up and that was it for hiking for the day. Perhaps we will return in the late fall, after the 110-degree weather and before the snow, to check out the petroglyphs, sand dunes, and lava tube caves.

Week 3 – Local Canyon Hike: San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary (1.23 miles)

Well, my mini road trip wore me out and I got sick. Four Covid tests and a doctor’s visit all say it’s not the Vid. I thought I was better and got out to hike a short, local trail early in the morning before the heat. It’s a little different in the summer, and I was reminded of Arizona as soon as I saw a tarantula wasp flying by. I will try to revisit this area again to hike further–once it’s cooler and the tarantula wasps are gone.

Week 4 – Foggy Canyon Hike: Quail Trail through Shady Canyon (2.09 miles)

After three hot hikes, I thought I’d change it up. My husband suggested this trailhead in Irvine, California, where we lived when we first returned to California. It is a very long trail and steep for someone not in shape, but at least it was beautiful outside–very peaceful and quiet. We turned around at the one-mile point, but I can’t wait to be ready to hike much further. There were quail (obviously), deer, many birds of prey, and a roadrunner (who was too fast for the camera). I even found a cute little creek and had a view overlooking a lake. This trail heads west to the beach–need I say more?

Week 5 – Recovery Hike: Easy Trail at Caroline Park (.55 miles)

Well, that last hike might not have been a great idea after being sick, because I had a relapse. Still not the Vid, but I don’t dare overdo it. I chose another local hike just to get outside.

Bright, hazy day on an early morning summer hike at Caroline Park, Redlands, California.
Trail around Caroline Park in Redlands, California.

Only 47 more weeks to go to hit our 52-week challenge! My short-term focus (besides not getting sick again) is to be ready to hike in Hawaii when we return there in September for our 30th anniversary trip.

Hiking a trail in Waimea Valley that ends at Waimea Falls in Oahu, Hawaii.

Hope everyone has been well and having a peaceful summer (or winter for those of you in the south).