Penasquitos Canyon in Late Summer

Aren’t goals wonderful fun? Especially our own goals, the little things that we endeavor on our own, just for fun, and don’t have to worry about failure?

For those of you who have followed this blog, you know that hiking is new for me. I lived 43 years with an ankle so sore I would come home from work and need to ice or elevate it and hope it would be okay for the next day. My left ankle has no cartilage. To my surprise, last April I took a five-mile hike with friends and woke up with everything sore “but” my left ankle. That day I was bit by the hiking bug.

I am such a newbie, I hardly know the rules of the road: how to dress, what to take and where to go. Fortunately I have a couple of real mentors who have been leading me. What I don’t know is the real limitations of this injured ankle. So, I keep pushing to find that limit. I haven’t reached it yet.
I know hills are hard for me, I am slower than everyone; but I can’t blame that on my ankle, it is my lack of conditioning. I am so new at this, I am still trying to figure out how to “get” into condition with a hectic work schedule. But walking on flat land (not concrete)—how far can I expect my body to be able to walk? I think human beings should be able to walk thirty miles. I made that up, but that seems reasonable to me. But how far can I walk and be able to walk the next day? That is the upper limit I am pushing. In June I gave myself a goal to walk twelve miles before the end of summer. I won’t make it; my schedule makes it prohibitive, but I will make it this fall. I picked twelve miles because Penasquitos Canyon has a twelve mile round-trip trail. I picked this trail because I know it is an easy, beautiful trail, I am not afraid of walking it by myself and I wouldn’t be dependent on a hiking partner.

My first step toward the twelve-mile goal was to top my previous record of 9 +miles ( with a ten-miler on the Penasquitos Canyon trail. A friend and I did this in late July. We took two cars, putting one at each end. We walked six miles from the west end to the east end; then walked back westward to the 2-mile marker and then back to the eastern end where we had one of our cars parked. (6 + 2 + 2= 10 miles).

I hiked this same trail one way in January; you can refer to it here if you are interested in seeing how different it looks in the summer:  (

We started at 6:30 am and took our time, finishing around 12:30 p.m. I met my goal of ten miles!!! No blisters or heat stroke or exhaustion!

I was surprised to see how many wildflowers had withstood the summer heat. We went off the path and took a little bunny path down into the waterfalls, climbing back up at about forty-five degrees, giggling at ourselves and having so much fun. We jumped over rocks at the waterfalls, slipping and getting are shoes wet—enjoying the coolness of it all. Lots of summer fun!

Enjoy the photos (captions below). Next goal: twelve miles. Wish me luck!

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Walking in the Mist

On a cool Saturday morning in July, I walked in the mist with two of my friends in the Torrey Pines State Park, just north of La Jolla.  We decided to start on the south end and walk toward the beach parking lot, coming back to our cars later in the afternoon along the beach when we supposed it would be hotter.

We followed every trail, up and down (but not to the beach), literally walking in the mist until we got to the road that led us to the beach parking lot. There were times I felt we were in another state or even another country. The sandstone cliffs with their red rock and the wind caves could be a touch of southern Utah or the Sahara Desert in Africa.

We stopped at a picnic table near the parking lot for lunch and then walked south along the water until we had to climb the trail straight up from the beach. By then it was warm and the trail up was quite challenging, but we made it. We hiked over seven miles that day.

If you haven’t been to Torrey Pines State Park, give it a try and be sure to walk the Guy Fleming Trail. You will see wildflowers almost year ’round. Enjoy the slide show or the photos below:

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