I always say I'd rather hike to something rather than just "go hiking." Some people love to just set out and get lost. I'd much rather have a destination in mind, an achievable goal.
So very often in California I find myself climbing mountains or anything with a peak, so that halfway through my hike, I can be proud of my success, and spend the second half going home - downhill.
After climbing 1000 feet, there is always a downhill. Right?
It helps to create milestones along the way, dividing the hike up into little bite-sized chunks of a quarter mile, a third mile, a half mile at a time rather than trying to digest 6 miles (or 11 miles, or 40 miles, or whatever) all at once.
I know I can make it from the parking lot to the Warren Peak trailhead.
I know I'll survive 0.2 miles to the water tank.
I can handle a single-track trail atop black rocks...
...with no shade given by fallen joshua trees.
I can slog another 0.8 miles up a sandy wash, through a spring. There is no visible water, but tons of greenery and the deafening flutter of birds escaping my disturbance.
If I rest in the shade under a pine tree, I can keep going.
If I can see the peak in the distance, I can climb it.
If I know it's 400 feet above where I am now, I can elevate myself.
If it's just a little bit farther - not to home, just to the top - summiting is feasible.
When I get to the top, I look down upon the Morongo Basin I left, out there below, knowing it's a mere three miles to return.
I do not perish. I am not in peril.
I do not melt in the noontime sun, or stroke from the summertime heat.
It's not a big mountain. But it's so much farther, and so much higher, than I could go just three years ago.
High View Nature Trail
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