Sunday, September 21, 2008

Something Clicked! ....and Hiking in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park

I've got it! That elusive thing called motivation. It's not seeping out of my pores or anything but it's enough that I want to track and feel a real desire to meet (but not exceed) my weight-gain goal. I'm feeling real ownership of this goal. I started my meal tracking at GoogleDocs and plan to waltz into my nutrition appointment with one month of tracking.

My returned motivation is partly due to all the encouragement you guys gave me. As the "You can do it!"'s and the "We believe in you!"'s came in something just clicked in my brain. Yes, I can do it. These people know my struggle and they believe and by golly they are right! A million thank you's for the support, it really makes a difference in my life.

So what else have I accomplished this weekend? I've been hankering for some hiking and when Weekend Sherpa described a hike in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park above Calistoga in the Napa Valley, well, it was just what I was looking for. The weather was beyond perfect, sunny but not hot, a nice breeze now and then, enough clouds in the sky to provide gorgeous backdrops and welcome shade.

We started out headed for Table Rock, a rock formation that's supposed to be out there somewhere. It wasn't very far into the hike before we got huge payoff views. Here I am at the first vista.

Did I lie about the gorgeousness of it all? This was less than a mile in.

And just around the bend, another beautiful view of the Napa Valley. Here's my favorite hiking buddy posing for me :) I really couldn't believe that this awe-inspiring hike was hiding away up here.

About 1.3 miles in we came upon an incredible rock formation. Big huge pieces of rock jutting out of the ground. I felt like a kid in a playground. We climbed all over it and had fun taking pictures and posing like we'd summitted Mt. Everest.


Notice the sky? Days like these fill me with gratitude. We decided this was the perfect spot for lunch. We had deli sandwiches and fruit. I had a chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat bread with avocado. That and my banana was a meal I could feel good about.

The views were nearly 360°. Here I am dangling my feet like a little girl.

After lunch we carried on toward Table Rock. We practically had the place to ourselves. We saw only a handful of people all day. But probably the greatest thing about this hike, besides the views, was the changing landscape. We'd go over barren, rocky patches and then be pushing our way through 6' tall vegetation and manzanita bushes. Miguel was having all kinds of fun playing with all the rocks. He got a little big for his britches though when he tried to move this one!

For a while in college I considered majoring in Geology, I just love rocks and terrain and stuff. How excited was I when we came upon a rock garden, with a labyrinth! Out here in the middle of nowhere!

I almost feel guilty sharing all these pictures with you. But come to Northern California!! I promise we'll share :) Here's Miguel next to another fabulous rock thingy. Made me wish I had my old Geology teacher, Mr. Hamilton, with me to explain what all these things were.

So we were happily hiking along and enjoying the scenery when we started to wonder if we were ever going to get to Table Rock. It wasn't getting late really but we also didn't want to push it and have to hurry back to the car. We decided to hike a little while longer and see what we see. While I wouldn't describe the hike as grueling, we were both sweating and some of the uphills had me breathing deeply. I'd forgotten to wear my heart rate monitor, which bummed me out. I feel better when I know I'm not pushing it.

Anyway, further hiking brought us no closer to anything that looked like Table Rock so we decided to turn back. About a half-mile back we noticed another trail that we probably should have taken. We hiked down that for a bit and decided it was probably the trail to Table Rock. But by this time we were both sort of ready to make the return trek to the car.

So, sadly, no Table Rock for us. I can't say I'm disappointed. The weather, the beauty, the rocks, the blue sky, the breeze, the plate was overflowing. We hiked 4.3 miles in all. But with the sometimes treachourous terrain it really felt like more. All told we were out there about 3 hours.

My aunt is in town visiting my mom so on the way home I decided to call and see if they wanted us to stop by for dinner. Yep! We decided on Chinese Food. I probably burned a ton of calories during the hike, and I'm not supposed to be losing weight, so I decided Chinese Food was an acceptable choice. We had a nice dinner and by the time we got home I was exhausted! I slept so good last night.

Next week I'm shooting to track all week, get in two additional days of at least 30 minutes exercise, and reap the benefits of my newfound motivation. Oh! In my next post I need to update you on my plans for the Oly in October, the Marin Triathlon. Rest assured, I will be there one way or another!!