Your mission, LadyLinoleum, should you choose to accept it is as follows:
- 5 mile hike beginning at roughly 7:30 pm PDT
- 2.5 miles to top of trail and back
- 1,100 foot elevation gain
- 2 hrs and 5 minutes from start to finish
- hike rating - moderately strenuous
So, the SMF and I pull up to the meeting place (near PCH and Sunset) at approximately 6:45 pm on Friday night. I scan the crowd. Most of the participants look to be in their 40s, 50s, with a handful a few decades older. I breathe a sigh of relief. I should be fine, right? I'm in relatively good shape and hey, if this crowd can handle the hike, I'm golden.
Anyway, after signing in and waiving the SC of any responsibility should we injure ourselves at anytime during the hike *hint, hint*, the SMF and I are whisked away by the carpool wave and dropped off at the beginning point of our evening's journey. Requisite announcements were made by one of three group leaders (a guy who looked to be in his 80s and a little unsteady, I might add) and then we were off...AT LIGHTENING SPEED.
Could someone have told me that we were going to walk what felt like 10 minute miles from the start so that I could have done a few runner's stretches beforehand? Oh, and could someone have also informed me that the 1,100 foot elevation gain happened to be THE ENTIRE FRONT END OF THE HIKE? Yeah, there was no gradual elevation gain on this hike. No siree. First 45 minutes into the hike was all steep incline. I felt like a mountain goat on meth.
Worst part? That 80 year old guy who looked a bit wobbly? Yeah, he blew by me in the first five minutes of the hike.
At the top of the trail, the SMF and I were praised for "making good time". A few of the regulars seemed surprised by this and rewarded us by inviting us to join in their group Fig Newton break before turning around and heading down. We thanked them, but decided to forego the Newtons in order to snap a few shots of the view before making our way back.
I have never before enjoyed a downhill journey more than this one, peeps...
Anyhoo, upon reaching the end of our night's adventure, we received more praise for our hiking speed and prowess, the leaders thanking us profusely for NOT holding up the carpool (as some newbies are wont to do by virtue of their turtle-like hiking skills). In fact, the old guard even invited us to join them for their traditional Souplantation post meth-hike meal AND invited us back for next Friday night's jaunt.
Yeah, I need to think about that invite a little longer before I RSVP...