One Way to Get High

Trip Start Jun 22, 2010
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, September 18, 2011

Despite an absolutely gorgeous day, I was a little down. Laziness, bad TV and the couch beckoned. My husband was feeling the same way and had resigned himself to the sofa. As much as I too wanted to succumb, I knew I needed to get out and enjoy the perfect day. My girlfriends were all at work or out of town, so it was up to me to get moving. Luckily an upcoming trip to Yosemite motivated me to do some climbing and work those leg muscles. With sad tunes on the radio and a sigh in my heart, I drove down to Garrapata State Park one of my favorite spots between Monterey and Big Sur.

The Rocky Ridge trail is a brutal 1700 foot climb in 2 miles.  With each step, I questioned why I was doing this.  My calves began to ache earlier than expected and my lungs begged for a break. The sun beat down; it was much hotter than the previous times I've climbed this mountain. Luckily incredible views of the Pacific Coast provided great excuses to stop, catch my breath, and take in the scenery. Sapphire waves lapped at marine cliffs. Barking sea lions punctuated the fresh air.

 A passerby informed me she spotted a baby rattlesnake further up the trail. Again I questioned my decision but kept going. I told myself to just put one foot in front of the other. I climbed above the hawks looking down at a cloud clinging to a smaller mountain. At 1400 feet above sea level, a bench rewards the tired climber with a needed break. I sat for ten minutes letting the blood drain from my head.  I wondered if I should call it quits as I looked up at the last few hundred feet.  I decided to power through and in another ten minutes I had reached the summit. To the east, the Santa Lucia Mountains bordered Carmel Valley. To the northwest, the coastlines of Carmel Highlands and Point Lobos. To the south the distant trailhead was barely visible along the now tiny Highway 1. I took a deep breath and felt the rush of endorphins.

Going down is a little hard on the knees but easy on the eyes and heart. The car ride home:  radio blaring, sunroof down, grinning ear to ear. No medicinal marijuana needed for me.  Life was again good.
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