Hiking – learning a few tips

My hiking with a friend last Friday to Mount Tamalpais (locally known as Mt. Tam), the highest point in the Marin County in the Bay Area, was a memorable one.

The hike was from the Pantoll Station to the East Peak (check here) via the Matt Davis Trail, the West Inn, and we came back via the Railroad Grade Fire Road – my Apple Watch registered 13 miles for the entire trip for 5.5 hours of hiking (1 hour was a detour as we went on a wrong track and back and we did not exactly reach the East Peak).

Many have commented on the views of the Bay, the redwood trees, the water bridges, the serpentine rocks, and how shady and gradual most of the trail is. We did not disappoint. The West Inn provides a much-needed resting point for bathroom breaks and water refill, plus we felt wonderful and serene looking at the views.

My friend, being a more experienced hiker, taught me several things about hiking.

1. Bring only what you need. I almost brought my jacket but it was probably over 75 degrees F up there and I also left my wallet at the car.

2. Need for a hiking stick and hat.  Never underestimate how far one has to walk. The stick will definitely help when one is walking up and down a gradient and to prevent slipping. The hat is an absolute must with the summer sun.

3. Hydrate! This is obvious and one needs to check on water refilling points during the route or else one has to bring at least 2 big bottles of water.

4. Food. Carbohydrate/fruit/dried fruit will give you that glucose kick you need. Nuts and peanut butter filled pretzels (traders joe) are very good.  Some people carry bread with them and eat them on the way. Beware of taking protein/chocolate bars as they could melt or become mushy along the way. Also, eat something before the long hike to prevent low sugar especially when one has to walk fast uphill after a detour.

5. Walk at a gradual pace to keep your stamina. Hiking is one of the best exercises for your health. It is considered a form of meditation and so walk at a nice, steady pace.

6. Map.  It is crucial especially the path is new to you. We thought that we would never get lost at Mt. Tam as it is pretty close to the urban area. We thought we were on the right path back but we actually went further east from the East Peak instead of heading back to the West. Glad we checked the map.

7. Cellphone. It is not only important for an emergency but also for lighting when it gets dark.

8. Ask for guidance. There are many experienced hikers along the way and so always ask for suggested routes to make your hike even better.

9.  Decide whether you want to hike alone.  This is not my preference as it is always so much more fun to connect with or catch up with a friend/family member via hiking. However, we did see many lone hikers.

When we left Marin, we received a gift – seeing the big blood (red) moon hanging low at the horizon as July 27th was the century’s longest lunar eclipse. We also brought back some beautiful serpentine rocks as a memoir for the hike!

The Peak

Last Sunday in Hong Kong, the typhoon signal no. 1 was still on.  We went and walked around the peak for a walk-a-thon for my nephew’s school.

What a refreshing walk!

Beautiful and big banana leaves along the walk
Beautiful and big banana (?)leaves along the walk
Large trees over the walkway like a gate
Large trees over the walkway like a gate
Hazy look of Kowloon from the Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
Hazy look of Kowloon from the Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
Another view - the typhoon look
Another view – the typhoon look
The East Side of Hong Kong
The Mountainous Hong Kong
Followed by a cup of tea in a Gallery Cafe in Causeway Bay
Followed by a cup of tea in a Gallery Cafe in Causeway Bay


Back to Nature

Having been away for a few weeks living in one of the most densely-populated cities in the world, I hear the nature crying for me.  By chance, after I came back to the Bay Area, I read this enlightening blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, and guessed which image I chose? Yes, rainforest walk, and the natural world is my “magical healing environment”!

So, in the past weekend we took a walk in one of my favorite rural places to take in as many negative ions (they are actually very positive and healthy for you) and create as much healing energy as possible.  We visited the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreational Area in Union City/Fremont, which is part of the East Bay Regional Parks System.   This area also has the Alameda Creek Regional Trail which runs for 12 miles along the Alameda Creek from Union City/Fremont to the San Francisco Bay.  The area is full of history – original home for the Ohlone native Indians, 5 Spanish expeditions and then missions and has now become a public domain.  The Quarry Lake area is great for bicycling, swimming, hiking, running, fishing, dog walking, and in some parts along the creek, horse-back riding (maybe next time I will try the horses).

Quarry Lake Recreational Area in Fremont in the East Bay