Posts tagged california
Wanderlust- Never Lost And Always Found
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Several weeks ago a friend and I sat on a near by patio at a local cafe sipping almond milk latte’s, while we talked about life, adventures and travel; okay we talked about our happy place. From their time folded and we had our first adventure planned out. He showed me images from one of his recent trips to the Mojave Desert. I’m always amazed that within a few hours you can literally feel like you’re in another world. That idea alone sets my soul on fire!

As a few weeks went by, we had it all planned out. We were desert bound. There’s something about the air as soon as you leave LA. For me it’s a sense of freedom… I feel lighter, more centered not mention creative. I simply feel alive. I can’t stress enough how important it is to re-energize your soul. I used to be a person that would hang around waiting for others to plan something or I would just hang out letting time pass thinking that was enough. Until I went down a new path in life, one which I met myself front and center. My time became more valuable, my heart had a new awareness of happiness and my soul craved adventure.

It was my first time hiking the sand dunes. I’ve heard the expression “God’s Country” and well this was exactly that. It’s where I felt closer to my beloved father, who I was and who I am. Im not sure if Im explaining myself accurately, but there’s this feeling I get being vulnerable in the outdoors that excite’s and also frightens me. I can feel how the climate affects my body and mental state. While walking through the untouched land hearing all the peculiar noises unsure if there’s going to be a poisonous snake that could bite you and if that happens the fear of what to do. After all we were so far out and no hospital would be close enough should we urgently need one.

As we trekked the sand dunes I realized something. That as evolved and skilled as I’ve become in life and the outdoors, Im still connected to the woman that feared the unknown. The person that was scared to take risks, worried I would be too out of my comfort zone. Well it lasted a moment, then realizing it was just a state of mind and I had the option to have full control.

If you haven’t been to the Mojave desert then I highly suggest you go! Make sure you take enough water and layers to keep yourself protected from the sun and later cool air. The wind will blow the sand unexpectedly so a buff or bandana is a must. I recommend taking trekking poles, they’re extremely useful when hiking up the slippery sand and when coming down reducing the impact to your knees. I hope this place brings you clarity and a new found respect for mother nature .

With each day we grow, with each experience we evolve and with each adventure we set ourselves free

-Ashiko

Calorie Burning/Toning/Conditioning Day Hikes, Mount Baldy 10,064 Elevation
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No Hills? No problem! Understandably, not everyone will have access to trails with hills and/or elevation gain. However there’s a few exercises that can be done in a gym to mimic those movements to gain the same effects of hiking! I’ve recently tried the VersaClimber for endurance training and loved it- -even though it kicked my butt! Should you want to make it even more challenging, try a weighted vest, wrist weights t or ankle weights to intensify your heart rate. Remember to keep your arms moving- -this way, when you do end up using trekking poles, you”ll be engaging your core muscles with the correct posture, getting that upper body workout in. The Stairmaster and treadmill are also great machine to use with a combination of moderate to high incline, and again taking some extra weight will help you burn those extra calories helping mimic the weight you would carry in your bag. on a hike. Keep in mind that on a hike like Mount Baldy, 3 liters of water is sufficient, which equals to 6.6 lbs along with the rest of your gear. If you can’t make it to the trail frequently, don’t sweat it- -weighted cardioid the gym can absolutely condition you for the outdoors!

Mount Baldy, located in San Bernardino County near the eastern border of Los Angeles surrounded by the tall trees of Angeles National forest, is known amongst the outdoor community as great day-hiking trail you can utilize to keep yourself conditioned almost all season long. It’s easy to get to (roughly 1 hr from Central Los Angeles depending on traffic), and has several trails you can take depending on the distance you’re looking to trek and/or the altitude you’re looking to gain. The only permit you’ll need is an adventure pass, which is a parking pass and can be purchased online or at REI and must be displayed in your vehicle window when using the forest for recreation purposes. A day pass will be $5 and annual pass $30 which can be used for Angeles National Forest, Cleveland National Forest and Los Padres National Forest.

I have to admit, there’s not much I love more then strength training and conditioning in the gym. Having access to hight-tech equipment with various options for resistance training is amazing, but every now and then I crave a new environment where I can get a good workout in that really challenges and more so inspires me. Hiking all season long is more then just a passion, it’s a lifestyle-- and being properly conditioned is key to really enjoying long distance hikes with high elevation.

It’s amazing how much my endurance has improved over the last 4 1/2 months with all the hikes I’ve done along with regular conditioning at the gym. Day hikes have become an adventurous workout, and having access to mountains like Mount Baldy really is special. If your looking to burn some calories, tone and condition your muscles day hiking is for you! I usually wear my Apple Watch and try to keep track of calories, distance, steps and flights accumulated. From where I parked to the summit and back I burned approximately 1,800 calories and walked just over 12 miles.

Knowing what to pack from food, hydration and clothing is so important to enjoying any hike, especially when the climate is either hot or on this particular day, cold. I had just bought my Arc’teryx Belt LT shell and was beyond excited to break it in. After my hike to Mount Whitney I knew I needed a shell with more features such as the pit vents which is crucial to avoid sweating. Its worth the extra expense and I would highly recommend it.

I hope this inspires you to explore other trails in so Cal or create that hiking environment in the gym.

-Ashiko

Thank you to Emma Zander

Mount San Jacinto
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When was the last time you did something that made you feel connected, centered and spiritually awake? I had the opportunity to experience this and join some adventurous souls as we hiked Mount San Jacinto, located in Southern California with an elevation of 10,833 feet and a round trip of 19.5 miles.

Initially when I was invited by my friend to join in on this hike. I was immediately captivated and all in! But as my friend began to breakdown the plan, duration and preparation along with gear I would need to carry while hiking, I began to feel overwhelmed. I was told we would camp 1 mile below the summit, which meant I would need to bring 6-8 liters of water since there would be no water on the mountain along with food a tent, sleeping bag and more. I was going through a bit of a transition as it was and would have to move the day before we would actually set off. I couldn’t shake this feeling that I needed to do this. One thing I’ve never been good at is change and here I was opening the door to even more change… and it felt really good.

Within a couple day’s I managed to put everything together. I was told one of the most important things would be my shoes so after being measured and having tested multiple boots at Adventure 16 I went with a pair of soft North Face hiking high tops which worked out great. There, I also rented all the gear from, a tent, sleeping bag/ pad and walking poles and backpack. Once I had everything packed my bag weighed around 35-40 lbs.

We left Los Angeles around 4:30 am drove towards Idyllwild. We met at Deer Springs Trail and started our adventure. While we were hiking I felt strong, using my core to support the weight being carried. I made sure to correct my posture if I began over compensate with another muscles from being just too tired. Prior to this trip I had been working on muscular endurance and maximal strength incorporating heavier weights and kettlebells into my workout which really helped during the hike. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a functioning kinetic chain. Incorporating all 5 checkpoints feet, knees, hips, shoulder and head ensuring all muscle groups are working together. Running is something I really enjoy, I like incorporate high incline with moderate pace to really challenge the respiratory system. This was also really useful to be able to hike several miles at a time uphill without rest. At around 8 plus miles we reached Little Round Valley Campground. After setting up camp we all had the best nap. Exhausted from the sun, and the stress from the weight of the bags, we ended the night watching the most beautiful sunset and hanging out in a tent just talking about life sharing some gummy bears… And in that moment I realized it was moments like this I was missing in my life.

We woke at 4am and hiked the rest of the summit with head lamps until the sun started to peak out. Some feel when you reach the top it’s that moment that makes it all worth it. But when I looked around at the new friendships I had made. The memories we created in such a short period of time. It was everything that made it worth it for me.

Coming down was another challenge. My shoulders feeling like they were cut into from the back pack, and the heat and fatigue started to kick in. The walking sticks helped with alleviating some the stress from the weight of the bag. But I knew I would be back in Los Angeles in no time, to the comfort of my new apartment with the memories of a new adveture.

So would I do it again? Yes, a million times YES! And if you’re looking for a refreshing adventure, I think you should too. Thank you so much for reading and a special thanks to Brian, Ty, Jed, Sammy and Meghan for the memories.

-Ashiko

Wine country's hidden gem, Solvang
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     California never  ceases to amaze me. With so many climate changes, landscapes  and tucked away charming town's, I had the pleasure to spend time in Solvang this past weekend. This idyllic small town is located in Southern California's Santa Ynez Valley with a populaiton of roughly 5,800 people . The drive through the countryside will set the tone for your trip: picturesque views of the roaming mountains, bright gold hills and blue skies.

   The town originally founded in 1911, built with love by Danish Americans to offer culture, history and more so community.  Along with many wineries and delicious wine tasting rooms, it's known for it's Danish style architecture. You'll feel like you stepped into a fairy tale, where time slows down as you stroll through the streets taking in the colorful shops and horse-lead trollies. Suddenly, I was back to my 11 year old self  living in Germany with my aunt and uncle. If your looking for a unique, nostalgic getaway,  just head  45 min north of Santa Barbra and Solvang awaits you!

I suggest a crisp glass of rosé while basking in the sun taking in the views!

-Ashiko   

photo credit: Aubrey Danielle/ Ashiko Westguard