Posts tagged outdoors
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

Fuel Up On Nature
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This is one of my sacred spots where I go to connect with nature and better yet myself. For me, this is paradise… Surrounded by snow cap mountains and unique rock formations the exploring is endless. Fueled and energized by nature, Karuna. A natural coffee drink, sweetened with dates, coconut cream and turmeric for added health benefits. How are you going to fuel your life, mind, body?

-Ashiko #ashikofit

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

13,600 Elevation. Mount Whitney, to be continued...
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Something I’ve learned is to never underestimate the climb. Every mountain has it’s own challenges. From switch backs, to steep elevation climbs through loose scramble, to maneuvering yourself between uneven surfaces and tree roots puckered out 1-2 feet (not to mention the distance and the actual elevation gain), climbing can be a dangerous gamble and depending on the time of year, must be considered as a key determining factor.

Mount Whitney, located in Sierra, Nevada was one of the most beautiful mountains I’ve seen to date. With a distance of 22 miles roundtrip and an elevation of 14,505 feet, Whitney is the tallest mountain in California as well as the highest summit in the contiguous United States. She was everything I expected and then some. Surrounded by gorgeous lakes with this delicious dark teal hue, beautiful meadows that stretch a mile long, and bold, jagged rock formations. The views were captivating the higher you climbed.

My friend and hiking partner Joe and I set off on a Saturday with the hopes to receive a lottery permit to climb the next day. After waiting patiently for any remaining permits, a few more hikers with the same hopes showed up. After drawing the last number, I knew the climb wasn’t going to happen the next day. I was pretty devastated , all set and ready to go… but that wasn’t going to stop me. We decided to get permits to climb that Monday. There’s 100 permits available to climb daily. If they’re taken, you can show up the day before and wait until 2pm. At that point should there be any permits that were returned, you have the chance to snag them.

We spent 2 nights camping at Lone Pine Campground, just 6 miles from the portal. The elevation was around 6,000 feet which was a good start to acclimate for the hike. Temperatures at night dropped to the mid 20’s. We had accounted for the weather, and were prepared with the right tent’s and sleeping bag’s to stay warm. During the day we hiked in the beautiful Alabama Hills, and the balmy temperatures being in the 70’s were the perfect way to keep our spirits warm and high.

On Monday, we packed up at 2 AM and headed to the portal. Excited and tired, we trekked our way up to the summit in the dark taking in the incredible views as daylight started to break. As our body temperatures changed rapidly to the drop in temperature and high winds, we would adjust our layers to avoid over heating. Our Arc’ teryx Gortex jackets were vital to cut the wind and lock in our body heat. One thing you never want to do is sweat. If that happens’ you loose your hydration along with risk the chance of you getting cold and sick with wet clothes.

One of the most difficult parts on the trail was the 99 switch backs. Yes, there are actually 99 of them which seemed endless and harsh, especially when they’re covered in snow and winds at 15 mph. We had micro spikes which we put over our boots upon entering. Along the side were cable wires running along a 50 foot section to ensure the safety of hikers from falling off the steep rock face to the right. Mid way through the switch backs I had to sit to catch my breath and check in with myself. Acclimating is different for everyone and it’s important to listen to your body, and take your time, with it as the effects of altitude sickness can set you back and cause series harm.

After completing the switch backs, we had reached Trail Crest, with an elevation of 13,600 feet and views of a life time (seen in the photo above with the 2 lakes). Unfortunately, my friend had started to get altitude sickness and felt nauseous and weak. After resting, we assessed the situation and decided to continue as we were only 1.9 miles and 905 feet from the Summit. I admit I had summit fever and needed to finish. At this point, the trails were are narrow and very rocky, requiring full concentration as there is a steep drop off the west of you. We continued for an hour until a dark cloud started to roll in. I stopped disbelief and looked on at the safe-house on top Mount Whitney hovered by a dark cloud. Sadly, we had to make a decision: was the climb worth risking our lives. Should a storm roll in, we would be exposed to extremely high winds and lightening. We decided to turn back.

It’s important to remind yourself that mountain climbing is an experience and we’re so lucky to even be able to do it. It’s ok if things don’t go to plan. It’s what you do in challenging moments that shows your character, that’s what builds us. For me, it was shifting the notion of failing into succeeding, learning and letting this be a positive experience. As unfortunate as it was to not summit, I also had so many amazing memories and an unforgettable journey. The walk down was sober and so long…

I told Joe this was my last climb of the year. I arrived home and took a few day’s to recover mentally, physically and spiritually. I got the itch to go back. Maybe this year, or maybe next… to continued.

-Ashiko

A special thank you to Joe Flores for the incredible adventure, and my dear friend Emma Zander and Don Lee for all your love and continued support.

14,505 Elevation 22 miles, Mount Whitney
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Hey guys! Im so excited to share this weekend’s journey with you. Im finally climbing Mount Whitney. California’s tallest mountain with an elevation of 14,505 feet. After much preparation, the day has finally come. Am I ready? I go back and forth lol But overall yes, I am. I think it’s good to have a little fear in the unknown, after all it’s Mother Nature and a lot can change when you’re navigating in the mountains.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been putting together all my gear. With the temperatures being below freezing it’s been a challenge knowing what to pack and how to dress. With the help of friends, my hiking partner and the amazing sales associates at REI Im ready to go.

This has been such an amazing learning experience. I feel like this will test myself and help me have a better understanding how the human body and central nervous system will react to the climate changes along with the drastic elevation and intense anaerobic hike of 22 miles .

The photo above is most of the gear I’ll be taking. From Smart Wool base layers. Athleta pants, Patagonia vest and locking in the warmth with an REI Magma 850 Down. The Arc’teryx Traverse jacket is both wind and waterproof with Gortex technology. Carbon Fibre tracking poles, head lamp and micro spikes. It’s expected there will be snow at the top, the micro spikes will definitely help keep is safe. I’ll also be taking a North face hat and APEX Gloves along with a few other things.

What I hope most is that I inspire you to do things you thought you couldn’t. If you told me a few years ago one day I would be studying sports medicine and climbing mountains I would smile and brush it off… I dare you to challenge yourself with something that makes you feel alive. Something you thought you couldn’t do or better yet something others told you, you couldn’t do.

Thank you so much for being part of my journey!

-Ashiko