Yay June! May was a shit month. Maybe I’ll even talk about why on this blog sometime…but not now! Because now it’s time for me to get back to The Fray Project, which I’ve been sorely neglecting for far too long! I wanted to talk about the main thing I’ve been doing to get fit lately. Hiking!
It’s become one of my favorite things to do! I haven’t gotten out into nature nearly enough in my life, and living in a city where the weather is nice most of the time makes me want to get out there and breathe some fresh air and look at some trees! It’s such a nice activity that I almost forget that it’s exercise.
I’ve realized that I actually have pretty decent endurance! I’ve hiked with people thinner than I am, and if there’s a moderate incline and a long trail I can go forever, just plowing ahead as my fellow hikers have gotten winded and tired sooner. (Remember, weight is not the only factor in being “in shape.” Thin people can be plenty out of shape, and fat people can have plenty of energy and endurance). My trouble comes when there’s a steep incline, or anything that involves climbing, or hoisting my fat ass over rocks or tree roots. But those inclines and that hoisting is what’s going to get me into that Fray costume next year!
It’s a great cardiovascular workout that can eventually turn into a muscle-building workout, depending on what trail you take. I’m still firmly in the cardio camp. J But I’m looking forward to a day when I’ll be able to scramble over rocks and up steep inclines easily (or at least with a little less huffing and puffing).
I’ve only been to a couple of trails in town, and I know there are plenty more to explore. Here’s what I think of what I’ve seen so far:
1) Runyon Canyon Park – this is probably one of the more well-known hiking locations. I know that when I first got here, “going to Runyon” was all I heard about. It’s got three different trails that vary in difficulty, though even the “easy” trail here is kind of difficult for a total n00b. I’ve done that one, and definitely felt the burn while also feeling so bad for the small dogs whose owners subjected them and their little legs to that massive hike! Still, the visual reward is worth it, as you get some gorgeous views of the city once you get to the top. Highly recommended!
2) Griffith Park – home to the Griffith Observatory, Griffith Park is also a great destination for hiking, horseback riding, and general outdoorsy fun. I actually really liked the trail here. The workout is all in the varying inclines. The terrain itself is pretty straightforward, and the trail winds around the hill leading up to the observatory, so you get a great view (and some really great breezes) all the way up.
3) Escondido Canyon – the site of my first hike in L.A! This trail is a bit more wooded, and reminded me more of the trails in New York, in foliage if not in terrain. It still amazes me that I can hike in sneakers here. My friends and I went on a super easy trail that didn’t feel like a workout at all, really. Just like a really long walk. But there was a waterfall that was really purdy. I’ll need to go back and try the more difficult trails sometime!
I really do feel lucky that I now live in a city where this kind of interaction with nature is so easily accessible. Don’t get me wrong, I love Central Park in NYC, and the hiking trails upstate. But in Central Park, you can only get so lost before you start seeing buildings again, and the trails upstate take lots of time and cost lots of money (for me, anyway) to get to. Here, a quick bus/car ride gets you out of the urban sprawl and into some hills where you can breathe some fresh air and enjoy some gorgeous scenery. And PS – in the month where I did the most hiking, I lost 6 pounds. Just sayin’.