Monday, November 30, 2015

Opting Outside

When REI announced that they would not be opening on Black Friday and were encouraging people to go outside, I decided that's how I wanted to spend my Black Friday. (A recent change in my life meant that this would be the first Black Friday I wasn't working in 18 years- I was ready for something outside of shopping.)  I've done the Black Friday thing and though I've had a lot of fun and found some awesome deals in the past, I wanted something different this year.

My original plan was to to hike Mt. Woodson on Black Friday, but the sudden rain that visited San Diego changed those plans.  I decided to explore Torrey Pines State Reserve instead-- I've seen pictures but this was someplace I'd never been to.  

It was cold!
The "hiking" at Torrey Pines was what I was expecting.  It's easy pathways which makes it great for all level of hikers.  I like that there were different path options.  The plan was to visit a few of the trails, then make our way back via the beach.  The high-tide changed our plans, but it was still a beautiful hike. We ended up hiking about 6 miles total and rewarded ourselves with lunch at a local taco shop. 

There were a lot of people out on the trails-- all ages and a lot of families. I loved this!  I don't know if this was a result of REI's #OptOutside campaign, but I loved seeing so many people out enjoying nature.  

I enjoyed my time at Torrey Pines, but woke up Saturday morning still craving a little bit more of a challenge.  After a last minute decision, I found myself on my way to Mt. Woodson, more commonly known in San Diego as the "Potato Chip Rock."  It's around an 8 mile hike so I made sure to bring my Camelbak and hiking snacks.  The weather in San Diego can be a bit unpredictable at times-- on Friday I was in long sleeves, pants and a beanie.  On Saturday, I was back to shorts and a tank.  Regardless of the temperature change, it was still a beautiful day.

The view from about half way up the mountain.

 The hike at Mt. Woodson was definitely more challenging than the day before-- I was a little sore from Thursday's running and Friday's hiking.  There were people out, but it was never too crowded.  One of my favorite things about Mt. Woodson is that it presents enough of a challenge to keep me motivated but not too much that it makes it hard for my fitness level.  I am not an expert hiker by any means, but do love to explore the trails.  And San Diego has some awesome ones.

When we got towards the top, we noticed that there was a long line at the top for people to go out on the "Chip."  This is a popular spot and the top can get busy at times.  (There are two ways to the top of the mountain, so it's hard to anticipate how many people will actually be up there)  We decided not to wait for a picture and headed back down the mountain.  (I've been here before and have a picture on the rock.  If you've never been here, wait in line-- it's worth the wait!) 

The view from the top of Mt. Woodson

If you've never hiked Mt. Woodson, I would definitely recommend it.  If you go during the warmer months, make sure to bring water.  There are signs posted that recommend at least 2 liters per person or animal. (It is dog friendly)

Do you hike in San Diego?  Where are some of your favorite places to hike? 
Until next time, happy running!

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