I’ve been looking forward to this one, I don’t know why. Now that I’ve done it, I REALLY don’t know why, haha. This is the one I was supposed to hike the previous weekend, but decided against it because my foot was a bit achy. I am so glad I didn’t go when I wasn’t feeling that great. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really enjoyed this hike, and I love the proximity because it makes it easy to be able to go again, but, man, this was a steep one.
Looking at the book, it was simple 2 mile out-and-back with almost no intersecting trails. I was working off of the “short hike” list when I originally chose this one, and completely overlooked the part that said “Strenuous”. It was a good learning experience for me as a rookie, though, because now, thanks to life experience, I know what a 500 foot gain over a mile feels like. I was also very glad that Legg Lake the day before was such a cake walk.
I didn’t properly prepare myself for this one as far as breakfast goes. See, pre-injury, I was still in the process of learning from experience, but habits had not yet been formed. After so much time off, there are things that I already learned the hard way once, but in all the physical and emotional turmoil, completely forgot about. One of those things is keeping breakfast stocked the night before. I’m not a big breakfast eater, and will usually have a bottled protein shake in the morning and that’s all I’ll need. On hike days, I found that adding a simple carby bagel went a long way keep me going, and a protein bar later would perfectly round me off until I finished a hike and relaxed enough to eat an actual meal. On this particular Hummingbird morning, I had no bagels, and had run out of shakes, leaving me with my last protein bar and water (because milk would have made me sick). I knew it wasn’t ideal, but I didn’t have time to stop anywhere and figured I’d be ok since the trail was so short.
I made plans with Kim to meet at 8 a.m., though I wasn’t sure if that would give us enough time since we planned to go to church after the hike (turns out we had plenty of time!). While the hike itself seemed pretty simple, I was more concerned about finding the trail head since the book referred to it as “nondescript” twice. After some serious map searching, Google put my mind at ease enough to go. I can only imagine updates to the trail head have been made since my edition of the book has been published, because it was marked pretty well. I did see the chain-link fence the author described as the entry point, only it had a sign that said “HUMMINGBIRD” with an arrow directing us left to the actual trail head. So, if you see this sign at the end of the cul-de-sac with the little kiosk thing just beyond it, you’re on the right track.
The trail starts off leading through a bit of a clearing towards the base of the hill. Off to right I saw a tunnel with a wall just covered in graffiti, which I assume is the one that connects to the nearby Corriganville Park trail, but I was not about to inspect that thing. “Questionable” does not being to describe that tunnel. We wound through a bit of brush and started to get better views of the hillside. Pretty soon, we were making our ascent up the rocky outcrops that seemed to define this trail. If you ever wanted to know what it felt like to channel your inner mountain goat, this hike is for you.
We began to pass different and intriguing rock formations, but the view was far more remarkable. I found myself looking back far more than forward as we got higher and higher up. I was also brutally reminded of my sub-par cardio level and why I thought a fitness class was a good idea those four months ago. Strenuous, indeed.
But worth it. As short and simple as it was, this hike had some of my favorite views. Ocean views are lovely, but there was something about seeing the houses below the hills, the fields in the distance, even the freeway winding through it all…it puts things in perspective.
I never spotted the little landmarks mentioned in the book that would let us know when to turn around, so this became one of those “I did my best” hikes, haha. We found a good spot, a nice, big, flat rock, and climbed up for pictures and views. Someone scraped a message in some dirt a little higher up, so Kim investigated that, and also checked to see if there was anything just over the ridge that we were missing. After finding nothing of note on both fronts, we started heading back down. Of course downhill is always easier than up, so why wouldn’t give myself the extra challenge of being spooked by a movie? This time it was “The Hills Have Eyes”…I kind of kept imagining some freak pouncing from behind a rock, that’s what the landscape reminded me of. I don’t know why I do these things to myself. We must have beat the crowds because we didn’t see another fellow hiker until we were well downhill, probably around 9, with more arriving and just getting started as we made it back to the cars. On the way down Kim also spotted marks left behind by mountain bike tires. I don’t know what kind of boldly invincible mentality you need to bike down that trail, but if you have it, we salute you.
I know it sounds like I’m doing a lot of complaining about this hike, but it really was a nice one. It was overcast and cool, and we could see for miles, it was very peaceful. Even after I was back to the car, I just sat and enjoyed the scenery and stillness of it all. I’m looking forward to doing this one again.
I totally forgot to spotlight our favorite rock formations! On the left, I see Pearl Krabs, restaurant heiress. On the right, Kim sees E.T., but I also see Morla, The Ancient One. What do you think?
What I Learned:
- Stock bagels. A protein bar is not breakfast.
- If I didn’t have access to Google, I never would have attempted anything like this project
- “Rocky Outcrop” – a visible exposure of bedrock or ancient superficial deposits on the surface of the Earth.
- I am of that special breed that can get rained on and sunburned at the same time.