Thursday, November 7, 2013

San Jacinto Peak via Palm Springs Tramway

View at the peak towards the west; Diamond Valley Lake
  • 11 miles round trip (10.78 miles on our gps)
  • 2,318 ft gain/loss
  • Out and back
  • Location: San Jacinto State Park - Palm Springs Tramway
  • Direction (from Los Angeles): 
    • Take the I-10 east for an estimated  93 miles
    • Exit on Hwy 111 (a.k.a. Exit# 111); estimated 8 miles
    • Turn right on Tramway Road by the Palm Springs Visitor Center
    • Parking lot for the Valley Staion is 4 miles ahead
  • Weather link: San Jacinto Peak forecast
  • Permits: FREE Self Issue Day Hike permit outside of Long Valley Ranger Station; Required overnight permit can be applied by mail for $5 per person in the group. Click here for a copy of the application.

The San Jacinto Peak has been in my radar to reach ever since the idea of reaching a summit was ever introduced in my head. To check off the 3 highest peaks of southern California, I thought I'd start with this one as it seemed like the most attainable. Situated at 10,834 feet above sea level, one can reach the peak by taking the aerial Palm Springs Tramway from the Valley Station (2,643 ft) to the Mountain Station (8,516 ft) in about 10 minutes for $23.95 ($21.95 if you're a AAA member!) then hiking about 5.5 miles the rest of the way to the peak.

It wasn't until my third attempt did I finally get to check this off my list. My first try was a planned backpacking trip, camping out at Round Valley with summit day the next day. Alas, the night before our entry date I had eaten something that did not agree with my stomach. On hindsight, I should have just thrown in the towel but I insisted and ended up just staying in the tent and the following day became a hike back instead of summit day. The second attempt on a late May, was so poorly planned that we encountered winter snow that barely started to melt and being snowshoe-less and crampon-less, it was too risky to continue on. It made for a good picnic day still at some random overlook point.

This day was going to be the day. With me always looking for a hiking companion on big hikes, my cousin and a friend were, just so happens, to be looking for a place to hike out that Saturday, it was like.. fate! Opting for a day trip, we were on the road by 6am. Hoping to catch the earliest tram up. Upon turning at Tramway Road by the visitor center, we were greeted by security blocking the road going up to the tram. I have checked the tramway's website and did not find any info for any closures! It turns out it was the 28th Annual Palm Springs Tram Road 6K Challenge. How is that and any road info not plastered all over to warn non-participant visitors, I have no idea. No road closure warnings anywhere, just until you turn on the tramway road, pass the visitor center a few hundred feet and you'll find a sole security car hindering you to go beyond, physically telling people driving up that the road is closed and will be open at 10am. Slight delay but it made for a good reason to pile on fuel for ourselves for the hike. Mmm egg breakfast!

At promptly 10:00 a.m. we zoomed passed the visitor center and up to the tramway's parking lot. Gathered our stuff, eager to get the first trams from the Valley Station. And fate was not done toying with us. Even after getting our tickets a few minutes after 10am, our tram boarding was not until 11:15 a.m. A huge group Junior ROTC got first dibs loading up the tram for some training up top. A big group, but we never saw them again after the tram ride.
Finally boarding time for our tram and 10 minutes after departing the Valley Station, we have finally ascended to 8,000 feet elevation at the Mountain Station. Along the tram ride, the floor of the tram rotates inside giving you different views on the way up. Keep an eye out for when you pass the towers holding the cables, it kinda gives you some quick tummy tickles when you pass by it!

Walked down on the cemented pavement from the Mountain Station to the Long Valley Ranger Station, it was almost noon by the time we filled out our permit and did our first step on the trail and went our merry way to reach the peak.

There is a fork at the beginning of the trail, taking the right fork will eventually meet up with the left fork trail at a junction 2 miles in and about .3 miles before the Round Valley campsite, to be able make the Round Valley Loop hike. We decided to rake the right fork going in and considered taking the left fork on our way down, which would then be a "right fork" -- details, details! haha.

We did a quick bathroom break at the Round Valley Loop junction. Along the trail, just slightly pass the signs, we found some log cabin looking outhouses. Although there are already outhouses by the camps last time we were here, these 2 by the junction looked fairly new.

After a hop-skip-and-a-jump, we approached the Round Valley campground, we've seen some flat areas that could be good to set-up camp, but we didn't explore the area much. We got to talk to a ranger coming from the Round Valley ranger hut and showed us a map of the Round Valley campground, as well as the Tamarack Valley campground about a .5 mile spur trail right by the only water source in the area.

Trail sign by Round Valley Camp; ranger hut behind.

"Purify water before drinking."
From here, we're about half way to the peak and getting higher. We encountered more snow on this part of the hike, remnants of the early snowstorm the SoCal mountains received from 2 weeks previous, too bad there was no follow-thru.. yet! It is about a mile more to the Wellman's junction.

Wellman's junction, A nice overlook area to stop and admire how far high up you've come. A meet-up group we've been leap-frogging with since we started the hike had decided to take their break out here and have the rest of their group catch up. Good choice, I'd say.

2 more miles to the peak and the views along the trail from this point are spectacular. One could easily forget that just earlier you were at sea level and weaving through the urban jungle of Los Angeles. 

A little pass 3:00 p.m. we reached the top, passing by the really nice looking emergency hut (seems more like a cabin on the outside to me!) just .3 miles away from our destination. From here to reach the peak, a little scrambling  is in order. Nothing technical, just some rock hopping, hands and feet usage are involved. A bit more of fun, for sweeping views of the desert floor and some must-have photos of the benchmark.

Hut by 0.3 miles from the peak - an emergency shelter for stranded hikers.

We didn't get to stay much up top, rested for a bit after the obligatory photo souvenirs were taken, then headed off into the sunset (yeah - I did that.. LOL). We came across a couple of more groups trying to make it to the top before dark, sun sinking in the horizon on that clear day would have been amazing to look at! That'll be my next trip here.. after winter (snowshoeing first!).

We were trying to get to the tram before dark sets in, seeing as I broke my glasses by the peak (thanks for catching my glasses, rocks!), hiking in the dark even with headlamps, I know I'd still have a difficult time. Don't want to be even more a liability, as it is I'm already slightly blind without my glasses. On the way down, dusk was starting to settle in, a tad earlier during this season. I was sandwich by my companions. My cousin behind me and his friend leading the way - grateful that I have the extra brightness of having more light behind and more light in front of me. We made back to the Mountain Station, cursing the pavement climb on the way. Exhausted but stoked we didn't backed down even after all the delays we kept encountering earlier. San Jacinto Peak, you've just finished my 3 peaks goal for Southern California!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hiking The Big Pine - North Fork Trail to First, Second and Third Lake

Pano view of First Lake with a peek at Temple Crag on the right.

  • Miles: 11 miles round trip (First Lake)
  • Elevation: 2,100 ft (gain/ loss)
  • Type: Out and back
  • Location: John Muir Wilderness - Big Pine, CA
  • Note: Backpacking, Day Hike
  • Permit: Required for overnight trips only; Not required for day hiking
  • Permit Issuer: White Mountain Ranger Station - 798 N. Main St., Bishop, CA; (760) 873-2500
  • Notes: Primitive campsites; No bear boxes at campsites; Also a horse-pack trail (watch your step!)

When in need for a quick fix of some sublime nature extravaganza, but short on time. This trip is a good cure. It has the promise of greenery, a good workout, mountain air and lakes! Lakes, that I think the people who are assigned to name lakes ran out of names for them.. or as I'd like to sometimes think that they just got awed by its beauty that no words to name them came out and they've just numbered them from First Lake, Second Lake, Third Lake.. and so on. Either way works out for me. 

For an overnight trip a permit is needed, day hikers need not worry about this part but feel free to visit the ranger station still for some trail conditions, weather updates and alerts. A permit can also be reserved online at - trail code: Big Pine Creek North Fork J23. Fill out the necessary information, including names of alternate leaders from within the group, who can pick up the permit if you are unable to. The following are the permit fees:

  •  $5 fee per person entering the wilderness
  • $6 fee (not per person) for reservation
  • Example: For a 6 person trip, reservation will be a grand total of $36.00 (no other additional $$ like taxes and such)

You'll receive a confirmation email but this, however, will not be your permit. Drop by the White Mountain Ranger Station to pick up the actual permit, confirm the number of people reserved, leave car information and get some last minute alerts & chit chats. This is best done before 10:00 a.m. on the entry date, else the reservation will be cancelled and deemed a "no show". Also, if lacking the required bear canister for the overnight trip, the ranger station rents them out at $5 per day.

Getting to the trail head, when coming from the ranger station in Bishop - head south on Main St., that will eventually turn into US Route 395, you'll know the change when the speed limits change. It is about a 20-30 minute drive to the town of Big Pine. Once at Big Pine, turn right on to Crocker St. As of this writing (2013), its structure landmarks are a gas station and a general store on each corner. Continue driving past the cute, sometimes western themed, houses until the road turns into Glacier Lodge Road. This would be about a 12 mile drive to the trail head passing several car camping areas, including the Big Pine Campground. You'll eventually see a sign on your right directing you towards the hiker's parking lot where the trail head is and an outhouse is located. There are 2 bear boxes located at the parking area to store all your smelly stuff so you don't leave them in your car:

  • One by the restroom
  • Another by the last parking space going towards west of the "trail" sign

If day hiking, there is an optional limited parking area at the end of the road continuing past the hiker's parking lot sign, with a restroom as well. Leaving your car on this spot would free you of about an extra mile of hiking. But remember, it has limited space and no overnight parking.

Dark clouds looming at our destination.

The trail starts, just left of the signs (trail info and the usual not to scale trail maps) and restroom. It climbs up to the side of the hill following along the road that continues to the road's end. You'll start to notice the cars passing on the road grow smaller and smaller as you continue your way up. You'll soon pass a horse pack structure on your left. Then about almost a mile of hiking, you'll see a few picnic tables and a restroom structure below you on your left. You have arrived at the junction where the trail splits to the South Fork Trail and the North Fork Trail. Walk a little further and you'll find a trail that leads down to it, camping spots with picnic tables and a restroom.

Photo taken on a separate trip by me; cam owned by Cathe (photo)

Continuing on the trail opens up to a beautiful valley before starting the climb up again. Up and out the valley you'll see trail signs keeping you on check on the North Fork Trail and then a perfect photo op (proof to your friend where you're at! lol) with the John Muir Wilderness sign. Just a little pass the sign, you'll see Second Falls (yes, even the falls are just numbered). A bit rocky climbing down closer to it, but excellent spot to refill your water bottles and freshen up a bit if you've had quite a sun exposed last mile. The next stretch of the trail runs alongside the creek with welcoming shades from the trees and not long after you'll arrive at Lon Chaney Cabin. A good place to take a quick break and enjoy the creek by the porch, after your 3 mile hike.
Cabin commissioned to be built by the late movie actor, Lon Chaney, Sr.
You'll eventually start to have a glimpse of the beautiful milky blue waters you'll get to see at the lakes above, notice the colors on the creek you've been trudging along on. About a  mile.. a mile and half more you'll arrive at a junction, taking the left fork will take you to First Lake. You are just about a hop, skip and a jump from here for your first grand view of First Lake. Camp sites on First Lake can be found just below the trail, before you emerge on top of the rocks with that grand view of the lake. The area is a small wooded basin and has pretty good access to the lake with lots of sunken rocks to perch on if you get camp water duty.

We decided to set-up camp out here on our September trip and get an early dinner on since the clouds did not look like they wanted to share the sun anymore. And sure enough, after meal and washing up, the rest of the late afternoon till we fell asleep were spent playing cards and reading inside our tent while we listened to the rhythmic sounds of rain falling on our tent fly. The following day has been decided as a day exploration instead of our original plan to camp at Third Lake.

There is but very little elevation to gain from this point on to Third Lake. All that is left is but a quick 2 mile traipse in the forest absorbing all of nature. You'll find several more good choices of camp areas in between the 3 lakes with equal gorgeous views of the lakes.

Wildlife found! They're such troopers. No bad weather will turn them away from this place.
Clouds trying to conceal Temple Crag from us at Third Lake.
Chris contemplating another cold water jump.
Temple Crag can be viewed closer and more front and center at Third Lake. We've set-up our luncheon feast by Third Lake. Climbing down from the trail, closer to the edge of the lake, we picked a perfect spot to plop ourselves down for the day. And as Chris's tradition, a trip with a lake is not complete without plunging into the water, ice cold or not - us, ladies, were not so brave on that aspect, especially with the wind blowing every so often and the clouds trying to hide the sun from us again. We're just content to take photos as proof of his wet 'n wild shenanigans and happy to cheer him on.

The winds started picking up, and more & more people seem to have found our little spot by the lake when large groups of day hikers started settling in for their picnic, we decided to head back to camp. Guess, we got to our lunch spot for the day just in time to miss the lunch rush! We were covering good time on our way back to camp that we've decided to stop by some spots and enjoy some more spectacular views. The clouds did not succeed this day and the skies showed us an abundance of blue.

Arriving back at our tent, it was time to break camp and head on out. Back to the parking lot.. back to the car.. and back to the norm.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

CicLAvia - Exploring The City, Car Free.

CicLAvia, Los Angeles' answer to Bogota, Columbia's 30+ year old Ciclovia, that temporarily closes down city streets for a day and transforms it into a sort of urban park that's car-free and open to ride your bike, skate, walk, jog, run, cartwheel and/or dance your heart out. Every CicLAvia event has had different routes. The most recent was last Sunday (October 6th) called "Heart of L.A." (the original route) where they've focused on mainly the streets around downtown L.A. And admittedly, our favorite route closure. Roads around downtown L.A. are just a bit crazy on regular days, with all the one way streets and some hills, that you miss a lot of good architectures and good food stops when you're driving, unless you make a certain place your ultimate destination.

You can start at any point in the route. There is no designated start and end. It is what you make of your day. Our jump off point on this last CicLAvia was the Metro Gold Line station stop in East L.A., the Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights and plan to ride out all the way to the south side, passing downtown to see the African-American Firefighters museum (that we have never heard of till this day) and then riding back to downtown to gorge ourselves in several downtown food spots and trucks (yes, we put back whatever calories we burned in the morning!). The route closure always runs along side some Metro stops, and will almost always be close to the L.A. Union Station, a good jump off point if you're coming from anywhere in SoCal - Amtrak, Metro Link and some Metro lines converge to stop here. So with a bit of planning, it will be easy to just leave your car at home (or closer to home) and avoid the hassle finding parking close to the route, 'cause let's face it, scoring cheap or free downtown parking is a combo of skill and luck.

This year, CicLAvia events has extended their hours from 10-3 p.m., to now at 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. A change that we didn't feel much. Getting to a hub an hour before it officially starts is a good way to avoid crowds in popular areas, since they technically start closing roads around that time anyways, even on the old schedule. Riding on empty downtown streets is bliss.. seriously. There will be other early birds, but few enough not be riding alongside anyone for quite some time. If started early enough, you may have covered a lot of ground already in exploring, so it is best to start heading back and calling it a day an hour before they start opening the streets.
Best way to avoid jammed metro trains and stations. Or you can also just kill time at any restaurant or bar and wait out the thinning crowd, if you don't mind riding along side cars way after they've opened up the streets again. This event is always on Sundays anyways, so no usual rush traffic but, please, always ride safe!

I must say though, closing down streets especially a downtown area, even on a Sunday, I bet is no easy feat! I can just imagine all the proposals that had to be proposed, the permits applied, the convincing that needed to rallied, coordinating everything and everyone (it must be like a symphony!) - to that I say to the organizers: KUDOS! and Thank you for having the guile to start this and continue moving it forward.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some National Park Love

1st of October 2013. The U.S. Federal Government shut down due to inability to settle on funding. All federal agencies were closed or will be closed by the next couple of days, including all 401 National Parks. About 800,000 federal employees will be left in limbo with their jobs, and about 21,000 of those are from the National Park Service.  
It also, just so happens to be Yosemite National Park's 123rd birthday, 1st of October 1890. The first government shutdown that I will actually feel has shutdown my first ever visited national park. I love the Google doodle today in honor of Yosemite, but felt sad once you click on it, it takes you to all the news links about closing off many of the country's national parks, monuments and the offices/ information centers of the national forests.

My twitter feed today was filled with alerts from different accounts of national parks, forests and monuments that they will be left unattended and will not be updated until the federal employees get back to work. I felt bewildered. First, I never knew a whole government can actually shutdown. Second, I like most of the twitter accounts of those federal lands. It was the only branch of the government I can actually directly communicate with, and get a straight up answer on an inquiry. It was the only branch of government that I, personally felt, was working with the public. Plus, I have never encountered any randomly annoyed park ranger, a federal employee, like those one would find in some other agencies (*cough dmv* *cough post office*). Unless of course you've disrespected the land that a lot of us are passionate about. National Park Service folks seem to always be happy and eager to help you out.

Our fall trip Sequoia is on hold. Grateful we're not that far from it and there are options available while we wait for it to re-open. It is most unfortunate though to those coming from all over the world and finding out their destination has been closed off, without a heads up.

Hope the federal government opens up soon. Can't wait till we can flash our annual park pass again.

We all gotta start somewhere..

I have vague memories of hiking and going on travels with my parents since I was a kid. But back then, we never called it that - it was just "getting out of the house".. to see a falls, drive through really winding roads that were called "chicken intestines" (yeah, I know - who would call it that?? - but it was fun), multiple trips to beaches (having grown in a tropical country w/ lots of islands - this was a common thing), checking out to see bats in caves that we'd need the assistance of a local to bushwhack through.

All of it came to a halt though, when I reached my teenage years. Those were the years that the company of family were replaced by friends, trips exploring caves became movie theaters, eating out are no longer picnics but at restaurants with fellow teens. We still had our family trips to my family's ancestral hometowns with occasional explorations but my priorities to keep what kind of memories changed.

Fast forward to my 20's, on our way to yet another night of binging on drinks and jumping on good beats - we found ourselves instead on a spontaneous trip heading north and driving into Yosemite National Park in the late late Friday night with nothing on us but the clothes that we were able to rustle up at someone's house (in exchange of clubbing clothes) and a sense of adventure. We drove into the park in the wee hours, happy to have missed the ranger at the entrance (can you say: free entrance?) and giddy of the unknown in the darkness. It was everyone's first time at Yosemite and one of us was even visiting this country for the first time, we didn't know what to expect. Come to think of it, I don't even think we had any expectations, at all. None of us knew anything about the park, except that it was there.

Travelling with a bunch of girls (and one guy) - bathroom break was inevitable. It was in the wee hours, so when we arrived any establishment we would find were bound to be closed. We never even thought of campground restrooms.. heck, we never even knew about campgrounds! That was how naive we all were that time. I vaguely remember us deciding to just park somewhere and walk around to try to find a place to do our "business", when an off duty ranger or park employee happen to walk by and offered assistance to a group, who look like they don't belong there. She offered to take us to their barracks/housing and use their facilities (the girls & guy got separated for a bit). We were in and out fast, grateful for their kindness but didn't want to overstay the hospitality.

Later that morning, cramped up inside a rav4, I had my first wolf encounter. Couldn't sleep, decided to climb out of the car and light up a smoke (my smoking days are long gone). As soon as I opened the car door, I got into an intense eye to eye contact with this magnificent creature. By the way, that was just a one sided recollection of the event. I highly doubt I looked intense in the wolf's eyes, 10 years later I can still picture her in my mind. Needless to say, I didn't get a chance to do what I intended to do, and back to the car I crawled.

The morning after, we explored around the park as much as we possibly could. Explored a river we came across. Scrambled up some rocks to get some pictures in solitude.

Even hiked halfway to the famous Yosemite falls. We didn't make it all the way to the top. It was a pretty high traffic area and a hiker that passed us cared enough to share with us his little off the trail area to get closer to the falls, half way up. It was the perfect setting for a picnic lunch. I can't even remember where we were able to gather up some food for lunch!

That weekend, that happened 10 years ago, was the weekend I got my first taste of the California wilderness. Albeit, unplanned, we were able to experience a lot of the park, its wildlife, scenery, rivers, falls, huge trees and met some of people that loves this park.  Its fangs got me good but like some bites, its venom sat still in me, quietly, bidding its time. It took a few more years before I finally started on the learning curve of maneuvering the ins & outs of our public lands (bless the intarwebs for this!). That, however, is another story.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Inspiration point via Sam Merrill Trail and Castle Canyon trail

Inspiration point via Sam Merrill Trail and Castle Canyon trail

  • Miles: 9.8 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 2,800 ft gain/loss
  • Note: Multi-use trail
  • Type: Out & Back
  • Location: Cobb Estate - Lake Avenue and Loma Alta Drive

Do you have that place that, no matter if it gets quite popular and crowded; you just keep going back to it. This one’s mine. My first ever hike in Los Angeles County introduced to me by an occasional hiker when, some (more than) 10 years ago, from her previous job of shuttling adults, she would take them just beyond the Cobb Estate’s gothic looking gates to just relax and be outside for a bit.

It is quite a popular hike, recommend starting as early as possible to be able to find parking and have a lesser foot traffic on the way up. There is no designed parking area, find your spot along the curb of Lake Ave and Loma Alta Drive. Please be mindful of homeowner’s driveways and be respectful.

The trail head sits pass the Cobb Estate gates, which have always been closed for every visit I ever made, but there is a pedestrian (and mountain bike riders) entrance just to the right of it and another one passing behind the covered waiting bench. Following the rundown asphalt road, where the road curves to the left, the Sam Merrill trail head can be found right by, a now graffiti decorated sign and a stone piled water/drinking fountain.

The Lower Sam Merrill trail leading up to the Echo Mountain junction is dry, dusty, very well used and pretty exposed, prepare to get slightly sunburned -- if you're like me, who thinks sunblock is so tedious.. refuses to put on any.. and then regrets it at the end of the day (ring ring! Skin cancer called, she said to keep it up!). Bring enough water for the whole trip, since there are no water sources on the way, except for a one or two trickling mini streams that are completely unreliable (one day they're there, next they're not). There are mile markers going up to Echo Mountain, wooden posts with gold colored plates as numbers. I've always missed them on the way up but seem to always catch my attention on my way back. I'd see the short wooden posts (now) on my left and would have to look back to know the mile number.

After climbing a little over 2 miles, at the Echo Mountain Junction, you'll see a trail veering to switch back on your left. This would be the Upper Sam Merrill trail that can also take up to Inspiration Point. I have yet to try this route up.. and/or down to create a lollipop hike. Just a few step further, the Castle Canyon trail can be found as a quick left turn. If it weren't for the erected tombstone-like trail sign, on some days, this trail may be missed. Thick brushes conceal it a bit, making one doubt if the path you're looking is really leads to something more further.
Lovin'some Fall foliage - even SoCal can find some.

At this point, you will lose a good majority of hikers. A good turn around point, most head out to Echo Mountain (elevation 3,207 ft above sea level), which is just a few more steps further, to scream & hear their voices echo around, check out the resort/hotel ruins that was once built there (White City) and/or just take a quick break before continuing on. Most mountain bike riders, also use this as a turn around point.

Inspiration Point - so close, yet so far.
Continuing along the Castle Canyon trail, you'll still be able to hear most of the hikers hanging around Echo Mountain, and some screaming their lungs out, followed by laughters once they hear echoes of their voices. Watch your steps on this part, as there are pipes protruding along trail. This part of the Some parts of the trail on the way up are a bit washed out and are narrower than the first part (Lower Sam Merrill trail). Just be mindful and careful of your steps, everything should be fine.

Once at Inspiration Point, get ready to kick up your feet and enjoy the view - provided mother nature has graced you with clear skies that day, you'll get to see as far as Catalina Island, folks say. I have yet to have that. Although on a clear day on January, I thought I saw a silhouette of it in the horizon but maybe that was just hunger making me see things. Nevertheless, should mother nature grant you clouds though, rolling clouds are a mesmerizing thing to watch. Either way, you have better come prepared for the winds up here and have packed something to keep you warm, if you're planning to stay around. No matter how warm it is at the foothills, it does get a bit chilly up here. 

There are a couple of picnic tables that can be used to spread your feast, if you've brought any. And a bit of history reading about the long gone Mt. Lowe Railway. There are also some metal tubes that have been set-up there and are fixed looking towards the direction where each metal tube is labeled. Have a bit of fun trying to make out all the places. There's one particular metal tube there labeled as "Ostrich Farm". I just don't know of any ostrich farms at all in L.A. County.

When you're ready and immersed yourself silly into the outdoors, you can either go back the way that you came or, like mentioned earlier, there is an opportunity to make this into a lollipop/loop trail taking the Upper Sam Merrill trail on the way down to Echo Mountain junction. I'll update this once I've had the chance to make that hike.