Sunday, May 8, 2011

Setting free your subconscious

A warm spring breeze picked up the dust covering the rocky creek bed. In the spring, Sapphire Trails is open for exploration with the aid of log bridges and the drama of solid rock faces. climbing here is a feat not accomplishable during the winter storms. One foot and then the next, my eyes travel to my group just ahead on the trail but it seems like miles between us. The worn log shifts and catches itself as I balance my weight accordingly. A leap for the sand and I am across. The quest up rugged terrain begins.

Located just above the quite foothill suburb of Alta Loma, this path provides locals and
travelers here a place to challenge themselves in nature. With rocky creek beds that lead into the San Gabriel Mountain Range, this hike is both a workout and a place to stop, breath, and wonder at the nature around. From the bottom to the top, one can overlook the gorgeous rounding hills as far down as Pasadena and glance at the city of Los Angeles on the horizon.

As a Southern California local, my choices for stress relievers are vast. A person can travel to crisp mountainous hills and relaxing beach within the same day. While basking in the warm sun and ocean breeze is an obvious reliving activity, hiking the mountain face can do exactly the same.

“When I am up there in the canyon, I feel like I am in a different wold,” said Aisha Gonzales of Glendora.

With a full work load and heavy college courses, Gonzales turns to nature and its challenging yet peaceful landscape to admonish her worries. As an intern for Arcadias
’ natural wildlife rangers, Gonzales finds herself frequently in the one place where she can relax.

“ The quiet actually helps me to clear my mind, I find myself hiking as far up as possible to get away from everything and just be,” said Gonzales.

The various sized of rock part beneath my feet as I scale the steep slope. From pebbles to boulders, every yard is teaming with obstacles to overcome. Hiking takes the mind from the world below; all that holds school, work, relationships, etc.The hike forces the hiker to focus on the path, determine the route, and overcome the obstacles.

“Living where I do, I find it almost hard not to throw everything aside
on a warm clear day and head to the trails,” said Victoria Castaneda of Upland. “ Being as busy as we are, I think it is refreshing to be able to look at life atop a hill and stream through my thoughts.”

Atop the hill it is as if life has taken a pause. Looking below on everything that I hold important, that I strive to succeed in and make work is nestled in the vast community beneath my feat. The breeze whips around me as I take a moment to just be. My muscles tighten and relax as I rest from maneuvering up the mountain. As a hiker, it is the air rushing in my lungs and around my body, the firmness in my muscles and the earth beside. It is like body and nature collide and in it is a release.

The Mayo Clinic runs numerous articles addressing the physical and mental benefits of hiking including a list of the top ten ways that hiking is healthy. A few of the main points were: weight loss increased stamina, strengthened heart and arteries, and increased longevity. The site stated that hiking has been proven to, “ ease the gloominess of depression and reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.”

“Nature is exercise for me, I can not help but want to go on a run or a hike when the day is bright. Hiking for me is life,” said Gonzalez.

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