Last weekend I went on a little hiking trip with my spouse. We visited Lake Chabot Regional Park. Most of the hike was on relatively flat ground. The scenery was spectacular. The weather was a little mild. It was a great day to do get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

The plan was to hike from the Marina along the East Shore Trail, then along the Honker Bay Trail and have lunch at the Family campground then hike back to the Marina.  The hardest part of the hike was the last half mile to the Family campground.  The trail ascended 300 feet.

I am a pretty experienced hiker & camper, having grown up as a Boy Scout and done numerous trips as a leader with the Boy Scouts and our Venture Crew, in my opinion it was a pretty easy trail.  My spouse on the other hand is not so experienced.  I should have kept this in mind when I was making preparations.

Our hike started out great.  We enjoyed the time walking and talking together. We saw many people walking, jogging and enjoying the nice weather as well.  We crossed the bridge and proceeded along the Honker Bay Trail.  We were getting hungy and wondered what time it was. I had forgotten a time source, so I resorted to using the sun-dial method of telling time.

Fortunately, we had sunlight. This is accomplished by finding North, that is your 12 o’clock reference point. Then find a straight shadow from a source that is pointing up. Your own shadow might be a good source. Notice where the shadow is pointing. If the shadow is on the left of North it’s morning, if the shadow is on the right of North it’s afternoon. Obviously if there is no shadow or the shadow is pointing at North, it is probably noon. I had just calculated the time to be between 12pm and 1pm. As we passed the Ferry Shuttle Stop, we asked someome for the time.  We learned it was 1:15pm. I had forgotten about Daylight savings time 😉
Just past the Ferry Shuttle Stop is where the trail began to go up towards the Family campground.  As I reflect on the trip, this leg of the trip was the most challenging for my wife.  It took us a little while to get there.  We had to stop to make sure she didn’t get overheated.  Once we got to the campground, we had lunch.

While we had lunch we removed our socks to let our feet to breath and dry out.  After we had rested awhile we put on some fresh socks and put our shoes back on.  Until that moment I had never thought about the quality of sock construction.  I noticed that one of my toes hurt.  I took off my boot, then my socks and examined my toe.  That is when I noticed the blister that was developing on my pinky toe.  I was breaking in a new pair of hiking shoes so I expected a blister might develop.  Fortunately, I planned for this and brought plenty of moleskin with me.  It was a small blister and easy to treat.

When I examined the construction of the sock, I noticed it wasn’t designed for comfort.  It had a ball of threads at the big toe and pinky toe, obviously not good for hiking.  Fortunately my original hiking socks had dried out by this time, so I put them back on and my feet were comfortable again.  The moleskin would protect my toe and everything would be good again.

On the return trip, we traveled down Huck’s Trail until it rejoined Honker Bay Trail and then returned via the East Shore Trail back to the Marina.

Here are a few things to remember from this experience:

Before hiking

  • Consider your partner(s) experience – more training hikes with milder hills would have developed experience and confidence
  • Consider your partner(s) fitness – endurance and aerobic training would have helped with the hill climbing
  • Bring extra socks – Try them on before you go
  • Bring a first aid kit – a few important items we used on this trip
    • Ibuprofen
    • moleskin 🙂
  • Bring trail food – GORP
  • Bring a topo map – we got one from the ranger station
  • Bring a compass – so you can at least orient your map
  • Bring a time source – at least I brought my compass 😉
  • Bring a camera – this is important to remember your experience & to show other’s what a great time you had

While hiking

  • Hydrate with electrolytes – the physical activity causes you to sweat, water alone doesn’t cut it
  • Eat trail food – replace the energy you’re using up
  • Have fun – enjoy the experience with your partner
  • Change your socks and check your feet at lunch time
  • Remember your partner’s limitations – don’t push them too hard, encourage them, remind them to hydrate & eat !!!
  • take pictures – remember the good times

In conclusion, I had a great experience.  I did forget a few things, but we survived and should remember these things next time.  The most important thing I learned is to always consider the people your with.  Everybody should have fun and finish with a sense of accomplishment. 

Till next time, I’ll be preparing for the next journey