Yesterday I set a new personal record for hiking while on a working overnight in Burbank, CA. As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I packed my small REI backpack with two liters of water, some salted- and honey-roasted peanuts, and two flashlights (just in case I got hurt and had to signal for help after dark).
I set out hiking into the Verdugo Mountains, with my sights set on the Radio Towers at the peak: 6.5 miles up, and 6.5 miles down.
I stopped at the Nature Center in Stough Canyon to borrow a hiking stick. It’s a good thing I did, because in that last half-mile struggle to reach the top, I was using both hands to propel myself forward like those gondolier guys in Italy.
It was tough going, but it was worth it for the view: downtown Los Angeles to the west, Interstate 5 winding through the mountains to the east, and dozens of amazingly huge crows circling above me in the deep-blue skies and chasing one another, soaring and spinning, chattering and cawing. I wonder if they know they have an audience, and they put on a show for whoever’s watching? If I had a lawnchair, I could sit for hours and watch their aerial antics.
Hiking back down the steep mountain switchbacks was painful: my right knee and my left hip were screaming in pain from the unnatural angles and the extra torque of slamming my feet into the hillside. I was walking slowly, wincing in pain, swinging my right leg like a pirate with a pegleg.
Thankfully, I made it back to the hotel safely, looking only a little bit like The Walking Dead, and I got to my room and dined on a peanut butter & jelly sandwich and some applesauce. After my 13-mile hike, it was a meal fit for a King.
Today, of course, I was popping aspirins like they were jelly beans, but you know, all things considered, I think I did okay for an old dinosaur.