Tag: hiking

Vacation- Birthing Cave

The Birthing Cave trail in Sedona is nice, short, fairly easy trail to do. Unless you do it the same day you do Soldiers Pass and you’re overweight and out of shape.

Oh, wait, that was me.😆

Honestly, getting to the trail head was probably harder than the trail was. My GPS disagreed with what AllTrails said. And I didn’t actually find the trailhead. I stopped too soon and parked along the road near the Mescal trail head. Which is also how I learned there was another route to Devil’s Bridge but I’d already been there the last time I was in Arizona.

We started out on the Mescal Trail thinking we were just going to go a mile or so in and see what there was as we knew we weren’t in the right spot. Luckily a quarter mile in, we hit a trail junction that included a branch off onto the Long Canyon Trail which is where I had been trying to drive to. So we took it. It was a nice single track with some elevation drop.

Once at the Long Canyon trailhead, we headed back towards the Birthing Cave. Or, at least we hoped, this trail doesn’t have signs and there some places you could another direction. We ran into others just as confused as we were. Good thing was that this trail was pretty flat, wide and actually runnable if you wanted to.

After a little more winding back towards the cliff walls, you start to climb. I had to take a break, I’m so out of shape.😂. Then you start to scramble up, careful you don’t try to use a cactus as your handhold. The cave is cool but also not as big as you think it will be and it fills up quickly. It’s also very slippery and I was too tired to try climbing all the way in. I didn’t need to break my face.

After a short time in the cave enjoying the views, we headed back to the car. With the extra we tacked on with parking at the wrong trailhead, we came up just under 3 miles. Like I said, short but still good.

Vacation- Soldier’s Pass

I love dirt. I really do.

Getting sick in January may have derailed my original vacation plans by a lot, I was still planning on adding getting in some miles on new to me trails. So I headed back to Sedona.

First trail up was Soldier’s Pass.

AllTrails calls Soldier’s Pass a moderate, 4.5 mile out and back trail. There is a small trailhead parking lot but will likely be full. We parked in overflow about a mile down the street at a school/ bike park location. There was a nice trail that ran along the road so it was nice warmup.

I love the color of the rocks and desert in Sedona. I know it gets hyped up a lot but there is a very valid reason for it. That also means be prepared for crowds. Everywhere. From prepared, experienced hikers to people in flip flops.

The beginning of the trail brings you to a cool sinkhole to check out. Then about a mile in (or 2 from overflow) the trail brings you to the Seven Sacred Pools. Maybe I was tired, but this part was a little underwhelming. Were there 7 pools? Maybe. Maybe I was blind. The trail starts to climb a little here but nothing strenuous.

The path was nicely shaded actually as we made our way to a little plateau. From there the real climb begins and things start to get hard. The path narrows and gets steeper as you make the last climb to the rock wall and the caves. The caves are cool. Getting up an into the big one is sketchy but I am proud that my claustrophobic self managed to climb up to the cave level. I spent some time up there for a bit- only almost fell once, ha! It does get crowded up there though and how more people don’t fall, I don’t understand. I did slip on my way back out of the caves and wrenched my shoulders a bit but I didn’t fall, so win!

From there, it was back down to the plateau then on to the Seven Sacred Pools again. Took a few moments here to take a sit and eat a snack or 2. It was a little warmer than I figured for March, even in Arizona.

All in all, round trip from the overflow lot to Soldier’s Pass was 6 miles with around 800 ft of elevation gain. Most of that in the last .25 mile or so. Totally worth it.

Dilemma

A week and a half ago, I did 18 ish miles in Yosemite. This past Sunday I did 5 at a new to me trail- Riconada- in my area. Both days my feet let me know that my new trail shoes were not winning any points. Boo. Which puts me in a predicament. I need shoes! And it’s not for lacking of trying.

My first few years running trails, I had perfect shoes. First Mizuno Wave Hayate followed by a move into Under Armor Horizon HTT. Loved both of them with no issues but neither shoe is made anymore. Not only that, neither shoe company makes any trail shoes anymore. WTH? Which has started a 2ish years of trying all the trail shoes. Let’s recap-

First up- Brooks Cascadia. Anytime I say their name, I hiss a little and call them devil shoes. Pretty sure I broke my foot in the them during Spooner’s Cove back in Dec 2019. 2020 and my lack of running gave my foot time to heal and nope- I never went to the doctor. Did get rid of the shoes. Full disclosure- the rep at the store talked me into buying mens and they ended up being too big. I might like the woman’s version but can’t bring myself to order them.

Both my first trail shoes were pretty minimal and the Cascadia was a beast of a shoe so maybe that was my problem???

Next- Altra Lone Peak. Felt good up until 5 miles… and only on flat. My feet slid around like crazy when running downhill and I needed more cushion. I tend to run downhill like a 5 year old without brakes so I need my feel to feel secure. As for the cushion, I mean I am carrying 50ish more pounds than I used to so that may make sense.

3- Merrell SkyFire. Ok, ok, not bad. Nice blend of running shoe meets hiker. Ok, we may have something here. Until I ate trail going down the Grand Canyon. Son of a!

4- Topo Ultraventure. Kind of like a cross between the Skyfire and the Lone Peak. Traction was amazing, cushion felt good. Until my first 8-9 mile trail in them and I think I broke my big toe. Ok, dropping a bottle on it that night was probably what did it fully in but it was already severely bruised from that day. Returned.

5- Nike Terra Kiger– Nope. Never made it out of the house. Went back in the back and back to the Running Warehouse. For a person who wants snug shoes- this was a form fitting brick.

6- Altra Timp– Tried a size 9, felt way too small. There went that idea. Exchanged for a 9.5 (my usual size). Holy fire of arch pain Batman. Returned.

7. Brooks Caldera- good lord, that’s a cushiony shoe! It also made me about 2 inches taller and that it just too much shoe for me. Back to the store without running in them.

At what point does the Running Warehouse fire me as a customer? And before you @ me about buying from a local running store, the Warehouse is my local running store. Shout out to local businesses going big. But the storefront still hasn’t really reopened since COVID.

8- Merrell MQM Flex 2 I liked the SkyFire but wanted more traction so I searched the Merrell site for a possible other option. They started out good. I’ve put more miles on them then any of the other shoes. But I didn’t really test them until Yosemite. The path was basic so I didn’t really need to worry about traction but my feet were so damn sore, I almost tore them off. My bad toe even reared its head again. Then in Riconada, I slipped 4 or 5 times on the rockier parts of the trail. Which is most of our local trails. WTH again!

So now I don’t know what to do. What else is there to try? I know there is Hoka, but that seems like it will be way too much shoe for me. I’ve looked at Saucony but nothing jumps out at me as the answer. I have dreams of running a 50K but I can’t even begin to contemplate that if I can’t last more than a few miles or a couple of hours in a pair of shoes.

So seriously, if anyone has any tips- throw them my way!

Whirlwind

I love vacation but the first day back at work is always a whirlwind of catching up. Last week started exactly like that and then just kept spinning. I felt like my old washing machine; spinning and spinning and spinning, shaking away from the wall. Thankfully I replaced that very washer on my vacation and last week finally led to the weekend.

I had big plans of keeping to my training plan but well…

One day I forgot my shoes. One day, I had a horrible day with my stomach- which after a repeat this week could mean an issue with spaghetti for dinner, boo. Then an inspector showed up and the next 2 days at work were long and chaotic. Then my dad fell hiking and the fun just continued. I was so ready for the weekend.

Oh but I did get my stitches out!

I kept Saturday as low key as possible. I ran some errands and kind of chilled before heading out and attempting a run. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to run one of the missed 4 milers or try for my long run. Big long run this week- 6 miles. Dude, TimeHop makes me sad- 3 years ago I was running 18 milers training for Big Sur and now I can barely manage 6 miles. And these 6 miles were a struggle. I finished my run but barely. The last few miles were mostly walked as my stomach rebelled… as my stomach is wont to do. Grrr.

Sunday was an early morning as I was heading for a local hike with my mother. It’s been a few years since I had done Bishop’s Peak and not only did I park at the wrong trail head and short us some miles, it kicked my ass. The last time I did Bishop’s I was in probably my best shape… now I might be in my worst, ha!

I also forgot how technical it was, and how crowded it was. So many people! And you can tell yourself that where you are in fitness is fine for now until you are lapped going up a mountain by a college kid in flip flops. The trail is still gorgeous though.

So yeah a less than ideal week but it had it’s bright spots!

Lost

Last week hit me like a truck and then put it into reverse. Have I already said that?

Maybe trying to limit my carbs and cut back on artificial sugars all in the same week was a bad idea. Both are at Dr’s orders. I’ve watched my carbs before and I admit, I did feel better but why do all the best foods have so many carbs?!?! I am starting slow and trying to moderate my numbers during the day and not stressing about dinners yet. I also may have taken the weekend off as well…oops. As for the artificial sugars, I am trying to cut back on everything except Diet Coke- we all have our vices right? But I use a surprising amount of Crystal Light so it’s taking a moment or so.

I didn’t work out all week, even though I kept telling myself I would. I even had an extra 15 minutes on Friday morning due to a doctor’s appointment but did I work out in the morning? Nope. And I really didn’t that evening as my morning appointment was for a couple of biopsies and the sites were angry that evening. Didn’t stop me from being stupid over the weekend though.

Saturday, I headed out early afternoon to get in a few miles. For the most part, I felt ok and ran/ walked 3.67 miles. My right foot was starting to blister and the biopsy on my back was starting to talk so I called it.

Sunday arrived and I was up early and heading for the coast. It’s been too long since I got lost. Obviously, getting lost was not the plan but sometimes trails with my mother turn into adventures as she does not know how to stick to a plan. We were on track for the first 3 miles and then we went off course. Took a trail neither of us has been on before with only a general idea of where it went. Also one of the steepest climbs… and it just kept going!!! Also it’s hard to oreint yourself to the ocean when you can’t see. Luckily we could from the top of the climb so I knew we were on the right track. Chose the right way through a couple of trail intersections before landing on a wide trail/ road. Which then led us back to the main road…like I thought. What I did not think was how far out on the main road it would spit us out. Like 2 miles out on a narrow winding death trap road. Oops.

I was pretty positive I could get us back to the cove by taking a trail on the other side of the road- the Dune Trail. Aptly named because it’s all dune sand. My mother lasted maybe 1/3 of mile before we were back on the road. Ha! After what felt like a longer trek than the previous 7ish miles, we were back at the car. 9.85 miles for the day. Big oops. But long enough to tell me these trail shoes are a big no. My left foot still feels bruised today. Grrr. Also, the back biopsy is very angry. Dumb.

So my levels of running go from none to getting lost in the state park…yep, sounds about right.