Climbing Out of a Rut: Figuratively and Physically

I’ve been pretty quite these past few … years it feels. But in reality, it’s probably only been about six months. And not just quite, it feels still. And maybe not even still, maybe a slight “sinking” feeling. Like I have been slowly losing my grip on my goals and my fitness.

I could call it a rut, or a well needed rest. Either way, I have to admit, on the heals of January with refreshed motivated and a little momentum, it feels good to be moving forward again!

2019 Goal Setting

I did some serious goal setting early last week and it was kind of transformative. I set seven goals: four for my Clean & Colorful Kitchen business and three for myself. As a part of setting the goals, I committed to start doing about half a dozen things to make them happen. And in order to create space for the new, productive, positive stuff I want to do with my time, I also committed to letting go of some less productive time sucks.

I won’t bore you with the personal details of it all, but if you haven’t done your 2019 goal setting yet, it’s not too late. Use this free guide that I’ve been updating for the past five years.

==> Free 2019 Goal Planning Guide <==

You’ll get out of it what you put into it. I took four hours and as of now, it was the best four hours I’ve spent in the past six months. Some great motivation and a little bit of action has already come out of that session so I’d like to share a little bit of it with you now. Maybe in hopes of inspiring you, or perhaps just some accountability for myself? I’m not sure, but I’m excited so I wanted to share ūüôā

Goal #5: Hike Cactus to Clouds Trail

For anybody who knows anything about hiking in Southern California, you know this is a hellova goal. And I’ll confess, I know very little. But you can trust that I am not naive enough to think this will be easy or happen without any training or preparation. And I think that is what makes this such an exciting goal for this year! Let me explain how and why this has come to be a huge focus for me right now.

Discovering the Cactus to Clouds Trail for the First Time

Almost two years ago I was out in Palm Springs for a Bachelorette party with some of my best girlfriends on the planet. It was an odd, cold, almost rainy weekend so we were kind of at a loss for what to do since we all expected sunshine and poolside cocktails. I downloaded an app called AllTrails and looked for some local hikes we could do that afternoon.

Palm Springs is a place I have visited dozens of times. It’s just about 2 hours away from San Diego and is the perfect desert oasis to escape to for a weekend. But it’s HOT, so hiking has never on my list of things to do while in town.

Well, as it turns out … there is some KILLER hiking out there! My college friend Jenny and I found the Cactus to Clouds trail and had a good laugh at it because it’s 17+ miles and get this … 10,577 ft of elevation gain on a point to point trail. Even before I knew ANYthing about hiking, I had a feeling that was beastly. We chuckled it off and went for a short day hike.

The day we discovered Cactus to Clouds trail … NOT the day we hiked it.

The day we discovered Cactus to Clouds trail … NOT the day we hiked it.

Fast Forward to Summer 2018

As I jumped on a plane to Cabo last Summer feeling fat, sloppy and ready to go drink my face off by a pool for 5 days, a friend of mine announced she was hosting a retreat to hike out in San Jacinto. The hike would start in Idyllwild and climb up to the summit and back down for a hearty day hike. This is the same mountain as Cactus to Clouds, just the other side. This hike would start at about 4000 feet of elevation, and be about 14 miles up to the summit and back for a net elevation gain of like 6500 feet.

I think I didn’t even think about it. I just signed up and realized I needed to get my butt outside and start walking, climbing or crawling up some mountains in order to get ready for it.

Looking back at 2018, that is one of the small handful of accomplishments that I am really proud of. Not just that big summit hike itself, but all the smaller hikes that got me ready for that mountain. You can see most of them on my Instagram. I generally take one iconic picture at the top of each mountain, but that is such a tiny part of the victory each hike brings.

I didn’t post a ton in 2018, but most of what I posted was about mountains

Why Hiking Victories Are So Awesome

It’s not just the view from the top that is the reward of hiking. For me, it’s every time I get off the couch and out of bed to get outside. It’s every time I make plans with someone I haven’t seen in a while or a best friend and we chatter all the way up a mountain and down again about life, goals, and whatnot. It’s every time I pass on the 3rd (maybe 4th?) glass of wine so I can go to bed early and hike with a clear head and refreshed body.

The day we escaped a killer hangover to hike 10 miles on my 42nd Birthday.

The day we escaped a killer hangover to hike 10 miles on my 42nd Birthday.

The Final Decision to Commit to this Hike

As I sat last week and thought about what really lit me up, I decided I needed to make this Cactus to Clouds hike happen in 2019. Cool. Now what? Well, there is a lot to consider…

When do I Hike Cactus To Clouds?

Because the weather is so weird (desert-kill-you high temps at base up to 10 inches or more snow on the summit), you should hike in late Spring or the Fall. Because I’m excited and ready to get going, I decided late April would probably be a good idea.

Who do I Hike Cactus to Clouds with?

This is not something I can or want to do alone. I need at least one ride or die hiking buddy. The first that came to mind was my dear pal Jenny from Seattle. Not only because we found the trail together in 2017, but because she was my first EVER hiking buddy in the Summer of 1997. At the baby age of 21, we road-tripped to the Grand Canyon on a girls hiking/camping adventure. And also because she’s a physically fit, bad-ass and I love her to the core and back. And she’s a doctor now, so that helps.

And it turns out she was the right one to ask! I shot off my request in a text after not haven spoken for a few months. She wrote back in minutes. We picked a date and she booked a flight that night!

My first hiking trip ever with Jenny…we were 21 years old!

My first hiking trip ever with Jenny…we were 21 years old!

What Will the Trip Look Like?

We’ll be driving out to Palm Springs on a Saturday afternoon in late April. We’ll start the hike in the dark and reach the summit mid-day. We’ll hike back down to the tram station and cheers with a beer at Sunset. Then, we take the tram back down to Palm Springs, eat dinner at a nice restaurant and sleep. The next day, we will lay by the pool all-day-long. Maybe even spring for a spa treatment or two. How awesome does that sound? I can’t wait!

Cactus to Clouds Training Plan

Now that you have alllll the insight into why I picked this lofty fitness goal, you’ll be happy to know I’ve put just as much thought into a training plan. This trail is no joke. People die on it, and I don’t plan on being one of them. I will be physically and mentally prepared! I have over 12 weeks to train and I know it will take a village of support to get me into strong enough condition.

Join My San Diego Hiking Crew!

I’ll share the details of the training plan as it progresses, so keep an eye out for updated posts. And if you’re in San Diego and want to be a part of the hikes that lead up to it, join my new San Diego Hiking Crew on FaceBook.

Like I said earlier, the rewards aren’t just about fitness and mountains. It’s about community, the connections and doing something healthy, adventurous and fun together.

You don’t have to be a superstar hiker, marathon runner or training for the Cactus to Clouds hike to join this group. You just have to want to get outside and climb a few mountains over the next few months with me!

Ok, dare I ask? Do you have any experience with the Cactus to Clouds Trail? If you do, share it now as I prepare myself for what I’m about to get into….