I have always been a fan of hiking. So I was up for the invitation when my aunt asked if me and my boyfriend would like to check out some trails with her. It had been years since I last got my shoes dirty on a hike. My aunt suggested some trails nearby and we decided on checking out Hellman Hike first.
I was surprised I was able to wake myself up and even more thrilled to be able to get my boyfriend to roll out of bed too. My aunt asked for us to get her by 7:30 a.m. (on a non workday! What an accomplishment!) I made a yummy banana mixed berry smoothie and we were out the door!
One of the setbacks of this trail was the small parking lot with probably ten or less spots. I was surprised the trail was near a residential area. I always had to drive up some mountain road to get to a hiking trail. This trail a walk away from a residential area, which luckily made it easier to find parking. Although the streets closest to the trail were parking permit only we were able to find a spot that was less than a five minute walk.
The trail itself was reviewed as 2 out of 5 star for difficulty in some sites and moderate in others. I guess that depends on the person though, because less than a half mile in I was already winded and sweaty! The trail immediately starts off straight uphill. The view from the bottom can seem quite daunting, but there are a lot of people beside and ahead of you to keep you motivated.
Towards the top I felt like I was almost perpendicular to the world. After the first long uphill journey you find a small area to gather your breath. There happens to be quite a nice view of the city here. After some short sips of water (more hills ahead! I had to conserve) you can decide between different paths. For the rest of the trail there was always at least two options, one for a more challenging journey of more hills and one that is a narrow choice around the hills. Of course my boyfriend chose the hill path all the way to the end, which was marked with signs as the Peppergrass Trail. In my opinion the first hill was the steepest at the top, but the third hill was also a steep journey up. This was also the point where most people decided to end their hiking and head back.
We kept moving forward to the endpoint, a water tower. There wasn’t too much going on at the top, but the view of more trails and the surrounding areas of the city. The trail had a bunch of dragonflies and lizards, but luckily we never ran into any of the rattlesnakes said to be around the trail. I would definitely suggest this trail if your looking for some good uphill exercise! My quads were burning on the journey uphill and my legs were sore the next two days! The only part I wasn’t too happy about was the pain in my shins I was feeling, most likely from the steep journey downhill. Altogether though the 4.5 mile hike(distance my NikeFitness App showed) was a good workout I would choose to do again sometime. Not to mention being out in nature can always give a rewarding feeling. There were also a plenty of people with their dogs on this trail and a few bikers as well! I wouldn’t recommend this trail for kids, although there were about two small children I saw.
Some things I would definitely suggest if you decide to hit a trail, which I had not given too much thought are these:
Try to beat the sun! Getting to the trail before the sun was up was definitely a brilliant idea. I can’t imagine getting through the hill challenge of this trail in the sun. Dehydration and sunburns would have definitely made this experience a unpleasant one for me.
Wear your sunscreen! Even if there is no sign of sun when you head out!
I came to regret the decision of not putting on some sunblock. Although we got there before the sun rose, by the time we made our way back the sun was starting to poke out. Even though I was probably out in the sun ten minutes my shoulders were already a darker color and by the time we got home my chest was burnt from the sun.
Bring a towel! I think the hills were the great cause of my sweating on this trail and I wish I had worn my headband after all. I had thought the trail would be smoother and easier for me to manage. Bringing a towel or headband would have helped keeping the sweat and hair out of my face.
Don’t forget plenty of water. Luckily my boyfriend brought this for us. However, no doubt if we started any later and met the sun longer we would have needed way more water.
Wear good shoes! My shoes were a little old and worn out, and probably didn’t make my climbing easier. The bottoms are so worn out I had no leverage on the gravel up or down hill and was very cautious and anxious in slipping.
Most importantly enjoy the views, the air, and the lovely surrounding nature around you!
Share what excellent trails have you tried out!?