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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hiking Mount Saint Helena

Today we hiked Mount Saint Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.  We summited the North Peak which stands at 4,342 feet as the highest point in the San Francisco Bay Area Watershed.  It is of volcanic origin and is surrounded by numerous geysers and hot springs which can be seen while on the climb.  Our hike started out around 9am when the weather was pretty cool.  Be sure, as on every hike you plan, to layer up!  Do your best to avoid cotton clothing.  Instead wear materials that will wick sweat away from your body and will maintain the healthiest and most comfortable conditions for you to climb in all day.
That's my fiance and me at the trail head!  Why do we look so excited?? Well because of the nutritious breakfast in our bellies :)  But seriously, eat a breakfast with whole grains and protein for long lasting energy.  This morning we enjoyed some oatmeal mixed with ground flaxseed and cinnamon complimented by a delicious coffee for the extra caffeine of course.  Toast, fruit, and greek yogurt are also great options if oatmeal isn't your thing.  To maintain your energy throughout the hike, pack snacks!  Granola bars, bananas, and peanut butter sandwiches (AND PLENTY OF WATER) made for a tasty lunch and re-engergized us for the 5.1 mile trek back down the mountain.
...The Fire Road...
Now some information about the trail itself...The first mile to mile and a half consisted of some switchbacks and technical sections.  After that the fire road was how we traveled up. 

...Easterly View... 
Halfway up the view way already magnificent!  Today was sunny and pretty warm but still a bit hazy.  On a clear day, after a storm has passed through perhaps, you can see the snow capped mountains in the distance.
...The Final Summit Push...
A few miles later we had the summit in sight.  The trail doesn't look too bad right??  Psh!  False! It was quite a steep push!  And oh so worth it.  After sweating out the last 1.5 miles we summited and in less than 2 hours.  The views were INCREDIBLE.  360 degrees of mountains, Lake Berryessa, and the Pacific Ocean.
After lunch, we started back and the climb down flew by!  Within 1.5 hours we had made it all the way back to the trail head once again.
...Heading Home...
My last tip for you after a long hike like this??  Have a change of clothes handy along with some fresh wipes to get most of the dirt off!  You WILL thank me for this one.  Nothing like feeling refreshed for the drive back home.  Yes, I know I look tired, but i'm happy too because the hike was amazing!  Not only did we get a chance to check out some insane views of vineyards and mountains, but we burned hundreds of calories today without getting bored!  No gym time.  Just fresh air.  Thank you Mother Nature.

Go out and enjoy it :)

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