January 2014- Hike to Mt.Tam

Cost- Basically free! (I bought a $69 recreation pass through the school that allows you to go on all of the outdoor trips at no extra cost).

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I like to believe that this is my first professional hiking trip. I’ve been on other hikes before, but they were more like strolls as a group of girls just chit chatted to the top. This is “professional” because the trail starts mid-way through this windy mountain pathway and I needed a guide to figure out where I was going.

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It started off great because this girl offered to drive. I was going to just drive by myself, but knowing what I know now, I would have gotten so lost. Anyways, I never met the driver or the two other passengers before this trip. I basically hopped in the car and said, “Nice to meet you!” Gracielle, the driver, is a former UCSF student and current pharmacist. John and Amy are both post-doc students. And all of us were friends for the day.

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We met up with the group, mostly students, and hiked up the trail. The first 1.2. miles was on a steep incline. I remember thinking  this is what it feels like to feel your breath… in and out… in and out…to just listen to sounds, and to smell nature. I originally wasn’t going to go on the trip because the hike was on Sunday and I would have had to miss church. In a way I had church despite not being in a building. Being in nature, where the trees are older than the oldest person I know, showed me how close- just by changing my surroundings- I can get to God.

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We took a break and had sandwiches and chips they provided for lunch. We were all famished. Someone remarked that his sandwich was better than a $50 meal he once had.

The last 1.8 miles up and 3-4 miles down were a lot easier. I understand what it means to clear my mind. Something about being away from school/ work/ people makes it really easy to not think about school/ work/ people. I was more focused on the present. I was really focused on not falling down the mountain.

The one thing I learned about myself is that I try to capture what isn’t easily captured/can’t be captured. There were so many times that the sun hit the trees or the light reflected in some of the most beautiful ways. I took pictures only to find out that my camera didn’t do justice to what my eyes had seen. It’s the difference between living, enjoying and experiencing the moment instead of trying to worrying about whether or  not you can capture that moment and have that moment to keep.

Lastly, something happened that doesn’t usually happen. I got carsick coming back down the mountain on my way home. I’m so glad I  didn’t drive.

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