Afoot and Afield

Afoot and Afield

I like to say that I started hiking in January 2014, but really, I’ve hiked long before then. Probably one of my earliest memories is of me walking somewhere in the Philippine countryside, temporarily losing sight of the adult accompanying me. The fear was so strong I had a nightmare soon after of getting lost, and I woke up crying.

My first real hike was in the sixth grade, at sixth grade camp. Honestly, I don’t remember much about it except for the fact that I wanted to take a bunch of photos of the scenery around me. I felt I had to resist the urge because I remember my mom telling me very firmly to make sure I took a lot of photos of me and my friends.

Strange, how taking pictures of people went against my natural inclination at the time. I wanted to shoot landscapes!

After that, I went on very few hikes, but I did create a number of trails in my own backyard so I could pretend with my friends that we were at sixth grade camp all over again. We’d go on “hikes,” sit around an imaginary fire, and tell scary stories.

I did some hiking in South Korea with my then boyfriend, Richard. We saw rice fields and pagodas, temples and statues, and because I was unaccustomed to hiking at the time and the summer weather was humid, I probably didn’t enjoy it nearly half as much as I enjoy hiking now. I don’t remember doing so, but I probably complained about my feet, the heat, and various other things.

Then there was my solitary trek through the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, where I took some photos, and I went again at a later time with my cousin Zee for more photos and a different trail.

Sometime after that, I went to Australia for a couple of weeks, and I did quite a few hikes there, some with my godmother, whom I was visiting, and others with a tour group or very much on my own. I hiked the Valley of the Giants, the Pinnacles Dessert, Ayres Rock, and a few other places, most of which I wrote about here in this blog. There, again, I took many photos.

There was not much more than that, really. My hiking experience was fairly sparse before I seriously started hiking in January 2014, a little over three years ago. That was when I started hiking at least twice a week, going with a group on various trails listed in a book about hiking in San Diego.

Now I hike maybe three times a week, and my regular hiking companions and I like to tackle the long, tough trails. If the trail isn’t at least six miles long with at least 600′ of elevation gain, we feel like we’ve taken it easy. The toughest hike we’ve done is El Cajon Mountain, a total of 13 miles in seven hours, going up and down three peaks there and back.

I’m not a backpacker, though, just a day hiker. At the end of the hike, I like to go home, eat a proper meal, and take a shower. Then I get on my computer and go to work, just like anybody else.

It’s great for exercise and meditation, also great for socialization. I usually take a lot of pictures with my phone, especially panoramic shots, which I love posting on Facebook as interactive 360-degree photos.

The photos I take are what I call “grab shots” — quickly taken without a whole lot of thought and sometimes without even stopping in my tracks. But one of these days, I’d like to get myself a decent camera and actually shoot for prints, the kind of prints I’d like to hang on the wall, large as life.

For now, though, I hike mostly for the exercise. So the photography can wait.

For now.

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