One of the things Rancho La Puerta is known for is its sunrise hikes. Since it can get quite warm in Mexico, it’s best to start out before dawn, so as to get back before it gets too warm. Or maybe because it’s just a great way to start the day, who knows.
But me and sunrise? Seldom are those two words uttered in the same sentence. Usually, the only way I’ll see a sunrise is if I didn’t go to bed until then!
In an effort to get all of the experiences at the ranch I could get, I wanted to try. That meant going to bed early and getting up WAAAAAY early. Like 5:30am early. Like dark outside early.
The first morning I opted to go on what I thought would be the easy hike, since it was only 2 miles and the next up was 3.3. Little did I know that 0ne of those two miles would be like mountain goat steep. It was called Alex’s Oak. I could see it way up there in the distance the day before, but I was game to try.
It started with a glorious sunrise. There have to be some rewards to getting up that early, and this was it.
I’m not going to say it was easy. It most definitely was not, but it wasn’t the kind of hard that made you say “what the hell was I thinking?” It wasn’t pretty. And I was slow. And the “shepherd,” the one tasked with making sure the slow pokes got back alive, must have thought my lungs were going to explode as I sucked air on all the sharp uphills. But I made it, and the success gave me the confidence to think I could do a longer one.
Andra did a harder one, and found it to be a piece of cake. (I hated her for a minute.) Not really, she’s a stud, and I’m proud of her. I shouldn’t compare. After all, I’m old. Okay, well, there were people older than me on the harder one. I have no excuse.
The next day, I opted for the next longer hike (the Professor) and although it was longer, I actually found it to be easier – the incline was more gradual, and it actually went right by Alex’s Oak, so I could have saved myself the trauma of the day before, but who knew? Again, I was slow as molasses, and it wasn’t pretty, but like the day before, I made it, and, in truth, I lapped everyone who opted to stay in bed!
Shaman’s sculpture in the distance…
…and yep, I made it! Whew!
And, once again, Andra did a harder one. She was building up to the 7 mile, which I KNEW would be over MY head! In fact, having accomplished the professor, I chose to retire my hiking boots and stick with the “walks” from there on out.
I still got up early, but stayed on the lower trails, woodland and quail, and added to them the Labyrinth, which turned out to be one of my favorites. The slow, meditative walk was just what I needed. Getting in 10k steps before breakfast was fun in a sick sort of way.
Andra did her 7 mile breakfast hike on Thursday.
Then on Friday we got up even earlier than usual to do the 2 mile hike out to the organic farm for a tour and breakfast, then back 2 miles. This last one was easier, not as much uphill, and I was able to do a much better job of keeping up! I’d like to think I increased my endurance, so we’ll just go with that!
Believe it or not, this is one of the things I will miss most about the ranch. I like to hike, but it just isn’t practical to leave early enough in the morning to get to a place to do it at home, at least not on a daily basis. It will need to be saved for the weekend, and I’m guessing, a little later in the day.
Goodbye, sunrises…I really will miss you.