I love to hike. Last week I hiked up to the peak of San Luis Mountain, elevation 1,292 feet. Also known as Cerro San Luis Obispo or Madonna Mountain, San Luis Mountain is part of the chain of peaks called the Nine Sisters.
San Luis Mountain is located in the heart of San Luis Obispo, where my son Daniel, his wife Jill and their five-year-old son Andres live.
Normally, this hike takes two hours, one hour to get to the top and one hour to come down. But with a five-year old who wanted to inspect the bugs and flowers on the way, and adults who wanted to take pictures, it took us 1.5 hours each way for a total of three hours.
The view from the top of the mountain is spectacular. The city of San Luis Obispo can be seen below at 360 degrees. All four of us made it to the top, including Andres, amazing for a five-year-old. But this child’s natural athletic abilities have been nurtured since birth.
I can appreciate athleticism nurtured from a very young age because growing up I was not the recipient of such a great gift. I never did sports growing up, even when it was part of school curriculum. I alwa6ys had an excuse to avoid having to participate. That’s why I’m so grateful I started training when I did, even if I waited until I was almost fifty years old to start. If I hadn’t been training my body all these years, I wouldn’t have been able to survive the hike.
Going up the mountain some of the steps were so steep, I was literally squatting upright. I had to use both my leg and arm strength to pull myself up. Coming down that mountain the challenge was even greater; this is where my knees took a real beating. With each step I could feel the pounding on my knees from the force of my body as my feet hit the ground.
When we finally got to the bottom of the mountain I was so happy my knees were fine, a little sore, but no pain. I realized then how important conditioning is. I thanked all the squats, hamstring curls and quad extensions I’ve done over the last 25 years.