Walk Mexico

Don Jose lived with his large family and friends on a remote mountain top above the Santiago River in the Sierra Madre mountains of central western Mexico. Elevation: aproximatly 5000 feet, yet from the jungle and trailhead of the river below it looked much higher. Between 1971 and 1977 I hiked up this mountain trail many times, usually with Huichol Indians, relatives of don Jose. They seemed to glide up the trail with ease, and I usually struggled up, sweating and resting frequently. Don Jose was in his eighties and ninties and for him it was an easy assent, and I would watch him climb joyfully, joking and laughing as we walked along. I was in my early twenties and he was much stronger than me: He amazed me with his endurance and hiking ability.

The “subida” (grade, incline) to the village above was not more that a few thousand feet. However, for me it was a great teacher, and revealed my strength or weakness on each occasion. For the Huichols it was merely a short path to their home; hiking up and down the mountains to corn fields or for visits with family or friends were daily events.

The Huichol Indians are famous long distance walkers. For many centuries, and perhaps even millenia they have walked on an annual pilgrimage from their mountain homes to the high altitude desert (“Wiricuta”) of central Mexico: round trip about 350 miles. The only food was tostadas, for dinner, as the day was passed fasting. The trip took about 3 to 4 weeks round trip, and the pilgrims would return quite thin and reduced in body weight. Thus, for the Huichol people, hiking locally in the very steep canyons and remote mountains was relatively easy, and they do this frequently, thus maintaining a high level of physical fitness.

(c) Paul C Adams 2013

Walk India

One very warm and humid afternoon of the monsoon summer 1970, in Ranchi, Bihar, India my yoga teacher Baba Hari Dass asked if I would like to go for a walk. I said yes, and we proceeded barefoot on a long walk through fields and villages.This is the first long walk that I recall, and I remember it well, for afterward I was very tired and upset (with myself for being so out of shape). This walk pushed my “envelope”, which at that time was small.  The walk might have been only 5 or 10 miles, yet for me it was difficult, tiring, and I wondered why Babaji had taken me on such a long, hot walk.  Baba Hari Dass had lived in the Himalayas and walking long distances was frequent and normal. I was 19 years old and I had no experience with long walks, especially barefoot.

Today I fondly remember this walk in India. Paul Bragg walked with Mahatma Gandhi in India for 3 weeks, every day, and they did it fasting!

Walking long distance (pushing your limits, or envelope) is way to stimulate metabolism, increase personal energy levels, breathe fresh – energetic air, and build endurance. It is a great exercise that yields a clear mind and strong body. See links: Clubs dedicated to exploring and sharing hiking – walking enthusiasm and insights.

(c) Paul C Adams 2013

By the Sea

Wilder RanchOne of my favorite seaside hikes is along the coast north of Santa Cruz. The trail starts at the parking lot of Wilder Ranch State Park. It is called Old Cove Landing Trail.  After a half mile it connects with The Ohlone Trail, and heads west. You can follow this easy hiking trail for several hours, arriving at “4 Mile Beach”(see photo), and then return the same way, or head north, cross Hwy 1, and continue following wilderness park trails to higher elevations in the hills. Maps are available at the entrance kiosk. Un marked trails and shortcuts connect across beaches and ascend cliffs.

The round trip hike to 4 Mile Beach, following the coastal cliffs and several secluded beaches is wild and very scenic. The air is pure and usually high in energetic air ions. On week days you might find yourself alone in beautiful seaside solitude.

(c) Paul C Adams 2013

Waterpower

Fatigue and premature aging are known to be related to “dehydration” and we know that the loss of water due to sweating( etc) leads to feeling tired. This limits how far we can walk and good advice recommends drinking frequently before, during and after exercise.

Aquaporins are tiny water channels in all of our cells, and they allow the passage of water molecules into and out of the cells. The aquaporins can get plugged up with various toxins, like mercury, and suffer dehydration as  a consequence. Avoiding all toxins that clog the aguaporins is very important.

My strategy for optimal hydration: Drink pure water, filtered to .5 microns, shaking the water bottle vigorously for 30 seconds before drinking (this ionizes-charges the water via molecular friction and ultrasound), and drink small amounts frequently during exercise. Also. I find that the occasional use of “structured water” like  Penta  is very useful, and I take small doses on some days.

(c) Paul C Adams 2013

River Canyon

San Lorenzo River, located in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park passes through the Santa Cruz Mountains near Felton, CA.  From the park headquarters the River Trail departs, first through a grove of protected redwoods, and then follows the river downstream. This is a very accessible and easy walk that passes small sandy beaches.  Peaceful and serene, casual and gentle the summer time river flows between hills and mountains of oak, fir and tall redwoods. At various points in the park, especially close to Cathedral Grove (trail summit), it feels and looks like a scene of the Sierra Nevada, and seems very remote. Hiking maps are available at the park entrance kiosk. This is a great wilderness experience for those people who enjoy a short walk, and have a few hours to spend exploring.         See more photosSan Lorenzo River

(double click photos to see enlargements)                                                                          (c) Paul C Adams 2013

Energy

Walking requires energy and most distance walkers seek insights to greater personal energy levels. Getting tired or exhausted ends a walk, and thus limits how far you can go. Everyone has a different latent potential of energy, however this can be increased (dramatically) via knowledge and training.

Each walk is a teacher and we can learn from the experience ways to improve energy generation and conservation. By paying attention to diet, water, nutrients, air quality, and length/frequency of hikes: optimal selections of these will become apparent with experience.

Many luminous places in the wilderness confer a direct “osmotic transfer” of vital energy, and this can be of a high order, and lead to easy hiking.

(c) Paul C Adams 2013

Skyline to the Sea

Big Basin 1One of the most beautiful hiking trails in Northern California is “Skyline to the Sea” trail of Big Basin State Park. I have hiked this trail many times and I always find it to be a powerful and very peaceful experience (see photos). The tall and ancient redwoods, in their grandest glory, are preserved here; they are seen near the park headquarters, and are present in groves along the trail until reaching Berry Creek Falls, six miles west.  After twelve miles, one way, it arrives at Waddell Beach. Canyon de Salud (Canyon of Health), near Waddell Beach, is the name Gaspar Portola’s priest gave to this site: they recovered from (travel related) illness very rapidly while resting here.

(c) Paul C Adams 2013

Twilight

I find magic and mystery in the very early morning. It is in these predawn hours the morning “stars” Venus and Mercury are visible periodically, “heralds” announcing the arrival of the sun. Most of us miss these special moments, for we are normally still asleep and dreaming.

A mystical quality of light can be seen in this very early hour and it is quite pristine in nature, yet it cannot be photographed: this is light too delicate for the camara. Yet within us the deep and quiet places of the inner soul are felt, a reverence perceived, and prayer or meditation enjoy their peak.

To be outside and see the morning “stars” rise, in a wilderness setting of mountains or desert , with a clear and distant horizon. is a blessed moment. Cultures worldwide and throughout history have noted this predawn luminous time as an inner place that is sacred and full of unstirred potential.

(c) Paul C Adams 2013