Monday, October 9, 2017

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

After a week of bad news and an RA flare, the annual sister weekend we had planned was a welcome break. Timing is everything, isn't it? My only regret about our timing is that it was the Chicago Marathon and I would be missing it. I don't know what I was thinking when I gave my sister the date. I will admit to a little FOMO, seeing everyone's photos. Congrats to all the finishers!!!

My goals for the weekend were: destination sunshine and relaxation. Maybe we'd squeeze in a little fitness. Let the fun commence!



The week started off on a high note with some running and CrossFit, but I woke up Wednesday morning to gloom and high humidity. I was achy but decided to head out for a run. I may as well have tied cement blocks to my feet. This run was hard and it was painful. By mile 3, I was in tears. Every joint in my body was hurting. I called off work and spent the day on the couch. Scheduled to leave for Palm Springs the next day, I left a message for my rheumatologist hoping to hear some words of wisdom, but I didn't hear back until after we left. I hoped that the dry arid desert climate would do me right.

After our arrival at the resort, we headed to the pool to soak up the sun and plan the rest of our weekend. It was hot! We like to joke that "it's a dry heat", but it really is different. The 99 degrees we were in didn't feel like 99 in Chicago. There were very few guests at the resort and we enjoyed the solitude. The beautiful blue skies above were like a balm to my soul.

A toast to kick off sister trip #6!
The next morning we were up and out the door for a hike in the mountains that surround the area. Yes, you read that right. A hike, not a run. With my achy knees, I wanted to avoid pounding the pavement and hiking fit the bill. How hard could it be? Prior to our trip, I did my homework, looking for running routes and instead found hiking trails. I convinced my sister that we should try the Bump and Grind Trail, which was only a couple miles from where we were staying. It's 3 miles round trip--we could totally do that, right?

We easily found the trailhead behind a Target, believe it or not, and headed up the mountain. We were alternately surprised and stunned by the climb and the views. The ascent reminded me of pulling the weighted sled at CrossFit--it felt the same, with my glutes and hammies crying for mercy. This trail is ranked as a "moderate" climb.


At the top!
Elevation 1000 ft
The temperature warmed up quickly and we were grateful that it was "only" 3 miles--that 3 miles took us over an hour--because we only brought one water bottle. I was happy that I had Tailwind in my bottle. I felt great, but I won't lie, my knees talked to me on the way down. Still, I was so exhilarated by the experience that I convinced my sister we should try another climb the next day.



Debbie (Coach Debbie Runs) lives in the area and we had been in touch, making plans to meet up. I feel as though I've known her for years, even though we have never actually met. While we originally made plans to run together, she very kindly accommodated my desire to hike. We met at the trailhead of the Art Smith Trail. This time, Lisa and I each carried 2 bottles of water (I had Tailwind in one of them). Debbie reassured us that she had hiked this trail many times before and we were glad to have her with us! We followed the signs that directed us to the trail and happily headed across the desert. This area was much more "desert" than the Bump and Grind, with cacti scattered about. We saw some animal "scat" but thankfully, no critters. There was an "oasis" of palm trees we could see about halfway up the mountain. As we headed in that direction, we came upon some boulders and after climbing over many of them the trail seemed to have disappeared. There were some trail signs directing us forward, but they didn't make sense, sending us climbing up more boulders. After doing this for a while, we concluded that this wasn't the trail at all. We backtracked to the sandy area where we started and eventually found what looked like a trail. I was so glad because I didn't want to quit on my quest for the view of the valley.


Debbie and Lisa on the switchback trail
As we progressed up the mountain on what was a real trail, Debbie filled the time with chatter and trivia about the area. She also told us that this was what she remembered from climbing in the past. We concluded that maybe someone moved the trail signs. Who would do that? But it was so weird that they directed us over those boulders.

Is he judging us? Or watching us?
Debbie and me!
 No matter. As we climbed up, up, up, we were rewarded with some amazing views. When we reached the top, we had the choice of continuing on the trail or turning back. It was getting hot and we were getting low on water, so we decided to head back down. It's too bad we wasted all that time on that trail to nowhere. I was kind of sad about that. Still, it was a fun adventure and spending time with Debbie was well worth getting lost!



Yoga everywhere!

I woke up Sunday morning thinking about all this, sipping coffee on the balcony at the hotel. Feeling sad about leaving, I decided to lace up my running shoes and run down the palm tree-lined street through the valley. I wanted to get in at least one run while we were there and I'm so glad I did. Even though my knees were protesting, the temperatures were in the 60s and that beautiful blue sky made me forget the pain. I was running under a canopy of palm trees. I had the mountains in my view. I would have regretted missing out on that!


As I reflect back on yet another wonderful weekend away, I feel gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to take these trips. Gratitude for the friends I have met through this blog. Gratitude for my sister's desire to travel with me and to play along with my wanderlust.

And while I continue to struggle with RA symptoms, while I've been slowed by this disease, I'm so grateful that I haven't had to stop being active. Whether the mountains ahead of me are real or metaphorical, I won't stop climbing to the top.

Have you ever been to the Palm Springs area? Hiked mountain trails? Dry heat or humidity? 

I may be late to the party, but I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! I'm also going to link this post with Marcia, Erika, and Patti for Tuesdays on the Run.








70 comments :

  1. I'm so happy we finally got to meet! I can't wait until you come back! Or I make it to your neck of the woods!

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    1. I'm so glad it worked out. My only regret is that we didn't have more time together!

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  2. Having lived in California for 29 years, I can't believe I never went to Palm Springs in all that time. Your trip sounds fun, and the hikes were certainly an adventure!

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    1. I am completely in love with Palm Springs, which only added to my love for the state of California. I need to move.

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  3. Sounds like the perfect time for a weekend get away and it seems like it helped with feeling better :) The photos from the hikes look beautiful!

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  4. Glad you had such a fun trip. I haven't been to Palm Springs in years. I have trails in my backyard that look just like that. We can see the Pacific on a clear day. I'd love a little more humidity than our current 15%.

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    1. I'm really kind of jealous of those trails, Kathy! I think I found my new favorite backup plan!

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  5. I'm glad you were able to enjoy the trip! Glad the RA didn't ruin it for you.

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  6. Sounds like a wonderful sister trip! And I love that you got to meet up with Debbie... blogger friends are such a blessing, aren't they?!

    The hubs and I absolutely love to hike ..every place we travel, if there's a mountain to hike, we'll be on it!

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    1. Looking forward to meeting you too! <3

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  7. I have enjoyed all of your pictures from your sister weekend! So glad you got to meet up with Coach Debbie too! I still have Chicago on my bucket list. The weather has been horribly humid down south thanks to Hurricane Nate. I hope you feel better and have a great week!

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    1. I'd love to meet you at Chicago. I'm really seriously considering it for next year. I had such FOMO!

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  8. Looks like an amazing weekend! SOrry about your RA flare up. I am glad that you are still active, I am sure it definitely helps.

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    1. I truly believe it helps me to stay active. I find it ironic that I'm not losing any strength with this, just endurance!

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  9. So glad you got in some R&R. The lack of humidity does make a difference but I’m sure the sister time helped too!

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    1. Palm Springs is such a beautiful place! We had a great time.

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  10. Sounds like such a fun trip! I'm glad you got to meet Debbie, how fun!!

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    1. I wish we could have spent more time together! It was great to finally meet. She's exactly what you would expect from reading her blog.

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  11. I'm glad your weekend away calmed your soul and made up for the turmoil (?) you left behind. The hiking looks fun! And those blue skies....ahhh, I'm so jealous!

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    1. I don't think I left any turmoil behind...but yes, it was a great trip!

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  12. I have never been and it looks super cool :) I love hiking. You sure got some quality climbing in!! I am glad you got to log a run there ;)

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    1. It is super cool! I am all about adventures and this was a fun one!

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  13. Yes. I have been three times. I hiked both those trails. Love it there. No humidity. The best weather. Glad you were able to enjoy.

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  14. Dry heat! As much as I struggle in the heat, the humidity finishes me off. I hope your trip helps you get back on track.

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    1. It was nice and relaxing, but no, I've had to start steroids.

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  15. So fun and so many great photos! I was having my girls weekend in Maine and was able to run along the ocean - twice!! It was fantastic and much needed getaway...although it wasn't nearly as warm :-) I was in Palm Springs once as a 20 something for a work conference and I LOVED it!! Hope to get back there someday...

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    1. I want to get back to Palm Springs stat! What a fun weekend!

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  16. No humidity? Sign me up! How nice to meet Debbie and I love that you and your sis travel like that. Yay for hiking while running was not in your wheelhouse. It's all about what we CAN do!

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    1. It's too bad we don't have the opportunities to hike like that around here. But you are right, it is about what we CAN do. I was grateful for my fitness on those climbs.

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  17. The kid and I loved hiking in that "dry" heat when we were in Utah. Sadly, there's just nowhere around here where I would consider hiking to be fun. Sister weekends are awesome -- whether they are the blood related ones or the sole sister ones. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip and got to meet Debbie too. Thanks for linking.

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    1. Looking forward to our next sole sister weekend! <3

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  18. Hiking is always so much harder than I think it will be. The altitude will always get me. So jealous you and Debbie got to hang out together. Sounds like your vacation was just what you needed! Have a great week

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  19. Looks like such a great trip! Im sorry you didnt feel well, but you still seemed to make the most of it. And its great that you got to meet Debbie!

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    1. I think this may be the new normal for me, so I may as well make the best of it!

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  20. What a fun trip! I think my sister and I need to plan some trips together :-)

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  21. Nice! I feel like trips like these are the reason to keep in such good shape. What great memories for you all.

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    1. Absolutely! I'm so grateful that my fitness allows me to do all this stuff!

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  22. I'm so sorry to hear about your RA flare :( But I am glad that you had a great week with your sister! I love all of the photos - it's so beautiful there. So awesome that you were able to meet up with Debbie!!

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    1. So so so beautiful! Meeting Debbie was the icing on the cake!

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  23. Sounds like this trip really did come at a perfect time for you. So glad you were able to enjoy your time with your sister - and so cool that you got to meet Debbie!

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    1. It really was a nice getaway! Too short, if I had to complain about anything!

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  24. Yay for meeting up with Debbie! I'm glad that you had your sister and great friends around you to help with the RA flare. Sometimes you just have to ride it out, and the only way to do that is with awesome support.

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    1. I'm just glad it didn't stop me from hiking! Although relaxing by the pool was completely therapeutic.

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  25. What a wonderful trip! I enjoy traveling with my sister too, now that I think of it, we need to figure out where to go next! That hike looks tough but the views were definitely worth it. And I thought that was Debbie, glad you two could get together!

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    1. I really think the best part of blogging is meeting the other bloggers. I've met the nicest people through this blog.

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  26. so fun you got to meet up!!! isn't that a neat thing about blogging, we know people everywhere!

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    1. I just love that. It's made racing so much more fun!

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  27. I wish I had a sister just so I could go on sister trips. Lol! It looks like you had a great time and that's awesome that you got to meet Debbie.

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  28. What a fun (and it sounds like much needed) trip! We hiked Camelback in Arizona in April and it was amazing. I was also surprised by some of the steep terrain and boulders we had to climb! Fun pics, as always!

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  29. It looks like you ladies had a blast! I really enjoyed following your trip on Instagram!!!

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    1. What a great place for a trip...or a home...!

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  30. I love hiking as a backup activity to running. My knees are not a fan of the descent either. Love the pic of you running with the palm trees and blue sky!

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    1. Such a wonderful place and so different from where I live!

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  31. Sounds like a fabulous trip! So glad you got to have a nice weekend with your sister and totally jealous that your got to meet Debbie.

    -MCM Mama

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  32. OH I AM SO SO SO JEALOUS YOU MET DEBBBBBBIE!!!
    I love her.
    Id love to see her again.

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    1. I only wish we had more time together!

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  33. What an amazing two hikes! I love hiking because it's a great way to get outside and be active-- plus it's so pretty. I love taking all the photos at the top too.
    It always surprises me what they call "moderate" around here too. I wouldn't dare try to do something harder- lol!
    So glad you got to meet Debbie too! I'm a little jelly. :-)

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    1. I loved hiking--I wish we had places to hike like that around here! Meeting Debbie was the cherry on the sundae!

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  34. I'm just so jealous of your very active "Sister Trips" Then only thing I could talk my sister into doing with me is an all day shopping escapade. And well that ain't happening!
    How cool you got to meet up with Debbie and yea, who changes the trail signs? That's crazy!

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    1. I'm really grateful that my sister loves to do this! Where will we go next year?

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  35. It sounds like you had a fantastic time! We have high humidity here in the mid-Atlantic region. I've never been to Palm Springs, but it looks like a beautiful place to visit!

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    1. 5% humidity and bright sunshine for the win!

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