The excitement for an upcoming trip can be exhilarating. But it can also be very stressful as you have a million things to remember to do days or weeks leading up to your trip. I, however, have a few extra things I need to do to prepare for road trips due to my auto-immune disorder. I have to plan for meals and food as I manage my disorder through diet that involves more natural ingredients and nutrient dense foods; hence, I have a restricted diet.
Anyway, when we have a road trip coming up, there are several things I do to plan and prepare for an enjoyable worry free travel experience. When I say ‘Weekend Road Trip’ I am generally referring to a trip consisting of approximately 250-300 miles. We usually travel on road trips to Arizona, Palm Springs, or Nevada from the Southern California area. My road trips usually involve a hiking adventure, so this information is geared towards hiking or exploration. One of the most critical things to do to prepare for your road trip is to make sure your vehicle is safe and in good operating condition. Here is a list of things I do for the preparation of our weekend road trip; I start with a vehicle inspection.
Open the hood and glance over the engine and check fluids.
Make sure oil is at good levels
Make sure water is enough for windshield wipers
Bring jumper cables in the trunk
Bring a gallon of water
In case your car overheats while driving. You don’t want to be on the road someplace in the middle of nowhere and your car breaks down and overheats, and you do not have water.
Make sure the oil and oil filter has been changed
Bring a blanket
Bring a roll of toilet paper
Bring a handful of tools
Bring the air compressor. Make sure all tires have the appropriate air in them
Make sure the spare tire has appropriate air in it as well.
Full tank of gas
Hot climate travel – turn off air condition as you incline mountains etc.
Maps if needed (we do not use GPS); good ole fashion paper maps.
Ice chest – ice – zip lock bags of ice to fit in cooler
I found a styrofoam cooler at Walmart for $2.67 and worked great.
Bring lunch meat turkey breast
Enough almond milk for the weekend
Bottles of water
Healthy snacks; nuts, cut veggies, tortilla chips
Energy bars- protein bars
breakfast cereal- cheerios, oatmeal
Hiking Checklist – local hikes or short hiking
Bring enough water bottles to fill take for the hike
Energy bars and nuts
Appropriate clothing for hiking – hot or cold climates
Small compass, small mirror
A hiking partner
Let someone know where you are hiking, if hiking solo
Small tool-Swiss army knife
Research local hiking trails, gather info, trail length, difficulty, etc.
Proper shoes and clothing
Clothing and Personal Checklist
Check the weather to determine to bring lighter or warmer clothes
Jacket or not
Umbrella in the car
Essentials- Lotion (for dry climates), chapstick,
Hats or visors
In summary, road trips can be a little stressful because of the preparations involved and other unplanned items that may come up, but they can also be exciting! Road trips allow you to be more flexible on your trip, for example, you can take a different route returning home than the route you took going to your destination. You can take detours and stumble upon some amazing gems! Here is one of our hidden gems we stumbled upon on our detour return from Oregon going South. We came across a detour from I-5 to bypass the large fires happening in Northern California areas. Check out beautiful Diamond Peaks mountain range.
Weekend road trips are like a mini vacation that allows you to getaway for a short while to rejuvenate, refresh, and renew! So maximize your life and fill your weekend road trip with excitement, fun, and exploration! Open your mind and go out and wander!
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Weekends are very special to people, it is considered very valuable time for some. It means taking advantage of time off from work, or it might mean spending quality time with family and friends. The weekend is also perfect for running errands and doing tasks that you weren’t able to do during the week. But the weekend is not only for playing catch up on household work, it’s also great for going outdoors and exploring the local area hiking trails. And hiking on the San Diego area trails are perfect to fill your weekend with fun outdoor adventure!
If you have the desire to make the most of your weekends, here are a couple hiking trails I thought were very easy and interesting. The Santa Fe Valley Hike and the Del Dios Gorge trail heads are located directly next to each other. There is a rock gravel parking area that you can park at no charge, then go and explore one trail and continue on and hike the other; exploring both trails all in one visit. Directions: I-15 to exit Via Rancho Parkway, Go West 3.5 miles, go left on Del Dios Road 5.4 miles, and turn left when you see a organic fruit stand building and veer to the right and continue driving down the road that will lead to the gravel parking area for the trails.
The Santa Fe Valley trail is not only great for hikers but you can also bring your bikes out on the trail. There is even a bicycle repair station to use if you need a few tools to do a small repair or simply need to add some air in your tires on your bike. Also, one of the pleasant viewpoints of this hike are the beautiful views of the Crosby Golf Course.
My visit to these trails did not only present striking natural landscapes for viewing pleasure, but I learned they also have archaeological significance. The flood of 1927 apparently exposed countless artifacts of the areas early inhabitants.
Three pre-historic cultural periods describe this region and it portrays a peak at how Native Americans explored through this valley. The Harris Site is noted as one of the most significant archaeological sites on the National Register of Historic Places.
Del Dios Gorge Hiking Trail
The Santa Fe Valley and Del Dios Gorge hiking trails are both segments of the Coast to Crest Trail, which expands 55 miles from the ocean to the Pacific Crest.
One final thought, the next time your weekend is full of an endless to do list, make sure you add hiking and going outdoors to that list. Something to remember; make the most out of your weekend as well each and every day you get. Maximize life by learning, exploring, making memories with your family, and treasure every moment of this life.
5 Beautiful Yet Moderate Challenging Hikes to Explore While In Hawaii
Does the excitement of exploring a new place thrill you as much as it does me? Just the thought of seeing new landscapes and unfamiliar nature trails can get those butterflies buzzing around in my stomach! Then if you add the adventures and activities planning; whoa, the excitement plunges through the roof! The place that brings an abundance of excitement to me is visiting Hawaii.
Hawaii is such a magical place and presents a vibe that is like no other. While many people think of Hawaii as a place for charming resorts, sparkling swimming pools, and relaxing patios. Hawaii to me is full of nature, beautiful landscapes and adventure. There are so many hiking trails to explore in Hawaii, that we have yet to scrape the top 10 of them yet. So if you are someone who wants to get more out of your visit to Hawaii and create unique extraordinary memories, then you must explore these wonderful yet moderate challenging hiking trails.
If you are hungry for a scenic yet challenging and adventurous hike while on your visit to Hawaii, then this one will surely put a smile on your face. We started off the day with a little sun and clouds hoping that the rain might stay away for this particular hike. I don’t know about you, but the word Ridge places just a tiny bit of fear in me being this is the first time we’ve hiked this trail.
Ignoring the on-slot of a bit of fear I seemed to develop, we proceeded to gather our water, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses and piled in the car and drove towards East Honolulu area. Actually, the journey to get to the trailhead was quite spectacular by itself as we cruised to higher altitudes through what seemed to be an upscale neighborhood of homes and hills. I noticed as we reached the trail head there was no guard or official person around at this time, so we proceeded to park in the appropriate designated spots. Usually you do need a permit to park in the designated areas to hike this trail.
The clouds started to build up around us making for a possibly muddy, wet, and slippery hiking experience. Early in the hike, we approached a beautiful canopy of trees of all sizes but mostly tall and large. The wind began to swirl and howl making for an eerie stroll through this part of the trail.
As we made our way through the tree tunnels, we encounter some of the challenges and views that this hike presents. The steeper sections of the ridge continue closer and we used the ropes when needed to assist in the climb to the top.
This part of the hiking trail offered a few challenges and obstacles. The rope was very helpful in climbing to the next phase. This trail can be muddy and slippery when it rains, so take it slow and careful and you will gradually make your way to the summit.
The views and beauty of the trail aren’t the only things to be excited about. If you blink you may miss some of the most beautiful plants and flowers that are displayed on this adventure nature trail!
Be sure to take a rest on the ‘Swing’ and tree area, and if you are hiking the trail on a weekday, you may be lucky enough to get a seat on the one lonely bench that sits at the summit of the trail. There are 360 views everywhere up here and they are incredible! Hang on to your hat as the winds can be quite wicked up at the top.
The Aiea Loop trail is located in Aiea – Pearl City area of Honolulu and is an interesting path as you begin at the trailhead located within a park. There are a few scattered picnic tables and the park is quite large in size. The trees are massive and the lemon eucalyptus trees offer a scent of sweet citrus as you ponder further into the trail. There are a few trail road blocks of large tree trunks, and you’ll climb a few steep switchbacks along the loop.
You will catch some views of the freeway H-3 from particular areas on the trail. This trail can also be a little muddy if you experience the hike on a misty or rainy day.
On this trail, I ended up hiking part of it on my own as my husband went on ahead of us, then my in-laws were slowing and I went ahead of them. I was beginning to question if I was going in the right direction at one point and if I might catch up with them or get to the end of the loop. There is an area where one bench sits at peak of a slight climb and elevated area, and I sat there for a moment hoping I wasn’t lost. I finally came to the end of the loop and saw my in-laws trying to approach the friendly cat that hung around the park that day. This hike is considered an easy hike with a few areas of moderate challenge.
This hiking trail was both challenging and rewarding. The trailhead is located near or in the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades. Parking is limited, so you may wish to start this trail early. The trail begins with a smooth wide pathway of red dirt and rocks with plants lining the path.
As you continue further on the trail, it can become muddy and slippery depending if you hike this one on a misty or rainy day. You’ll have to keep an eye out where you walk and step because there are large tree roots everywhere and the elevation can create a slightly dangerous trail.
Going downhill may be easy and you can use the tree roots for stepping, but coming back up can get you huffing and puffing. This part of the trail is known as ‘Cardiac Hill’.
Again, this trail is really not that difficult, but it becomes slightly dangerous if it’s a rainy or misty day and especially when you are descending down towards the beautiful pools and waterfall, it can be very slippery.
This hike presents a wide variety of plants and trees to ponder over as you slither your way carefully down the path over red dirt hillsides, trees, and slippery mud. I lost the soles of my shoes and mud was everywhere. There are a few spots where you use a rope to help you down steeper rocks or hillside parts of the trail. You may encounter a wild pig or hunters with dogs so just be aware and don’t be alarmed. There are plenty of birds to listen to as they sing and fly from tree limb to limb. The hidden gem on this hike is the infamous Waimano Pools and Waterfall.
If you are looking for an easy yet very rewarding and full of nature and very large trees, then this is the hike for you. At times, this hike can also be slippery and muddy depending on rain. The trees are wide, tall, and giants on this very interesting yet enjoyable trail.
Manoa Falls Hike
On the day we hiked this trail, the falls didn’t seem as large as I expected, but it is still a beautiful scene of maze and wonder. If you are someone who wants to get away from large crowds and noise, and have a desire to explore and surround yourself with nature, then you’ll have to check this one out. This hike is considered an easy rated trail.
Koko Head Stairs Trail: 1.8 mile roundtrip. Elevation 990 Directions
The spectacular views will not be the only thing that gets your heart racing during this extraordinary hike up the Koko Head stairs. This climb of approximately 1,050 stairs (or railroad tithes) is a challenge for any exercise enthusiast and will definitely offer a cardio workout like no other. This is rated as difficult.
Koko Head Stairs Hike
Koko Head Stairs Hike
Koko Head Stairs Hike
Koko Head is the eastern side of Maunalua Bay and the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. On its western slope is the community of Portlock, a part of Hawaiʻi Kai. You will enjoy wonderful views of Haunama Bay and beyond. The climb can be grueling and scenic, so its a good idea to take a rest and take in the views.
View from Koko Head
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There is a section where a larger drop to a ridge is located below, so you take your time and go slow if needed.
You may be huffing and puffing half way up the climb, only to learn you have quite a ways to go and are getting higher.
This is a view from below it may be approximately half way up, but it still looks like there are quite a few steps to go to reach the top. You will be huffing and puffing by this point.
There is an no doubt an abundance of excitement and adventurous activities for those thrill seekers visiting Hawaii on travel. But don’t be tempted by those fancy boutique shops, crowds, and lounge bars that bombard you at the tourist beaches. You may want to change your travel strategies to add exploration and hiking to your itinerary. This will no doubt make the most out of your visit to Hawaii and create remarkable memories.
When you travel, do you plan for hiking or exploration to be added into your travel itineraries? If yes, which hiking trails or mountains are your favorites and describe them.
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If you are lucky enough to live in the Southern California area, you have an over abundance of mountains and hiking trails to fill your days every weekend all year long. If you are on travel or a visitor, then you are in for an adventurous treat. What a privilege it is to have access to places like Iron Mountain, Mt. Woodson, Bernardo Mountain Trail Summit and Nighthawk Trail at your beck and call.
There are several activities to do in California as the climate and culture is conducive to so much activity even in your own back yard at times. Fortunately, in California, there are not really any bad days of weather, so you can basically go on an adventure anytime, any day of the year. I like to go on my hiking adventures on sunny warm days so that I can capture some of the best views and the brightest skies with my cameras.
Here are some great hiking trails that are full of beauty and challenge, yet low to moderate level hiking for those who might be novice.
Iron Mountain: 6 Miles Elevation 2601 feet
You’ll find this trail head to this beautiful mountain at the intersection of CA- 67 and Poway Road. On the day we hiked it, we had a cool and slightly windy, yet sunny day with a little bit of moisture haze. The entrance to the trail contains an iron awning that you walk through on a dirt path, then it takes you through a tree tunnel to get your mind set for adventure.
You will continue upward and encounter several rocky switchbacks that lead you to a majestic 360 panoramic views. You can even see parts of downtown San Diego.
Some of the hike can be challenging and you may find yourself huffing and puffing on parts of it, but the challenge to reach the summit and the end result is well worth every step!
Mt. Woodson: Backside Trail: 4.1 Miles Elevation 1220 feet
We decided to hike the backside trail to see what Mt. Woodson was all about. Especially since we wanted to enjoy a more moderate level trail and not over do it for the weekend. This was a beautiful trail and we were complimented with a gorgeous sunny afternoon too. Parking for this trail is actually along CA-67; and it can be busy so be careful and be patient in looking for space to park.
The trail starts off nice and easy with neat walkways and shrubs and trees shadows.
Then there is some steep inclinations as it reminded me of being on my stair stepper at the gym. I definitely encountered some heavy breathing, but that’s my kind of workout.
Once you reach near the summit, you will see some radio antenna equipment and towers. Just slightly past that area is the infamous Potato Chip Rock,
and if you hike during the weekend you may encounter a waiting line to step onto the thin appearing but steady rock piece that looks like a potato chip.
This trail receives a lot of visitors; both local and foreign, as it is a very popular hiking trail in the San Diego area.
Bernardo Mountain Summit Hike: 7.1 Miles Elevation 872 feet
This is an interesting trail that includes a biking option and a walking/biking bridge that stretches across conservation areas. It has plenty of trees and creeks, as well as a picnic area with the sound of birds and water flow of a stream.
Some parts of the hike flow at the lower crest of homes and properties. Some of the trail includes easy and smooth stepping areas to lose rocks and gravel reaching to small tree and shrub tunnel paths.
When you reach the summit, you will enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Hodges and tons of rolling hills and other mountains. You may also hear the sounds of speed boats in the distance.
Nighthawk Trail: 5.3 miles Elevation 1210 feet
This trail is located near and around the Black Mountain hiking trails and free parking is available at the Hilltop Community Park, as well as restrooms. This hike is scenic and somewhat noisier. Once you have hiked about a mile into the trail, the sounds from the freeways and park are far in the distance. I consider it a moderate hike with gradual switchbacks leading to the summit, however, much of the trail is comprised of lose rocks and can be a little tricky.
Take extra caution with every step to not twist an ankle or slip. You will also see areas of housing construction in the process in some of your views. But for the most part, the rolling hillsides and landscape are quite breathtaking.
The summit views are quite beautiful. As you reach the summit, however, there are large tower antennas and structures to pass. This hike is great for a weekend wandering or exploration.
So, if you are always searching for adventure and activities to fill your weekend or if you have visitors in town, these hikes are fantastic to explore! They have an easy to moderate level rating, and the hiking trails offer spectacular views and interesting landscapes!
Be bold and go outside and explore! Life Maximized!