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Part of Mink and Church trail at Lake Nockamixon on a beautiful Fall morning

Part of Mink and Church trail at Lake Nockamixon on a beautiful Fall morning

Was looking forward to the weekend past week. A hectic week it sure was. A friend of mine had started a no-sugar challenge – basically avoid direct sugar or sweets i.e., no sugar in coffee or tea; no pastries and anything else that one wanted to avoid. Mine started well for two days and I absent-mindedly ate payasam – a sugary concoction of think rice sticks soaked in milk and sugar. As I was talking to my wife, she asked me what I was eating. As I rattled off the numerous items on Thaali’s vegetarian menu, she stopped me as I started off with payasam 🙂 Anyway that just reset my 7-day challenge extending it by two more days. I had diligently been avoiding direct sugar and started to enjoy coffee without sugar. In addition, I had shifted my hotel closer to work and it was a mile away. That enticed me to walk to and from work each day. Two days I topped my daily goal of 8500 steps. The pacific coast time at work meant I had extra time in the morning after getting up. With this I got my quota of 12-14 Sun Salutations and a series of asanas for a good 30 minute session. All the activity certainly started showing up on my waistline – I was fitter, down by five pounds in two weeks. Lunch time at work I had the option of eating carbo-heavy, delicious Indian food or stick with vegetable-heavy salad. I chose the latter everyday.

The only issue it seems was that I was very tired the day I flew in SFO. By the time I went to bed at 11 p.m. I was so tired that I couldn’t sleep. Moreover, my mind was way too tired to be very productive on Monday as is the case now-a-days. I would wonder if the coast-to-coast travel was causing all these. It surely should have but I know many people do this all year-round. When I got up Tuesday morning it was amazing how refreshed I was. It struck me that I was just sleep deprived. I need to try out sleeping early and more regularly. I decided not to hesitate popping in a melatonin the days I was too tired to sleep. You know when you are very tired, the exhaustion just doesn’t put your mind to sleep.

IMG_5661Anyway a challenging week was ahead for me. With ever-changing requirements it was hard to come up with a clear end in sight for the project. Add to this, other demands added to the stress all week-long. Thus I was eager to get out of SFO. Friday was a another full day and when I got off work it was past seven-thirty. We skipped the plan to visit the outlet mall to exchange the newly bought pair of hiking shoes. We had to do this as the Sunday was the Fall hike day. It would be the first fall hike of the year. I had ramped up support and six people had signed up. At the party Saturday evening, two more joined. The weather wasn’t looking great with the temperature dropping to nearing freezing overnight. It was unseasonal temperatures for this weekend only. I didn’t want to discuss it too much so as not to discourage people. An advise to come prepared with layered clothing, caps would certainly be needed. I knew once we started the hike, we would get warmed up. The start time was moved from 7:30 to 9:15 to make it more appealing to some late starters for the day.

It took three cars and twenty extra minutes to reach the start of the Mink trail. The weather was crisp but chilly. The sky was blue and the occasional bright cloud added to the Fall morning. The ten of us were in great spirits starting off. The plan was to do the 3 1/2 mile Mink trail along with the 5 mile Church trail. The two formed a horizontal eight. We reached the middle after about an hour and twenty minutes of walking. The thermals and caps were indeed a good idea as I could feel my hands feeling the cold air biting onto the skin. Half way up the Church trail, we ran into a patch of swampy ground. Many in the group had other commitments for the second half of the day and wanted to turn back. Many hadn’t paid attention to the path on the way in and weren’t sure how to get back. So we decided all of us should head back and then those enthusiastic could do another loop. A little bit of veering off the trail on the way back added to the interest. Finally after about 2 hours and 40 minutes and nearly six miles we were back to the parking lot. It was a great walk and I could feel the tiredness creeping up. I had a flight to catch in the evening and didn’t want to push it. That was the first fall hike of the year. Many folks were ready to do another the coming weekend. It was a nice start to the fall outdoor season!

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