A Hiking Fail: Lessons Learned During an Inexperienced Family’s Nature Adventure

Date: April 16, 2017
Time: 10:15 AM
Location: Will Rogers State Historic Park, Pacific Palisades, CA


For this year’s Easter Sunday, my family and I decided to go on a hiking adventure. We have gone hiking a few times in Southern California, but we are by no means hiking experts. Last year, I posted about my first major hiking adventure. Yet, I am far far far from an expert.

Hiking Adventure

Of course, we still opened our easter baskets, ate a delicious easter breakfast and did an easter egg hunt early in the morning. [side note, I won the easter egg hunt by a landslide, like every year prior 😃] After our traditional morning festivities, we laced up our shoes and headed out to Pacific Palisades, CA!

At the beginning of the adventure, my family was confident in our abilities to make it through the hike with ease. My parents and sisters had visited this park last year and raved about a simple and beautiful stroll to the top of a mountain. I was promised a lovely view of the ocean at the end. We started our trip with all the supplies we thought were necessary. We had on Nike tennis shoes and sporty leggings with our hair pulled back off our faces. I strapped on a fanny pack to store my phone in case of an emergency. Plus, I really wanted an excuse to wear the adorable pink fanny pack! Our ice chest with waters and snacks was fully loaded in the trunk of the car (where all of the food and drinks stayed the entire hike…mistake #1). We stowed the map provided to us at the entrance safely in the backpack in case we needed it later on. Most importantly, our camera was in tow to capture the memories.

While my family had been to the park in the past, we decided to take a different path this time. Supposedly, the new trail would lead to the same location at the top of the mountain but was longer and more scenic. The first 30 minutes were fun-filled. My sisters and I posed for some nature pictures. We caught up on family drama, brainstormed summer activities and talked about every other random topic that made its way into conversation. There were even some jokes made when my dad tripped over a large rock.

Hiking Fun

Some smiles before the craziness!

Then things changed. The roller coaster of emotions started when we came to a fork in the road. We had an important decision to make– 1) continue down the same trail which would eventually lead to the top of the mountain, or 2) take the more narrow “bypass trail.” This was the first time during the trip that we cracked open the map. The bypass trail appeared to be shorter in length, and thus, would get us to the end quicker…or so we thought. Little did we know that the bypass trail was not for beginners.

The next hour proved to be a test of our physical endurance, mental strength, communication skills and family bond. The bypass trail was unquestionably less traveled than the original path. It was narrow, covered in rocks and overgrown by plants (some of which were painfully pokey). We started out optimistic, but eventually became fatigued and emotional. Each of us slipped at least once on the loose gravel, some more than once. I had to take off my sweater as the cardio became intense. Not going to lie, there was definitely some bickering. I was worried we might have required a helicopter rescue!

Unfortunately, it took us longer than we would have liked to realize this was a much longer path than we anticipated. However, we finally decided to call it quits and turn around. The descent was even more challenging than the ascent. All of us hit the dirt numerous times. Some of the falls caused a domino effect ending in all of us on the ground. There were tears; there were giggles. Most of the time, those two occurred together. We accumulated scrapes, bruises and bug bites, but couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.

Eventually, we made it back to the fork in the road. A couple of us (I won’t name names) may have tinkled in his or her pants from the laughs. All of us were relieved to be back on a more even terrain. We limped back down the original trail while looking back at the misery with a more optimistic attitude. My hilarious sister joked during the walk back, “I hope we find our dignities before we get back to the car.”

At the end, I do not think I have ever been more excited to the car…which stored all of our waters and snacks in its trunk. Needless to say, we will never forget the Easter of 2017! After licking our wounds, we decided that we are not going to let this struggle prevent us from hiking in the future. Next time, we will just do things a little differently.

Lessons learned:

  1. Bring the water and snacks along during the hike. They are of no use in the trunk of the car.
  2. Read up on the park and trails online before the journey. Learn from other’s adventures.
  3. Study the map and plan out the route before heading onto the trail.
  4. Pack a first aid kit for all of the scrapes and scratches.
  5. Keep your level of expertise in mind at all times. Don’t push yourself too hard if you are still a beginner. There is nothing wrong with taking the easier route and enjoying the journey.
  6. Stay optimistic at all times.

Hiking Checklist

With some more experience under our belts and some lessons to keep in mind next time, we will see how our next adventure turns out. Stay tuned!

Until next time,

P&P ❤



3 thoughts on “A Hiking Fail: Lessons Learned During an Inexperienced Family’s Nature Adventure

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