One of the places I like to hike is called Bommer Canyon. It is a small park that runs along the north side of Highway 73. For such beautiful and close park, I am surprised it doesn't have more people. Gently sloping canyon walls and peppered houses along the ridges bound the trails. The grass is dead most of the year, save the Spring, but its still a beautiful park to pass through nonetheless. An old cattle ranch sits in the center of the park. And, passed the wire fences, are two moderately difficult hills to climb.
I choose to pick the hill less traveled today, instead of the more common Turtle Ridge "zig zag" trail. The hill isn't steep, and can be surmounted in about 20 minutes. With each step the surrounding view becomes less obstructed, revealing Saddleback off in the distance. Before I knew it, I was under Highway 73.
At the top, there is a tiny park with water fountains and bathrooms called Coastal Peak Park. It overlooks Crystal Cove park to the Southeast, and the Pacific Ocean if you look a little farther. It isn't on the agenda for today, so it will have to wait for another time. I like this park because its a good checkpoint between other hikes, as well as having ample free parking.
One of the things I like to do on my hike is to not listen to music. This may sound odd, but I think the lack of headphones on a hike really adds to the experience. Music is good when you want to drown out the silence, but it comes at that cost. Silence lets you focus. Can you think with music playing? At least for me, no. I used to think that meditation was kind of silly; like a planned waste of time. But now, I can understand what it is, why it exists, and why it should be done.
Can you have ideas when you cannot think? Can you solve your problems when you mute your mind? I ask these questions not to be rhetorical, but rather as someone who has used music as a crutch. I listen to music loudly in the car, at work, and at home. I usually use my music as a tool rather than a luxury. I block out the outside world, the chatter, the noise, the things that make the world the world. It would seem wasteful to go outside only to insulate myself from it with synthetic melodies and rhythms. I will have to think on these things.