If a box of chocolates, roses, anti-Valentine’s day sentiments and general commercialized garishness doesn’t appeal to you this February, time to start a new tradition. Instead of worrying about pink, paper hearts (or lack thereof), get your real heart pumping, forget the chocolate and hit the dirt. The San Francisco Bay Area offers a diverse array of hiking trails, for the urban nature lover and adventurous types. The Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, East Bay, offers hundreds of acres of romantic landscape, canyon runs, and breathtaking views at the top of the Stonewall Fire trail. This trail’s .75 mile ascent is a well-traveled and safe hike. Though moderately challenging, the climb culminates with a spectacular view of Berkeley, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Exercise is frequently used throughout corporations and workplaces to build a sense of trust and community, excitement, and reinvention, so why not incorporate that into a relationship and/or friend group? A build-up of endorphins, a proven result of exercise, and a sense of adventure and unconventionality can put a surprising twist on bonding experiences. In the article, “Take a Hike,” featured on valueoptions.com, the “reinvention” aspect of such activities as hiking provides an opportunity for a deeper understanding of one another, to align goals and provide excitement, all beneficial in sustaining a healthy relationship, whether it is with a significant other, friends or reinventing something for your adventurous self.
Let’s be honest: there is a ton of information that advocates exercise for libido. Thinking outside of expectations can also snag you creativity points and alleviate the pressure of such daunting decisions like, “dark or milk chocolate?” The Stonewall trail hike offers a moderate to difficult feat up the west side of the canyon, followed by miles of trails leading into the canyon’s level grounds, great for running, lush and shady for a cool-down. There is a lot of room for mapping and customization with this trail. Once at the top, proceed right, following the asphalt trail around a property, and out along the ridge path with a sweeping view of the wilderness below. The main trail leads up into Grizzly Peak and eventually Tilden Park, for an all-day affair. Alternative paths can be found along the way, offering a change of pace, the occasional wandering pooch, towering trees and moments of pure silence.
Bring plenty of layers (it’s a Bay thing), a small picnic and find a grassy spot, or perhaps one of the many benches along main paths, to enjoy your accomplishments. Stay for the sunset on a clear day and experience the breathtaking beauty of the bay, or catch the fog shooting in under the Golden Gate Bridge. The physical and emotional satisfaction is only half the reward as the surrounding nature refuge chirps and serenades you. Sound romantic yet?
For more information on the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve and Bay trails, check out these links and get mapping! Happy Valentines Day to you.