Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hike 2015.099 -- Legg Lake, Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, Los Angeles County

Hiked Friday, December 25. 6 miles. This was my "official" hike 99 for 2015. It's only about two miles to walk the long trail that more or less circles the entire section of park (south of the Pomona Freeway, CA-60, and east of Rosemead Blvd, CA-19). If you walk up and down the trails the pass between each of the three lakes, you can add maybe a bit less than a mile. And if you encircle the whole area twice and cut around each of the lakes in addition to that, you're well over 5 miles, probably more like 6 miles.
Currently, my Fitbit is set to 16,000 steps, and, although I undoubt-edly had a thousand or two before I started, I wanted to make sure to break the 16,000 point before quitting.
My wife gave me my Fitbit in December 2014. Initially, I was skeptical. I already knew I wanted to walk more, and I didn't need some damned device to tell me that. However, I soon found that having a firm, quantifiable number worked for me. It set a floor for my walking. If I didn't "buzz," I needed to walk more.
Default on the Fitbit is 10,000 steps. Depending on your job and your self-moti-vation, that may be either depressingly unachievable or completely unchallenging. In my case, if I made a point of taking a 15-20 minute walk during my morning break at work, and another 15-20 minute walk during lunch, and maybe 15-20 minutes in the afternoon or evening, I was there. So, eventually, I upped it to 15,000.
For me, 15,000 worked, because it required me to do more than I was already doing. Now that my commute to work involves a 10-15 minute walk coming and going, if I do a couple of walks up the stairs during the day, and a 30 minute walk during lunch, I'm moderately close. If I work that night, no problem, since my night job lets me walk a bit. If I don't work at night, I need to either take a walk after getting home (if there's still daylight), or a short hop on the treadmill. If I don't manage to get as much walking in during the day, it's a LONG hop on the treadmill. The target makes sure I achieve my goal.
Of course, preferable to a walk around the block or a long walk on the treadmill is a hike. Even a short, 3-mile hike, after a normal day of activity, puts me above my target. A longer hike puts me further above my target, and a 6-8 mile hike achieves me goal all by itself. The point is, on days that I don't manage to fit in a good hike, the Fitbit nags me into achieving my floor.

Of course, there's nothing magical about a Fitbit that a lot of other activity trackers couldn't also achieve, or even a good old fashioned pedometer. But, for me, it's easy to use (I only use the step counter--I don't try to measure food intake or sleep hours or anything like that), and it creates a modest level of external motivation (because, in theory, other people will see if you are or are not achieving your goal).

So, anyway, the point of this post is just to say that the Fitbit and my goal of 100 hikes in a year worked pretty well to keep me much more active this year than I otherwise would have been. I'm still much overweight, but a little bit less so this year than last year.

Still lots of old hikes to blog, as well as new ones. Not sure which I'll do next.

Guess I should also say that the main bit of photography I did during this hike was of the small motorboats, operating in one corner of the lake. Not necessarily the main attraction of these lakes, and you'll see other, more wildlife-oriented shots in my previous visits here. But this was something different.

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