Lens-Artists #218 – Over the Hill

For this week’s Lens-Artists challenge, Donna of Wind Kisses challenges us to share photos showcasing what “over the hill” means to us. As a landscape and nature photographer, I immediately think of hills, mountains, and trails winding over, in between, and around them. If I am able to, I prefer to hike trails that provide vistas from the tops of them.

My husband and I are still working on our 52-week hiking challenge. I’ve shared hikes from weeks 1-5 here and weeks 6 and 7 here. For week 8, we visited our friends in boiling-hot Las Vegas, where it is wise to get up before sunrise and be at the trailhead as early as possible. We found a beautiful, yet steep, trail just outside of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area before the crowds filed in (although, who would be crazy enough to hike any later in the day in 115 degree weather, I am not sure). This trail, Gene’s Trail, does go on for miles overlooking Las Vegas to the east and Red Rock Canyon to the west and eventually takes you into the Red Rock area, but we only hiked 2 miles at sunrise. If you are thinking these hills look similar to the ones from my hike in Utah, that is because they are part of the same chain of volcanoes that dot the landscape all the way down into Arizona.

Week 9 provided a different challenge, looking for a trail in the city. We crossed over the blue Coronado Bridge in San Diego, California, and hiked 2.33 miles of the paved path that extends from Coronado south towards Imperial Beach. From the path, you can see the Coronado Bride, which makes me think of a man-made “hill”. There are bay views, but I could not get too close, as some of the area is fenced off by the Navy or is designated as a restoration area.

There are definitely more trails “over the hill” in Irvine, California. While I love visiting San Diego, I enjoy more natural settings, like the trail at Bommer Canyon in Irvine, California. For week 10, we hiked 2.5 miles across a beautiful meadow and up towards a ridge where the fog was coming over the hill from the ocean. The canyon was peaceful and full of birds and rabbits early in the morning. I will be going back there in the early spring, when the brown hills turn green and become covered with yellow mustard seed plants.

The Newport Coast is adjacent to Irvine and Bommer Canyon. If you’re in great shape, you could connect from the Bommer Canyon trail over the hill to the backside of Crystal Cove. I chose the easier route and drove over to the trailhead at the top of Newport Coast, just on the other side of the Bommer Canyon hills, for week 11’s hike. I managed 2.76 miles of the No Name Ridge Trail, which is very steep and descends into Crystal Cove State Park. If you end up at the bottom of these “hills”, you better be prepared to climb back up the seven or eight miles to your car or catch a ride back. This ridge trail proves that not all hills are the same, as I felt like I was going to die on the trail while my husband kept saying “it’s just over this next hill.” I also believe that hiking shoes (and not regular running shoes) were in order for the steepness of these hills. As a bonus, I was able to see the sunrise over distant mountains in the east and then out to the Pacific Ocean in the west.

There are more challenges than just the weather or being in a city when it comes to hiking. My husband and I were in Oahu, Hawaii, celebrating our 30th anniversary earlier this month. When it came time (you need reservations) to make it up this iconic hill at Diamond Head, we were exhausted from snorkeling and walking 15,000 steps per day. We drove up to a vista and took pictures of Diamond Head, since we have hiked it before. And as it turns out, I was able to get shots from different angles, including from the shoreline. To my surprise, Diamond Head is brown this time of year. It is a stark contrast to the green hills we saw during a visit in the winter.

Feeling “over the hill”, I opted to “hike” around Waikiki instead. For week 12’s hike, I sauntered around the Fort DeRussy Beach Park path for 1.2 miles. This is what happens when one overdoes it on a trip, but I was content with my camera and being surrounded by Hawaii’s nature, especially as the early morning light filtered through the vast tree canopy.

Nothing like a long trip to paradise, but I needed a small recovery hike when I returned. For week 13, I decided a short, 1.03 mile hike into a canyon, rather than over the hills, was the best option. Thankfully, it was foggy and peaceful on this morning hike at Oakmont Park in Redlands, California.

Hiking over, around, or in between hills helps me keep in touch with nature. Driving to the tops of hills for a better view makes me happy too. I like having the option of either one, particularly on the days I am feeling over the hill. My favorite is always getting over a hill and finding that sweeping vista on the other side.

Makapu’u Overlook on Ka Iwi Scenic Shoreline, Oahu, Hawaii.

Hope everyone is having a peaceful start to their week. Aloha!

Published by Dawn Palmer

I am an avid nature and ecology lover and enjoy sharing my photography in my blog writings. I will often be out early in the morning or late in the evening with my camera, trying to capture the peacefulness and beauty around me.

33 thoughts on “Lens-Artists #218 – Over the Hill

  1. Before I forget. Happy Anniversary. I love that you are celebrating your 30th year together, doing the 52 hikes. The hiking is more of a commitment then some realize. Good on you.

    As for you post. Stunning images that walked through those very hikes. Red Rock in Vegas is fantastic, but yes the heat dictates that hike.

    What is interesting about the Coronado hike, is…we are retired Navy and can walk on the beach. I am so intrigued with watching the Navy SEALS train, we usually don’t get more then a mile or so in, so we get coffee and watch.

    Diamond Head for the win. We have been to Hawaii, but have never done it. Your photos encourage me to look closer the the calendar. Such a nice journey you are taking, Dawn. Over the hill looks pretty nice in your shoes. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊 A couple of Navy guys were up on the obstacle course on the ocean side of the road, and I had to practically drag hubby the rest of the way because he wanted to stay and watch. They definitely didn’t do that in the Air Force when he was in. 🤣

      Diamond Head is tough. Thankfully, I knew that from the first time so I could gage whether to gut it out or not. Reservations can be made 14 days out. The trail is paved but if you don’t go early, it’s a line up the trail to the top…maybe reservations help reduce that? I think it’s prettier in the winter, and you have just as many sweeping views from Tantalus State Park (which you can drive right up to). 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sunrise is best, but I learned that from living in the desert. Lol And I don’t mind the reservation system either…in HI it helps with the crowds (unlike Disneyland, where it’s still crowded). 🌺

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great idea for your personal challenge Dawn – and how terrific you’re sharing it with your husband. No wonder you’ve made it to 30 years! Beautiful images and quite a variety! Hard to beat Hawaii though. I’ve not been there for many years (tough travel from the southeastern US) and was a bit sad to see how dense the population is in some areas but who can fault them for wanting to live in a place so beautifully surrounded by nature! Terrific post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊 The hiking gets tough when traveling, but it’s worth it. And yes, Hawaii is my favorite, even when it’s hot and parts are brown. There’s still something magical about the place. 🌺
      I haven’t been to the southeast in a few years—it is def hard to get over that way. Your area looks like paradise too. 😎


    1. Thank you! 😊
      I wish I was still there! If you’re going to Oahu, make sure to check the Waikiki Aquarium calendar for box jellyfish updates. And if you see little Portuguese man-o-wars on the beach on the windward side, don’t get in. I guess they float in with the tide, as my hubby found out. It is still gorgeous there, but now I know to look out. 🤓🌺🌺

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Dawn, Wonderful photos. I particularly like the images of trails that disappear over a hill or around a corner. An air of mystery or the prospect for a story that lies beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

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