2020,  AllTrails,  California,  California Polytechnic State University,  Family,  Hiking,  Musings,  San Luis Obispo

City Girl Hikes: Serenity Swing Trail – San Luis Obispo, CA

I’m a sucker for a SWING!

Serenity Swing, San Luis Obispo, CA

Spending Labor Day Weekend (LDW is apparently the cool new acronym to use) in San Luis Obispo (SLO), Lil and I knew we’d try to work out somehow some way. The hotel gym was closed due to COVID. So, I told her we should hike. Or run. Even though I told her this, I only came half prepared. And by half, I mean I brought the right hiking clothes and I didn’t even bring enough for that. The weather was way warmer than I ever thought it would be.

That being said, when you use the AllTrails app in SLO most of the hikes average 3.5 miles in distance. The Serenity Swing was just that, and it fit perfectly into our vacation plans. A short-ish hike so we can enjoy the rest of the day with the fam.

I wanted to start the trip with a hike I’ve never tried, thus the Serenity Swing. Swings are the best, and why did I not know SLO had one? I’m really annoyed at myself for not taking advantage of the hiking opportunities when I lived in SLO.

Remember that unprepared part I mentioned earlier, yeah, so we were very Laissez-faire about the hike. We slept in and lollygagged about getting out the door. And we were greeted with a warm day, already 90 degrees at 9 AM! My memory of SLO does not include weather like this, thanks to Climate Change! We didn’t bring water either.

We also picked this hike, because it was about 12 minutes from our hotel. I didn’t realize the hike would bring us to campus. Luckily it was move-in weekend and we could easily park on campus without getting a ticket or in trouble. We navigated may bright-eyed freshman and their eager parents, as we weaved our way around campus to the start of the hike, which is in Poly Canyon.

I’ve never hiked back her behind the dorms I used to live in. A small sense of nostalgia washed over me, but also a sense of wonderment because there is a whole new living community past Cerro Vista too. They even built a pool there. I knew it was there, but I hadn’t really seen it before. This campus is like a whole different world, overwhelmingly different!

We started the hike and passed by the cutest Poly Canyon little metal work and through the gate. I honestly had no clue what I was doing, but there were a couple of ppl who were also hiking, so we all just meandered. We saw random stuff and then we came to a Y where we had to pick which way we went. We picked the way that looked like we were going onto private properties past cows, which was the correct way to the Serenity Swing.

We passed through another gate, of which we’d do a couple more times. This hike isn’t really much to look at, lots of dried grass and brush in yellow tones. No shade, so the heat really is just out there baking you.

We came across two Poly girls who were doing stuff, who knows that, but they confirmed we were on the right track to the swing and to keep going and go left to get to the swing.

It was all uphill from here. Like pretty hard. As you get close to the swing the incline gets STEEP. Like really steep and on this day the wind was incredibly strong. Steep incline + strong wind does not make good for a hiking situation. I was trailing behind Lil and taking my time. I don’t think I can really articulate the anxiety I was having, but I wasn’t going to give up, at all!

We got to the first tree we saw, which was really windy, to realize this wasn’t the right tree. So we hiked up even more and then came to flat ground where we saw the elusive swing. I will note, we saw a handful of people hiking, but no one was going to the Serenity Swing, no one. Just us.

The wind was really blowing up here, with nothing to really deflect it. The swing is perched really high and it takes some time to get up onto it. I let Lil go first. You can’t really swing on it either, because the rope is dug into the branch and we both were a little wary of moving too much, for fear of it breaking. Then we switched places and then we decided to see if the swing could handle bot of us. I could. It did.

The entire time we were enjoying the swing, there was the nagging feeling about having to hike down. But I tried to stay present and enjoy the moment we were in.

On the way back, we took a very different route which was less steep, but still, nerve-wracking to go down. When did I get so scared? Anywho, we did not bring water and we both were so thirsty, the intense wind didn’t help either. Cottonmouth anyone?

We made our way back to the car and guzzled tons of water. My Garmin vs AllTrails wasn’t off too far this time. Happy to be done, but happy to have done it!

I was a little out of it, but we made our way to grab some iced coffee, our favorite post-hike tradition. Not before I drove Lil to the College of Business to see my old stomping grounds for a little trip down memory lane. It was less than 30 seconds and then we headed to Scout Coffee.

Not gonna lie, I’m so jealous SLO has so many cute coffee shops now. This was NOT how it was awhile ago. Anywho, I’m still here for it. Scout Coffee was the cutest little stop and had the cutest little stuff they were selling. I wanted to buy everything but left with a delicious iced honey lavender soy latte which was good.

Yes, I”m one of those people who hike on vacation…

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