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The Eleven Mile Jaunt

September 27, 2010

In my last post, I said I needed nature.  This became our mantra and point of humor during the hike Tim and I took on the way to the Sonoma Book Festival.  We arrived at Samuel P. Taylor State Park just after 3 in the afternoon.  I wanted to hike the loop that I have ridden several times and it is the shortest loop around there that dogs can go.  It was hot, about 90 degrees, but I knew the entire climb would be shaded and then we could descend in the sun in the early evening.  I showed Tim the map.  We counted the miles.  Okay, so around 10 miles, no problem we could do it if we kept up a brisk pace.  I wanted to go something fierce.

We parked on the side of the road and had to backtrack to the beginning of the trail that ascends straight up to the Bolinas Ridge Trail.  The dog was happy, we were stoked to be out of the truck and walking on our legs into beauty.  After passing through the city traffic, over the Golden Gate and then slugging along Sir Francis Drake Blvd with all the tons of school traffic, we were feeling the bliss of the wide open spaces.  In fact, we did not see a single other human on the entire loop until we were passing through the campground after we were down off the ridge. 

I have only visited in Spring when the hills are graced with green grasses, the dense coastal layer watering the stands of deep green trees.  Now the hillsides were dried to a golden brown and hawks cried out and circled in great numbers.  About 5 miles in, we wondered if we had bitten off to much of a hike given our start time.  Out came the map and so, okay, the hike was really closer to 11 miles and we could go back and save a mile or two, but that didn’t seem to inviting, so we carried on.  Remember, I needed this.  As the warmth began to give way to the coolness of evening, we finally began to descend.  By the time we reached the bottom and were again in the deep forest, I pulled out a towel to wrap around myself for warmth.  My feet had not been in my hiking boots since we left Idaho and my feet were mentioning themselves. 

Soon it was pitch dark and we were still miles away.  We tried to pick it up to a faster pace, booking along the paved road of the formal campground.  The map indicated that after we got to the entrance booth, we only had about a mile and a half left along a trail on the other side of the campground, plus the backtrack amount to the truck.  We decided to cut off a mile, or so we thought, by ditching the trail and taking the main road.   By this point our dog did not want anything to do with the rocks on the side of the road.  She pulled toward the pavement, so every time we saw approaching headlights we had to restrain her off to the side.  Some parts of the road had no shoulder, so we made a run for it around those portions of the road, praying that we would not encounter a vehicle.  We walked and walked and a snaking fear that our camper had possibly been towed way began to thread through my mind.  After what not only seemed like hours, but was actually hours, we saw a white apparition in the distance.   A car approaching from behind illuminated the road and confirmed the presence of the camper. 

We hobbled the remaining distance and folded ourselves into the  cab.  We drove directly to the park where I knew from experience that there were coin operated showers.  I peeled off my socks and slid my sad feet into my flip-flops and gingerly responded to the call of warmth on my now chilled bones.  Oh, the joy of hot water on a cold tired body.   After the sheer pleasure of that shower, we continued on our journey toward our night’s destination.  The truth of the matter is that I did need that.  I felt like a reservoir within me had just been replenished and so when I sat on my butt at my booth at the festival in the searing heat all the next day, it was with the utmost relaxed happiness.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy Waynar permalink
    September 27, 2010 8:09 pm

    “Wide Open Spaces”… Glad you got your fill of Nature and a great hike out of it with your two perfect partners! Hope all is well! I’m reading Cole Creek…Only on chapter 7. Loving it!

    Love to you both ~

  2. September 27, 2010 9:25 pm

    I prefer to take those daunting hikes on the back of my horse Suzie. As I am having problems with my right shoulder I currently need assistance to mount as there is no strength in one arm. However yesterday we managed a 5 mile ride through the prairie with 6 in our group it was great to get out in the open on my horse it made the return to the office today bearable. I hope you soon find a new mount it will be a lot easier on your feet!.
    Also I want to order your book Cole Creek but have lost the link.
    Connie Larsen

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