To Hike or Not to Hike

Let’s see, after suffering California’s the worst drought in 1,200 years, we are set to experience the biggest storm (rain, winds) we’ve had in up to ten years. It’s already dark outside and just beginning to sprinkle. I’ve got a day off (I can change my schedule around because I work outdoors for myself), so what should I do today? Let’s consider. Indoors: stay nice and toasty under a thick blanket topped by a purring cat, while relaxing to a cup of hot chocolate and old movies. Outdoors: Get pounded and soaked to the skin, muddy, blown off course, slip into a few puddles, take occasional refuge under swaying trees, etc.

Well it’s a no-brainer. I’ll let you know how it went when I get back.

~~~

Ok, We’re (Mustard and I) are back. Well it didn’t pour like I’d hoped. In fact it only drizzled. But the WIND! WOW! It did not disappoint. It howled and roared – really, it roared – around us. It was so strong that I couldn’t stand in one place for long. So I leaned into it and laughed.

We went probably 12 miles or so. The highlight was that I was finally able to locate a path to a lovely grassland (not nearly as big as The Grasslands which you can see a bit of on My Hiking Bonafides page), that is surrounded by tightly knit chaparral, trees and steep mountainsides. I’ve seen this grassland before and always wanted to investigate, but could not see a way to it. So today we went to a more normal trail while I watched it as we approached. It looked like it might be accessible from below so we gave it a try. I miscalculated because we had to fight our way through the chaparral. Finally I had to crawl under it, getting my pants wet and muddy. Mustard, my trusty steed (actually I mean dog) was right behind me. He stayed so close that I had to catch branches so that they wouldn’t whap him in the face when I went through. Finally after awhile we were there. Well, not really. We were now above it. I don’t know how that happened. Anyway, we had to again fight our way, but now down to it.

At last, though, we were there! A lovely grassy area enclosed by trees. It’s probably an 1/8th mile wide and a 1/4 – 1/2 mile long. A fantastic place to explore. But we didn’t. I looked at my watch. It was 3:00 pm. I knew it was going to get dark soon, so I decided instead to follow a faint, thin animal trail through the grass that meandered out. I figured that if I could find an easier way to get there we could come back again, and logic dictated that deer or bear would have found (or made) an easy way long ago.

To make a long story short, we discovered that there is a way onto this mountain grassland if we follow that faint trail from the other direction. Unfortunately, I still don’t have a camera, and I wasn’t about to bring my laptop and chance it getting drenched. Sorry. So note to self: Get a camera.

I plan to go back fairly soon taking the faint trail in. Then I can explore this wonderland.

You know those enjoyances I mentioned at the beginning? The warm blanket, the hot cocoa etc? They are always sooo much better when you’ve earned them.

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