|The view of Snively's Ridge in Garland Ranch regional park from my garden.|
The original plan for this weekend was to hike the Pine Ridge trail from China Camp to the Big Sur Station. It's a 23 mile hike that is doable in a day if you and the trail are in good condition. When we made the plan we were in good condition - just back from summiting Kilimanjaro. Then there was a sprained ankle in March (me), and a bout with Epstein Barr in June (Dave), and then a very painful cyst in a back in September (me). It seemed like every time one of us had just about recovered from one ailment the other came down with something else. So the plans got scaled down and down to an out and back day hike on the old Indians road from Arroyo Seco, just as far as I could manage and then back again. Then Dave came down with a nasty cold/flu/whatever that has had him miserable for the entire weekend. So forget Indians Road, I hiked up to the top of Snively's by myself.
Snively's Ridge is always there across the valley tempting me to drop everything and go for a hike. It's usually in view except when shrouded by fog or rainy weather. I have been guilty of taking it and my ability to hike to the top of it for granted for the last couple of years. I even poo pooed it for a while as I pushed myself to do more difficult hikes, at least until a few months ago when I was reduced to doing easy peasy walks around the neighborhood.
Yesterday I was so happy to be able to do one of my old favorite hikes that took me from the valley floor up to the tip top of the ridge. What I had forgotten was the absolute peace up there. The higher you climb the more quiet it gets. The hum of traffic on Carmel Valley Road fades away and all you hear is the rustle of the breeze in the grass and trees, the sound of birds, and perhaps the voices of other hikers or the barking of their dogs. About half way up the ridge the number of other hikers dramatically thins out, most hikers keep to the lower trails, so I often have had the feeling of having the entire park to myself. Yesterday it was exceptionally quiet as there wasn't even a breeze. I didn't run into a living thing (that I knew of) until I was almost to the summit. Can you see it ahead on the trail? It's just a speck.
How about now? Just off to the right of the main trail. There's no mistaking that form, that bushy tail. Even though the park is exceptionally dog friendly and you often times see a hiker's dog before you see the hiker, there was no mistaking that canine for a domesticated one. Sorry, that's as good a shot as I could capture with my phone and the coyote maintained a minimum distance that didn't allow for a better photo.
By the time I got to the summit it had disappeared and I had the views all to myself. From the top of Snively's you can see all the way across Monterey Bay to Santa Cruz.
It was especially delightful yesterday, the weather was perfect, I had to keep reminding myself that it was the last day of November.
November! No breeze, no clouds, not hot, not cold. The light was soft. The air was clean. The views beautiful. I have so much to be thankful for, not the least of which is being in this place.
I always take delight in being able to look across the valley to see my home. My shadow looks like it could reach out across the valley and touch it.
The shadow of Snively's was creeping up along the ridge across the valley and about to engulf the house, and then the ridge, and then everything... Time to hit the trail down and get home before it got too dark.