Man I gotta tell ya... life is so sweet.
I'm alive and breathing, for starters. Against all odds. So every fresh breath is a gift and I try to keep that at the forefront of my brain. Most days I do an OK job at that.
I have a great family. There is love and laughter plenty in my life too. Oh plenty of trials and tribulations, and lots of white water rapids to be negotiated, still. There is strife, between where I am and where I wish to be.
All that in due course. Today... I'm going for a hike.
Come on let's go!
Some dude posted a question to my 4 Days in the Valley thread, asking about bear shit. This piqued my curiosity and as I am prone to do, led to a spur of the moment, 2 PM impromptu (are there any other kind?) start up another Cache Creek trail - Billy's Hill.
The gate on hwy 16 leading to former ranch roads, wild pig trails and the paths of Milktoast
2 PM is a late start for this enterprise, it gets dark by 5. But I'm in OK shape and figure I can make good time up the initial steep section. I'm on a mission though even as I start out I'm not sure I'll go the distance.
I love the Billy's Hill hike in particular because it has an equal measure of oak grassland savannah and coast range chaparral. Plus I did a lot of work on the upper part of this trail so I feel a certain sense of proprietorship toward it too.
The oaks are turning, so lovely in the late November sunshine, I was struck by it over and over, the gentle beauty of it all
Made good time to the summit of Billy's Hill, which is not the penultimate summit of the hike, btw. Oh no, the summit of Billy's Hill might be considered the first leg of a much longer hike and climb (to the summit of Mt Glascock)
Can get good cell coverage at this spot so I caught up on work emails, called home and did some personal emails as well. So nice that technology can actually lead to this, to freedom, rather than chains to a desk and a PC?
Another bluebird day in NorCal!
Hundred mile visibility looked west over the coast ranges toward the Pacific ocean.
So my mission was to check on Bear Shit Island.
Its most of the way up the ridge but again I made good time and was there by 3:30, plenty of time to take in the views and examine the progress of this ecological preserve.
Now is not the best time of year to show this progress. I need to come back in Feb. when all is green. But as you can see, the island is prospering and spreading. It is much larger now than last time I was here.
And less than 10-feet away the bear left her calling card - she's still regularly visiting this spot and using this trail, my trail, OUR trail.
Looking back down the undulating ridge toward Billy's Hill, you can see the line where oak savannah turns to chaparral
On the way back down I caught some stunning light
And got back to Billy's Hill in time to watch the sun set play its magic light against the oaks
I didn't see the Jay family today. Usually they are here, a mating pair of scrub jays. Scrub jays and oak trees just go together... acorns are a staple of their diet. I wondered what they were up to. I love my scrub jays!
And of course I like lichens too!
I was ready to go but the sun was dipping behind Little Blue Ridge so I stayed for a few minutes more to watch the play of light
Look, sunset is just ... below?... me. The weird thing about sunsets on mountains, you can get these reverse sunsets where the shade line is below you and you can watch it at first creep and then run up the slope to greet you. It is twilight down at the creek but daylight still, for a few more minutes, where I am. Can lead to wistful thinking....
Then the Fat Old Sun creeps on down some more and evening glow sets in:
half moon guided me on down too.
Another great afternoon in Cache Creek country!
I'll go back in Feb and take more pics of Bear Shit Island!