Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Are we there yet?

After nearly a week in Sonoma County, I'd have to say we're pretty used to the weather patterns, and know what to expect. However, last night when I climbed into bed, I realized my feet so closely resembled...blocks of ice...that I couldn't fall asleep until they warmed up. In August. If that wasn't weird enough, this morning we nonchalantly glanced out the kitchen window while puttering around at breakfast time and witnessed...what looked suspiciously like a light sprinkle falling from the sky. But, but...that doesn't happen here--we have the solemn vow of some very trustworthy natives! I tell ya, we were so stunned and outraged, you'd think it was, I don't know, locusts raining down on us. I even felt compelled to step outside and examine the phenomenon, just to be sure my eyes weren't deceiving me. Nope, that's moisture, all right. So I promptly did what any 21st century, plugged-in, intellectually-curious individual would do: I logged on to the NOAA case this was such a breaking meteorological story that they were on top of it at that very moment. Nothin'. The forecast cheerfully called for sunny skies and 71*. Since we evidently were either in abject denial...or ignoring the entire situation, I could only conclude that these misty conditions were A) a by-product of the everyday early-a.m. fog; B) so commonplace as to be unremarkable; and (most importantly) C) a temporary hiccup in what would become yet another glorious day (fingers crossed).

Having alleviated our climate concerns, we turned our attention to the day's agenda: an assault on the summit of nearby Hood Mountain. We didn't really have all that much information, despite my attempts to find online trail maps prior to our visit. So we arbitrarily chose the park entrance that lay on the same road as our condo development, and set off to figure it all out on the fly. One thing we quickly discovered is that the access road was steep, narrow, and winding...making for a picturesque--if slightly harrowing--ascent. Once we arrived (the lone car in the parking lot), we fortunately happened upon two employees, who courteously provided us with the intel we lacked. As it turned out, from the side we'd chosen to approach, the mountaintop would eleven-mile roundtrip hike. Yikes. Obviously, this would call for a Plan B, then...

Therefore, we opted for a trail that would lead us on a steady upward far as we wanted to go before calling it quits and turning around. And I have to say, even though we didn't technically reach the apex, the walk was satisfyingly challenging and impressively panoramic. As we trudged up and up, on the sharply-sloped dirt-and-gravel path, we couldn't help but be pleased with ourselves as we first came level with, then surpassed, the pine-covered peaks of some of the adjacent mountains. We also noted that the soaring, swooping hawks we'd been admiring from afar since we set foot on the trail...were now much, much in "practically right above our heads". At about 3-1/2 miles (and keeping in mind that was only halfway), we made the Family Decision that we'd had enough natural splendor...and screaming quadriceps...for one day. So we performed an about-face, and skidded and shimmied our way back down to the car once more.

Although we came up shy of planting our metaphorical flag in the summit...this still felt like we accomplished something worthwhile in our 7-mile, 4-hour jaunt. Besides, we MORE than earned the pizza we have planned for dinner this evening...and for the adults, at long last, W-I-N-E! Yep, on this vacation the rewards just keep on coming...

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