I miss hiking tremendously. Where I live my winters are mild, my summers like a furnace. All winter and spring I hike or mountain bike every day. I love to be in nature and I love to move on trails looking at the hills and the old oaks. The tall grass turns from green to straw yellow. The coyotes look rangier and thirstier and the snakes start to interfere with the carefree movement of the hiker who now avoids that narrow path lined with foot-high grass. That stick on the trail or that pile of horse manure over there? Look again– it has a rattle on its tail.
I prefer not waking up at 6 AM to beat the heat and I’m no fan of rattlesnakes, so I must bide my time waiting for the weather to cool so I can hit the trails once again.
I love hills and folded rows of land nestled in our valley. Seismic movements created this rippled landscape. I imagine the power of the seismic energy when I see these crumpled mounds of earth in the trails. It is clear a tremendous pressure has been quietly at work here, and looming is a big jolt one day too. The hills are innocently waiting to be disrupted again. They don’t anticipate becoming taller or more crumpled so they have trees of oak on them, shrubs, and waving grass. Birds innocently hop in and out of the shrubs and the coyotes stand watching on the hilltops, hoping to get a rabbit or squirrel. The path is muddy from rain a week ago in the shady spots, and the sunny spots show dried horse hoof prints, mountain bike tire prints, and the sure proof that dogs have gone by, not to mention deer and owls too. The wind rushes through the canyons and my ears are overwhelmed so I walk with my hands on my ears when that happens. It is a tease because I know around the bend it will stop, the sun will be out, and the breeze will be quiet again. On the path I feel calm.
I love the weather beaten trails near my home. Old California oaks and tall waving grass. On a spring day on the trails I see wildflowers, hawks stimming on thermal currents, and sometimes we see a coyote staring at us.
The truth is I get worried about our smallest dog. She is a good meal for a coyote, but they leave us alone. The two big dogs are like bodyguards. Ha ha. Last time we saw a baby rattlesnake in the middle of the path. Now it is rattlesnake season so I hear the snakes in my mind. I think I’ll wait til winter to hike there again.
A snake bit my old dog about six years ago. The dog started sticking his nose in the grass to check out the rattling sound. Not a super bright dog. Then my dad had to jog out with him on his back to help him survive. That was an adventure I don’t want to repeat. He eventually lived to be an old dog, though never a smart one.
In summer I prefer the cool ocean.