Today’s hike was along the Long Ridge and Peters Creek tails in the Midpeninsula Regional Open District – trails that Heather and I normally hike in the winter. But since today was more like a rainy February day than a sunny Sunday in May it made sense to walk there. While I was putting my boots on a rain cloud opened up and rained then I was hit with hail – actually hail. Not kidding, hail in May!
We hiked a total of 4.6 miles starting on the east side of the mountain and went over the top to the west side. We stopped at the Stegner bench to have our trail mix and take in the view towards the ocean but the cold wind started our feet moving just a few minutes after we stopped. On the loop back to the east and to the car it rained on us a couple of times and the sun only showed its face for a moment or two.
This trail is one of our winter favorites because it is mostly on the lee side of the ridge and relatively sheltered from winter winds. There is a short section on the ridge that is exposed but has great views of the ocean. The other nice benefit for hiking it in the winter is that general they close the trail to bike riders when the trail gets too wet. I don’t mind sharing the trail with mountain bikers but this trail has some very narrow sections that make for uncomfortable passing.
Hiking is very important to us – it is a time to renew the spirit, refresh the soul and wash away the problems that the world heaps on us. It’s been difficult for us to hike much in the last year after Heather’s broken leg but finally we’re getting back into the rhythm of it and remembering why it is so important for us to be on the trail in nature experiencing God’s creations. In fact this week we decided that hiking was more important than being in church. Yesterday Heather and I lead a workshop at church on web, print and video communications so I felt like we did our church thing this week and needed time to tend to our own spirit.
After a mile or two on the trail I began to hear the sounds of nature – wind in the trees, birds and water running in the creek. Then my mind begins to free itself and drop away the worries and cares that I brought to this patch of woods. We have a bit of a rhythm on the trail. We start off by talking to each other, then fall into silence and then near the end of the hike something in our minds opens up and fresh ideas flow out. We carry a note pad in the car to write down the really good ideas.
By the time my body arrives back at the car, my mind is refreshed and my soul is recharged.
Today the trail was odd – out of season, out of step with my expectations but still despite being cold and wet and needing a hot drink, still felt my spirit renewed and my mind is at peace.