My good friend Suzy and I took her daughter Brinn out for a training session today. It was a beautiful, crisp, clear California day. Much different from last week. At 2 and 1/2 years old, Brinn weighs about 25 lbs, and sitting in an internal frame kid’s pack, the total pack weight + food/juice/phone/keys and sweatshirt, adds up to about 35 lbs. Perfect for a nice little hike through the hills on Los Gatos Creek Trail. Suzy and I traded off carrying her, and at some points along the way she got out to walk with us, holding her mom’s hand. Love these days. Good friends and company, good hiking- with a moving, questioning, and singing pack. Made me want to do a sort of slide-show of some highlights of our training thus far. So that is what the following is:
Our longer hikes have been at Joseph Grant County Park-a 9,650 acre open space surrounding Mt. Hamilton-with around 50 miles of hiking trails-perfect for our longer training days. The terrain is typical of this part of California; exposed, gently rolling hills sprinkled with oaks-serving as a refuge for around 30 species of birds, and 30 species of mammals-including some of the previously mentioned; bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, European wild pigs that coincidentally have bred with domestic pigs, and cattle roaming the grasslands. Halls Valley, the site of my first Mountain Lion glimpse, hangs suspended between the Coastal Mountains and the Diablo Mountain Range. The following are some cool shots from the last few weeks.
Although the following poem was written specifically about a particular hill in Lake District, a mountainous region in North West England, in a different century; the words parallel feelings evoked when I take a stroll through the hills on this continent, in this century;
There is an Eminence, of these our hills
by William Wordsworth
The last that parleys with the setting sun;
We can behold it from our orchard-seat;
And, when at evening we pursue out walk
Along the public way, this Peak, so high
Above us, and so distant in its height,
Is visible; and often seems to send
Its own deep quiet to restore our hearts.
The meteors make of it a favourite haunt:
The star of Jove, so beautiful and large
In the mid heavens, is never half so fair
As when he shines above it. ‘Tis in truth
The loneliest place we have among the clouds.
And She who dwells with me, whom I have loved
With such communion, that no place on earth
Can ever be a solitude to me,
Hath to this lonely Summit given my Name