Thursday, November 10, 2022

Proof of Autumn

A fortnight ago (October 28), I took my first autumn hike of the year. The joy set in less than 1.5 miles up the trail. Joy almost always sets in. And a mile and a half is about normal. I always wonder at that point why I’m not out there every day!

Anyway, I’ve been telling myself, “Wait for fall, then you can go out and enjoy the trails. When you see the crawdads, you will know the time is right!” Of course, I headed off to Wood Canyon (Aliso Viejo, CA) to see for myself. It’s become sort of a ritual over the years. And so, I was not surprised to witness crawdads fighting at the bottom of the creek. The chilly mornings kind of assured me that I’d find them there.

Proof of Autumn!

I hiked the big loop – that is the outside trails forming a loop (West Ridge on the way out, Wood Canyon on the way back, Cholla and Meadows Trail connecting them). The big loop was a totally irresponsible thing to do in my shape. But I did it anyway, knowing full well it would trash me. Turns out, I fared the 9.5 miles surprisingly well. And on top of spotting my crawdads, I saw several dear, including a three point buck. Then on my hike out of the canyon, I passed The Rock. It came out of nowhere, as I often walk by it with little consequence. Today, I stopped, climbed up and sat. And the tears instantly fell like a waterfall. I felt like I sat among ghosts up there on that boulder, me and my three young children, so long ago. I don’t even remember if I relished the moment back then as it occurred. I hope I enjoyed it as much as I miss it.

So, my first hike of autumn – that’s it in a nutshell. I can still hike 9.5 hilly miles and for that I am grateful!




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