Monday, January 31, 2011

Redwoods, Gnarly Trees and Lots of Mud

On Saturday, because the weather report said it was NOT going to rain on Saturday, we headed out for our weekly hike. This time we went down to Novato, and hiked the Big Trees Trail, which is in the Indian Tree Open Space Preserve.

This was so unexpectedly pretty, in spite of, or more likely because of the foggy misty drippy weather. The trail starts out with switch backs heading up through gnarly trees, and after about a half mile, you hit your first redwood grove. The trail continues through oak, and redwood groves all the way to the top, occasionally popping out into clearings, so you can enjoy the view. Of course in our case the view was mostly fog, but still it was very pretty.

I don't know how it is that we did not discover this trail sooner. I love Redwood trees, and I love gnarly trees, so this hike was perfect for me. We did a little under six miles round trip, and gained 1,440 ft. of elevation. My legs were feeling it next day too!

As you can see it was pretty foggy, the sort of weather that redwood trees thrive on. You could hear the rain dripping off the leaves and hitting the ground, and when a breeze would blow through you could swear it was raining.

The trail was muddy, but that didn't stop us, it might have slowed us down a bit, but it didn't stop us.

We saw dozens of these little guys (salamanders? Newts?) all between about 1" and 4" long. They were all headed to the other side of the trail, for no reason that was obvious to us. I wish I could tell which direction they were heading, but the compasses on my walking sticks each point in total opposite directions. So they were either heading West, or East, depending on which hiking stick I was looking at.

After our hike we found a spot for a cold beer, followed by a hamburger and fries and a glass of very nice zinfandel. All well and good, but if I'm going to actually lose some weight I need to find another way to reward myself at the end of each trail.

I'd love to go back and do this hike again. Every turn was beautiful, the views in the fog were so pretty, and the parts through the redwoods were peaceful. Except for a lone runner, and another small group of brave souls, we had the entire park to ourselves.

I know its a small accomplishment, but from one month ago, and our hike at the Pomo Canyon until now, I can really feel a difference in my fitness level. While I'm not planning to run a marathon, and I'm still always the last one off the trail, it is amazing how quickly the body responds to even moderate levels of exercise.

Beautiful Redwood Groves. I can't wait to do this hike again, and to share it with our friends we haven't done this trail.

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