‘Tis the season…

When Fall rolls around, with it’s crisp air, I don’t start planning for the holidays – I start planning for camping trips. I was rooting around old picture folders and came across this shot, taken this time last year, of the hills above Big Sur (on a hike we affectionately termed “the Ass Burner”), and it got me hankerin’ for the big outdoors.

When I first moved to the west coast (after college years in the Heartland) I signed up for a slew of hikes with the Nature Conservancy. They took us on trails that were inaccessible to the public (on Bureau of Land Management land, where old growth reigned supreme) and often had specialists along for the hike: an arborist who taught us how to identify species based upon leaf and bark pattern and pointed out wild lemongrass to chew, or a birdwatcher who identified the hawks and osprey overhead.

I tend to hit the trails on my own, with friends, these days, but when I do I remember those fantastically organized hikes, which taught me to open my eyes to much more than just the groomed trail before me, and created an appreciateur of the natural landscape. Here in Northern California, you don’t even have to go far to ‘get away’ – there are fantastic day hikes in a full radius around the Bay Area. Hit up San Francisco Bay Area Hiker for up-to-date postings on local routes, great directions and descriptions, and difficulty ratings (the Big Sur hike? A three-star ass burner!)

So sure, I’m craving the pumpkin pie and other goodies that this season brings just like everyone else, but I’m also ready to hit the trails again, to burn it all off!

4 Comments so far

  1. anna (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2006 @ 9:04 am

    Nice photo- what’s it of?

  2. Nancy (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2006 @ 12:24 pm

    This is the Ventana Double Cone, the pair of hilltops named after an ancient rock bridge that may or may not have joined the two peaks (the Ventana “window” Wilderness being named after this legend). The Forest Service managed wilderness straddles the Santa Lucia mountains south of the Monterey Peninsula. Not exactly ‘bay area’, but still close enough to make a weekend trip out of it, as we did.

  3. Bradley Allen (unregistered) on October 22nd, 2006 @ 8:58 pm

    Oh, I love it down there. One half of my in-laws lives deep in Palo Colorado canyon (heading south from the Carmel Highlands, it’s the first turn right after Rocky Point).

    I always wanted to hike from Ventana Double Cone, stop in to their home amongst the redwoods… and then continue on to Tassajara.

  4. Nancy (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2006 @ 11:20 am

    Bradley, there are a ton of hidden natural hotsprings in the area, too! You could seriously hike for a month around that area and hit something fabulous every day. Hmmm.. (off to buy a lottery ticket)

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