I remember conversing with a coworker before my upcoming hike up Mt. Whitney. After mentioning that I had a permit to summit the mountain, he commenced an epic rant about how terrible the hike was. It was ugly and grey, it was difficult and vomit inducing (even for him and his fit military friends). And, quite frankly, that trail had turned him off to hiking.
You can sympathize when I say that I was a little apprehensive in the days ahead of the hike. I was uncertain if my knee had recovered from any injury, and my fitness was not exactly at a high point. Yet the hike turned out to be one of my favorite experiences in nature. The hills, the skies, the sunset in a meadow -- these were all breathtaking. If you don't believe me, you can check out the photos from the hike here. And perhaps my lack of fitness was a benefit, as slower summits help one to avoid altitude sickness (that along with good genetics. I ain't skinny but I have nice teeth and can take my altitude). The Mt. Whitney hike increased my passion for hiking.
Sometimes you just benefit from being in the right place at the right time, though I admit that I often find beauty in harshness, in gray and in desert. I remember driving up to the Pasadena Arts College a few years back in late winter or early spring. The leafy mush of winter had given way to shoots of grass, and the oaks began to take on that fresh yet fleeting verdancy. And then I thought, Oooohhh, maybe this is what people saw when they decided to settle Southern California.
I have always enjoyed the Sunol Regional Wilderness. I have staggered up those steep inclines, looked out from the indian rocks, and hiked up to Mission Peak, over to Mt. Rose, and continued to Del Valle. But many times I've been there under a harsh heat. Yet I won't say that I haven't been to Sunol while it was green, but this was a green that did not need cloud cover to emphasize the vibrance.
I lucked out this time around. Though March is almost always going to be green in the Bay Area, it seemed that all forces combined to create an Eden in Sunol. The streams and gulches flowed and trickled. The grass was tall, but there was still enough moisture that they were nearly as green as when they first broke through the soil. And shooting out from the grass, vibrant wildflowers covered much of the landscape.
It was good to be in Sunol last Saturday.
To see the complete photo album, checkout the album below!
The actual date of this visit to Sunol was March 26, 2016.