Saturday, December 5, 2020

Birthday Hike

Waning Gibbous Moon

Waking up 69-going-on-70 today made me determined to challenge myself to something a little extra. This new decade thing was not going to get me down. I tallied up my 2020 in 2020 mileage and decided I could probably finish up by Christmas or the day after if I tried. But to do that, I would have to motor on out ahora, no birthday lazy boy stuff. No concessions to entropy. Get up and grind!

The plan was to drive up San Juan Canyon to Fremont Peak State Park and hike the whole loop around the park, including the peak. I figured I could make it in three hours with a little water and a snack break in the middle. The weather was perfect at the start - sunny and 65 degrees F with entertaining cloud patterns and no wind. I opted for a clockwise loop, beginning with the Valley View Trail from the upper parking area. This day felt magical.

I finished that part in 45 minutes, reaching the Cold Springs Trail and hanging a left, expecting to pop out at the park entrance in another 45 minutes of colorful up and down trail walking. More cool sky action and lots of fungus-amongus.

When I was about halfway through this section, which happens to be the most remote and least hiked of the park's trail system, I barely heard my phone ringing  in one of my cargo pants pockets. I was surprised I even had a signal down there in the woods. It took a few tries, but I eventually maneuvered into position to field a call from the one and only Kirby Coe Kennedy, my longtime friend and basketball teammate since childhood. So for the next thirty minutes or so, we carried on in great spirits about anything and everything that came up. So much fun to be standing in a forest on a trail all alone jabbering with my friend two thousand miles away in Lago Vista, Texas. Social distancing.

In the meanwhile, a biggo fog bank had been muscling in from the coast, graying up the sky and dropping the temperature a little bit. Along with the clouds came a steady cool breeze. So eventually, I got rolling again, happy to have spent this time well and already considering an abbreviated version of the game plan. 

A few minutes later, my phone rang again.  There I was under an oak canopy, a little further down in the forest, almost to Cold Spring, talking with my local friend Jeanette. She wished me a happy b-day and said she was going to drop off a little sumpin-sumpin for me on my front porch. Okay, alright, I like surprises, especially when I know they are coming. I had something to look forward to after my hike. 

Another quarter mile or so, another phone call! It was Captain Chem from Aptos, CA! This was remarkable! I have been so careful this whole pandemic time to stay isolated and remain healthy. I have barely spoken to any of my friends other than by text message or email (I do not do that Skypey Zoomey thing - it's too sci fi for me). Three phone calls with three good friends in the same hour made me feel really fired up! 

But it was getting cold, the reception was poor, and I had to scoot on outta there. I abandoned the Peak Trail idea and just hoofed it around the loop back to Spugly the  Rusty Trusty Palomino Transporter. What a fun and unusual birthday experience! Some things defy explanation.

Pretty soon I rumbled back down the canyon road to my camp to find a box with four of the most amazing cinnamon rolls from the Black Pot Artisan's Bakery waiting for me on my porch. These things are so good. You could put me in a cage in a zoo with a sign that read "Drool Boy, Cinnamon Roll Addict" and I would be delighted to sit there forever if you just kept bringing me these cinnamon rolls. 

Peace, Love, and I Haven't Even Mentioned the Icing,

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