Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Day Off - Sorta - May 21st

After our birding adventure yesterday with Ken, Betty, Trisha and Leland we decide it might be good to take a day off and relax, we have another adventure planned for tomorrow.

Rod and I decide on a short walk. We've got a hand drawn map of the reservoir and ranch trails and take off about 9:30am. It's threatening rain, so along with binoculars, my camera, peanut butter sandwiches and water we bring light weight rain gear (smart move it turns out).

There are wildflowers everywhere. The leaves on this purple one look a little like our California lupine, but the flowers grow at the base (perhaps to protect blooms from extreme weather). There are bright yellow, pink, orange and white ones at every turn.

The ground is damp and cushions our footsteps. The aroma of pine is in the air and creek sounds and birdsong are all we hear. Very serene. The sky keeps changing, it's warm when the sun is out and cold when the wind shifts and comes right at you. Enchanted by our surroundings we keep on walking, making note of the land marks cited on the map. Then we come to a sign with an arrow that points in both directions. Back to the park is 2.7 miles and to continue the rest of the walk is 3.8 miles. 

Okay, we're game, the altitude isn't bothering us, the legs seem to be pretty happy, and we've just had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Life is good, westward ho!

We pass large outcroppings of white rock, a field of rock with bright orange lichen, ponds, small footbridges and several flumes directing water in different directions, no doubt for irrigation of the upper pastures we are traversing. We turn a corner and the valley begins to stretch out below us. The skies darken and we're suddenly being pelted with hail and burst out laughing as we scramble to get into our raincoats. It breaks in about 5 minutes and we're back in the sun. Rod calls it a freshet. Around the last turn before we reach the lakeside path back to camp we spy a welcome site.

Kidding! We're totally amazed at the distance we've travelled today, almost 7 miles. It was a great excursion, but now it's time to relax, we again join the camp chair brigade and do a little bird watching with our feet up while we contemplate dinner.