Today’s hike was a hike of firsts: This was my first 8-mile hike. This was also the first hike I’d done in which everyone was a much more experienced hiker than I. What’s more, I fell into the creek and got my boots and socks soaking wet.
But most importantly, this hike was the first time Am was able to pee outside. Okay, me too. I’ve dubbed ourselves the “Urethra Franklins.” (Sorry, no pictures.)
I’ll give you a moment to process all of the feelings of awe you must be feeling right now at the cleverness of that statement.
So the hike.
Santa Cruz (okay, Felton) has got to be the most beautiful place I’ve hiked this year. While this hike was longer than the notorious Mt. Tam hike, Fall Creek Unit didn’t FEEL like a death march, although there were some very steep sections of Lost Empire trail that I cursed every so often.
As we climbed, we noticed that the ground was seemingly covered in forget-me-nots, which provided a nice splash of color as we meandered up and down the forest trails. Jane Huber of Bay Area Hiker describes Fall Creek Unit as “rugged territory, and it is somehow appropriate that the trails correspond.”
I couldn’t help but think how right she was. On Fall Creek Trail, large redwood trees lay across the trails, forcing us to either climb over or duck under them; crossing sections of the creek required us to climb over makeshift bridges created out of fallen logs – some stable, some not. It was during the second creek crossing in which I pretty much fell into the water. It was a good thing that we only had about 1.5 miles left to go, because had that happened in the beginning of the hike, I would have turned around, threw on my flip-flops, and vowed never to partake in 8+ mile hikes ever again.
I don’t know what’s happened to me, but I was able to finish this hike. I even ran a few (very short) sections of Fall Creek trail. I know. I don’t know what got into me either. There’s something very uplifting about tackling some very steep and tough terrain – and successfully making it through. I feel almost like David, conquering Goliath. I didn’t have to dig down deep to find inspiration, for it was all around me – the rushing creek; the soft, padded earth beneath my feet; the curious rock formations with ferns growing all over them; the large patches of forget-me-nots; this natural beauty was so intense that it provided me with the fuel to trek on.
We’re very lucky to live where we do, where glorious hikes like this are possible within a 1-2 hour drive at the most. And I intend to take advantage of this until I’ve conquered them all.
(Cross-posted on Let's Go Hiking!)
UPDATE: Photos added 4/25.