And back down again

Last Monday, I wrote about climbing up the trail at Mt Konocti; but of course that was only half the story. As I limped my way up the road (at an elevation of roughly 3500 feet) toward Mary Downen’s cabin, I was marveling at the view through the old orchard and down into the valley below. I happened to turn my eyes back to the road just in time to realize there was a snake directly in front of me! I’m sure I probably jumped backward — but it was not a rattlesnake, only a very nervous gopher snake trying desperately to get across the trail and into the safety of the weeds.

Narrow head, no rattles, and definitely NOT looking for a fight

Once I made it to the cabin site, I was ready for a bite of lunch. Sitting in the sun, because wow! Suddenly the wind was incredibly cold as it gusted straight up the side of the mountain and turned my fingers icy and numb.

Wind tunnel

It was about this time that I realized I was missing the lens cap off my DSLR. I could have sworn I just had it, but now my only choice was to retrace my steps and hope to spot it on the ground along the way. I headed back toward the main trail, berating myself for carelessness, and decided I should ask anyone I saw if they might have noticed it on their way up the climb. A young couple with a small dog appeared; we greeted each other, and I was just opening my mouth to ask my question when the man said, “Is this yours?” They immediately became my favorite people of the day!

Finders of lost things

My hike down the mountain seemed much easier and shorter than the hike up — with one small exception. Because the dirt road was strewn with small rocks of all different sizes and shapes, at one point I found my right foot sliding away down the hill, throwing me off balance until I came down on my left knee in the gravel. I was more surprised than hurt. Still, I managed to scrape a bit of skin off my left knee. On the plus side, my earlier knee pain was now forgotten, and now I had a real souvenir of my hike! [I do have a photo of my injury but decided not to inflict it on you. You’re welcome.]

Smoke on the nearby hills

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