I felt Spring's countdown and knew it was time to tackle our local high peak. Kona has joined me on pieces of this trail, but we'd never gone higher than the halfway point. We wouldn't make it to the peak on this day, but the plan was to get close.
We started up the trail with a marine layer to keep the sun off the exposed trail.
The first mile and a half was steep, and filled with morning exercisers. I reminded myself that the trail would empty soon. Kona took the stream of people in stride, perhaps better than myself. I took my mind off my burning lung by inhaling deep whiffs of clouds.
Despite several relentless climbs, the trail offered short stretches of downhill. My legs took the breaks in effort with glee, through I reminded myself that these stretches would be uphill on the way home.
We slowly climbed out of the lower canyons, meeting the sun in a canopy of oaks and sycamores. The trees kept me cool and housed Kona's friend, Grey Squirrel.
The next mile climbed gently, making me wonder how the trail could gain 5,000 feet before the summit. I enjoyed taking my focus off my legs to take in the sights.
Just as I became relaxed with the easy terrain, the trail shot skyward. Kona, ever the athlete, kept her pace, pulling me up toward the ridgeline. It wasn't long before the rock elves began grabbing my toes. After toe stubs turned into a slow motion face plant, I gave in. I turned in my steady shuffle for a fast hike, then a hike. Yes, a hike was just fine.
We reached our trail junction and turn around point. We were only about a mile from the peak, but we were out of time. My hip flexors were okay with that.
I found a tree stump to perch on while Kona kept tabs on the forest below us. I said good morning to the city below us, still draped in clouds. Kona looked my way, letting me know it was time to get moving. I obliged. Down the trail we ran, keeping careful eye out for squirrels and rock elves.