Today's Stay Fit walk was 15 miles of bliss. Well, "bliss" may be a bit too strong. The weather was nicely clear after yesterday's showers, although it was a bit cool in the shade and occasionally blustery. And about those hills...
Apparently there is a rating system used when describing the difficulty of a trail: C is easy and flat, sort of like walking at the mall; B is moderately hilly, sort of like a mall without escalators and with the next store always on a different floor; A is absurdly hilly, sort of a like a mall without stairs where you have to scale sheer walls.
The first half of today's walk was supposed to be a C. There was even a bit of grumbling that it would not be challenging enough for those who were only walking the short walk. The second half of the walk was to be an A- and require you to bring a towel to dry your feet after fording a raging creek.
Here we are early in the walk. For those that think we in California are deprived of fall beauty, just take a look at those colors. We saw this sort of thing a lot on today's walk.
We started by hiking to the backside of Stevens Creek Reservoir. So far, a pretty safe C trail. The problem is that we now need to head up the hill.
This meant many switchbacks as we climbed.
This also meant some time was spent looking at the map, with head coach Luap (not his real name) explaining why this really was a C trail.
OK, now this requires some explanation. As unlikely as he looks, coach Werdna (not his real name - none of these will be real names, OK? It's just my own silly thing) who is wearing the white hat and gray shirt is a pretty stunningly strong walker. Last spring he walked this thing called the Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico where you do a marathon through rough conditions while wearing a backpack with at least 35 pounds of bonus weight in it. He is currently training for this coming spring, so his backpack has bonus weights in it.
When anyone shows up late for a weekend walk, they earn demerits. The demerits require you to have to wear the pack for a specified time. Luap is putting the pack on because he was four minutes late this morning. What made this sweeter was that Luap had just decided (it should be said, with some help) that we should take a small detour on a side trail instead of the planned walk along the road.
The small detour turned out to involve a very intense hill climb. Our ears popped we climbed so high. Level C my butt! And all the while Luap was wearing the pack.
About halfway up the hill we had another coach, Truc (who wisely showed up early this morning), take this picture of Mrs Notthat and I. The fact that this also gave us a bit of a breather will not be mentioned here.
Eventually the small side trail managed to find its way back to the road, where those that are wise and did the shorter walk headed back to the cars while the rest of us continued on.
This is Luap and Yak (I love that name in my super secret code, although Yak probably does not find it amusing) posing by a spring/mini-cave with mini-stalactites.
Because of the surprising difficulty level of the small side trail, Luap relented and did not make those of us walking the full 15 miles ford the stream and navigate the A- trail on the other side of it. This is Yak being perky on the way back.
This is about four miles from finishing. Luap is having foot issues, so he is switching to some odd socks with individual toes in them.
And that's about it. But just before my camera battery died, I had a chance to capture Mrs Notthat in her normal perky stride, rocking out to something on her iPod (you need to supply your own soundtrack - imagine either something by the Beatles or maybe Mama Mia).
Simply amazing. And this was well after the worst of the hills.
So we had a good day, all in all. No injuries, nobody got lost, run over, or eaten by a mountain lion, and everyone seemed happy at the end. Especially Werdna who got out of carrying his pack during the worst part of the walk.
That's it - move along...