Mrs Notthat, Nna (not her real name), and I went for a short seven mile hike through Monte Bello today. The weather couldn't have been better - sunshine with a gentle cool breeze. Luap, who has been here before but was unable to walk with us today, said "Be sure to finish with the Indian Creek Trail." Since I'm not a complete idiot, I decided we should hit that trail as early as possible, which turned out to be a good thing since the way we went, the steepness was all downhill, while going his way it would have been reversed. Just like he likes it. (He's insane that way.)
First, I have to apologize since I forgot to take a porta-pottie picture. Rest assured, there were two (!) on this hike. This is Mrs Notthat and Nna warming up. Note the clever thing for brushing the mud off your shoes. I took it as a good sign that they felt the need to have one of these.
We didn't get very far before the jackets started coming off. We started a lot later than we normally do - about 10:30 - so it wasn't really all that cool to start with.
This place has beautiful views. Granted, a month from now a lot of that green grass will be brown, but for now it is lush and wonderful. Spring is a great time for Northern California.
It was warm enough to see a real lizard basking in the sun. (Look hard, towards the lower-right.)
Note that I'm styling in my new purple gaiters. I love these things - they kept the rocks, sticks, and such out of my shoes. (Weirdly, others gave me a wide berth on the trail.)
Those of you with a good imagination will see a coyote in the center of this picture, to the left of that shrub. Mrs Notthat spotted it, and we were trying to decide what it was when a passing bicyclist with a pair of binoculars confirmed it was a coyote.
He kindly let Mrs use them to see for herself. It looked to be frolicking on the hillside, like an overgrown puppy. (The coyote, not the bicyclist.)
One thing you might have noticed in the previous picture (which is on the dreaded Indian Creek Trail), is that the trail was freshly graded and actually closer to being a proper dirt road. My theory is that they are preparing for fire season and making it easier to get the trucks through here if needed. Just past these big yellow things the trail went back to normal, which made it a lot more pleasant.
There were a LOT of wildflowers.
It's trails like these that make all this worth it. So pleasant and wonderful.
Walking sticks aren't only to help your knees and keep you from falling - they are for poking at trees to see what falls from them. (There were these wonderful smelling little white balls that fall from these madrone trees.)
While Mrs Notthat was repairing one of her feet, Nna was passing around really good chocolate. Which can repair just about anything.
There were many little waterfalls like this. Sadly, this park has bridges over all of its creek crossings.
That didn't mean there was no mud though! Yay!
We were unable to work out why this rock was suspended by a loop of barbed wire. My suspicion is that it is being punished.
Towards the end of the walk we saw our second set of three deer. (Or maybe the first set a second time. They should wear jerseys with numbers on them - it'd make this a lot easier to work out.)
We finished the afternoon by heading down Skyline to 84 and that wonderful little deli on the corner with about 500 motorcycles parked in front of it. It was a great day to drive the Race Car as well.
We had a great time and now feel prepared for next weekend - the Wildcat Half Marathon and 10K. And the week after that is the Avenue of the Giants Marathon. Yikes!
That's it - move along...