My husband is apt to apply “regret analysis” to decision making – will we be sorry if we don’t do something? It’s not always possible to know how the regret might lodge, but one gray morning, deciding whether to hike or not, we acknowledge that dry hiking days are numbered. My old friend always says: “You won’t know if you don’t go.” So we set out.
It felt good to pack up a portable breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches with blueberry jelly on Seedy bread, a big bunch of grapes, and tea in cups-to-go. We headed for Mount Zion – a short hike, but a challenge with an elevation gain of 1300 feet in two miles.
The maples begin to turn and lean out yellow over the road along Discovery Bay, and traffic is lighter. Signs of autumn – like the chilly and damp parking lot at the trailhead.
Littered with sienna brown leaves fallen from surrounding rhodendron, the trail climbs between mossy rocks and narrow trunks of closely growing trees. Bracken just begins to bronze. Salal, kinnikinnick, and moss-covered downfalls crowd the sides of the path.
The ascent up Zion is steady, not relentless, but steady up. Half an hour along, I shed fleece, happy for the easing of crochets in joints and muscles. Breaks in the trees reveal Mount Townsend across the way. The Townsend trail is so much harder and longer that it surprises me to reach the gravelly small summit of Zion in just an hour.
Ribes, ocean spray, and many rhododendron surround this little rock outcropping at the top. A cloudbank obscured the view below. But in places the sun, shining through thin clouds above us, lit up parts of the cloud below – like sunshine coming through a window onto the floor. Cold and quiet – a bee dozed on a wizened blossom of fireweed, a lone squirrel chattered, but no birdsong.
We drove home another route – on Center Valley Road through Washington farmland – barns and fields – then stopped at Red Dog’s farmstand looking for eggs. It’s fun to drive the farm road beside rows of kale and strawberries, and buy huge, delicious sweet carrots to chomp.
Home to a lot of the day still intact – and no regrets!