Video will be up soon!
Lately I have been struggling quite a bit with the idea of moving away from California. Amongst many, many other things, the scenery is just one of those things that leaves be breathless at least once a day. Even being so close to a massive city, I am still greeted each time I leave the house with some sort of mountain range or water, it's awesome! And when I head a little further away from the house, it just gets better. Realizing that sometimes the mind acts irrationally when it's in a slightly darker state, I vocalized that I've been struggling with the idea that I would not be able to explore what this awesome area has to offer. But Lindsey reminded me that I have no reason to NOT go and see the wilderness, I have tons of time on my hands and nothing holding me back! Well, hearing it from her hit home and I decided I would take advantage of every waking minute I have left here. And yes sir, After today, my mind has been completely refreshed!
I got Lindsey to the airport bright and early, then headed out. My plan was to head up north, but after stopping at Whole Foods for a few snacks, I found a promising park that was down in the southern most point of East Bay. So, I drove down. I parked on the south side of the grandiose Sunol Park around 9am and began my exploration. Things began tough, just straight up for a good 3 miles or so. The trails were wide and not too technical at all, but the recent rains had left a handful of pretty decent creek crossings and muddy areas; nothing my VFF Treks couldn't handle (for those of you who don't know, those are the Vibram Five Finger shoes, or "toe shoes" made for trails)! I trudged along building up a damn good sweat and stopping every now and again to soak in the spectacular views. Onward and upward went until I reached the Rock Cave trail. This led me to the highlight of the day!
Basically this was a HUGE rock structure, slabs and boulders layered on top of each other creating this pretty awesome caves and crevasse's. I'll let the video speak for most of this, but I think the level of panic I was experiencing while grasping for hand-holds without any form of footing and being stuck in a tiny 2x2 opening gets a bit lost through the lens. Yep, as usual, I threw risk out the window and jumped on the opportunity to see if I could do something I wasn't totally sure I could actually do. It was so freaking fun! I soaked in the views and let the adrenaline subside while enjoying a small lunch; then it was back to the trail!
The next bit of excitement occurred when I all of a sudden peaked! I was jogging (right, I had these random bursts of energy and just went along and ran for a while) along this super narrow trail with an absolutely incredible view and boom, I was on the top of the mountain. It was almost cheesy how perfect it was: someone had built a bit of a bench beneath this crooked tree that perfectly contrasted the the plush green mountain side. In the distance you could see a reservoir, nestled perfectly between picturesque slopes. The colors were overwhelming: greens, browns, grays, reds, oranges, yellows and more; absolutely stunning! I soaked it in for a bit, then hit the wide cow trail that wove down between two peaks.
I walked, ran, strolled, snapped pictures and found myself smiling quite a bit. And as things began to level out past an old abandoned farm house, I noticed something totally out of place throughout the park. Tucked in a little canyon of sorts was a tiny forest of, um, cactus. What the heck? Yeah, I walked over to it, around it, for the life of me, I can not figure out what a random collection of cacti would be doing out in the middle of a mountain range. I'm sure I could look it up, but I enjoyed the randomness of it. I kept on down the mountain another couple hundred yards and was met with flock of wild turkey feeding along the edge of the trail, and an impressive amount of cows grazing not too far off. I was able to sneak close enough to grab a few pictures, but they caught my sent quick and ran like crazy. The cows on the other hand just stood there and stared. As creepy as it was to have all these animals just watching me, I wasn't all that concerned until I noticed that a herd of them were grazing ON the trail just around the next turn. My worry increased a little when I also realized it wasn't just cows, there were totally a handful of bulls chilling there as well!
Again, I'll let the video do most of the describing here, but I must add, as harmless as cows are understood to be, when your strolling through a pack of like 30 or more of them, out in the middle of nowhere, you realize how damn big these guys are. And for the most part I never felt threatened until that last dude by the gate. I mean come on! Did you see him lunge at me right after I pass him? Yeah man, in retrospect I think I may have gotten through a situation easier then it really could have been.
The final bit of excitement occurred about a 1/2 mile from returning to the car. My trail met up with another trail where a couple (and their 2 HUGE dogs) were finishing up their outing. Given the nature of my adventure, I was wanting to avoid needing to chat with anyone, but they just suddenly stopped. As I approached the woman yelled to me to move slowly as there was a bobcat on the trail just ahead. So, having never seen a bobcat I got all sorts of excited! And these things do not disappoint. They are sneaky big! In the end, I'm pretty sure the dogs scared the thing away and he slipped into the bush. I finished off the trail at a comfortable jog, and yes, my eyes were darting left and right just waiting for the bobcat or any of his friends to pounce!
In the end, after 5 hours of just moving through nature, my mind was completely and totally at ease. I remembered just what it is that I love about life: it's completely and totally filled with beauty and opportunity. When the stresses that sneak up on you begin to take over, things can seem to gt out of control. And I have no clue if it would work for everyone, but for me, the second I leave it all behind and escape into the wilderness I return to the state of mind I aspire to have for the rest of my life. I love mountains, rocks, grass, trees, animals, endless sky and sun. It does something to me that has only been replicated when I see Lindsey. And in my mind, if there are two things in this world that make me feel genuinely free, good and happy, it would make sense to surround myself with those things as often as possible. So you can expect that in the final two weeks of me being in California, I'll be spending a whole hell of a lot of time out and about exploring, and as little time as possible refreshing the CrossFit Games website and obsessing over things that ultimately just don't matter all that much!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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