The great wide open
When the walls begin to close in a little too tight I always head for the hills and a hike on a remote trail. Hiking has become the glue that holds my sanity together. Nothing calms the frantic thoughts and images that race through my mind like the quiet of the hiking trail. There are no deadlines on the trail, no pictures of a dying victim of a car accident, just the calm of the open sky under the great wide open.
I headed to the Sunol Wilderness for this weekend’s hike. Nearly 7,000 acres beckon with their canopy of trees, rocky trails and rolling streams to forget the troubles of the day. I decided on the Backpack Trail, a loop heading from the park headquarters to the edge of the permit area near a backpack camp. A few side trails made for a nice 9-mile hike under cloudy skies.
The trail winds along through pasture and hills dotted with spring wildflowers. The McCorkle Trail-a single-track trail-climbs rapidly along rocky ledges as it heads to the remote section of the wilderness. Only a few hikers and backpackers can be seen in the distance trudging up the narrow path carved in the hillside. This is the rugged section of the wilderness trail and you do have a feeling of going into the wild in this area of the park.
The sights along the trail are a spring postcard of wildflowers, green hills and groves of trees rising in the distance. I took a canyon vista side trail and was treated to the colorful views of the landscape under a cloudy sky.
McCorkle Trail ends at the entrance of the backpacking camps and swings to meet the popular Camp Ohlone Road. Civilization returns to the trail on this wide paved section that runs next to Alameda Creek and Little Yosemite. The creek rolls and splashes through the rocks, sending a torrent of bubbles downstream.
The sights of the wilderness are a true peaceful moment in a hectic world and I do treasure my moments on the trail. Hiking by myself may seem lonely but there is a quiet and solitude on the trail that I cherish. The wilderness and open spaces call and I am only to happen to walk in their presence.