Things have been dark for me lately. A family crisis has dominated my thoughts the last few weeks and with all the pressures of work and life I needed a break from the routine. I needed a new direction to head for at least a few hours. I decided the best course of action would take me to the east.
I have been to the Las Trampas Wilderness in San Ramon a couple of times before and it is one of the more unforgiving trails in the East Bay. Narrow single-track trails with steep climbs and treacherous footing abound in the park and it seemed just the adventure to clear my mind of my troubled thoughts. I settled on the East Side Loop – an eight mile loop up and down through canyons and ridge lines. It has been described as one of the most challenging hikes in the East Bay which seemed the perfect thing to take my mind off current events. I would be travelling light on this hike so with just a few liters of water and my iPhone I headed out from the Chamise trailhead to start my day.
I’m not really sure why it’s called the East Side Loop, I seemed to be covering a pretty big swath of the middle of the park. The trails are steep, gravel and loose dirt in some tricky spots and it was easy to lose my balance. I managed to hit the trail three times as the footing gave way mid-step. Luckily I landed on my amply padded butt to break any serious fall. The trail is really for the experienced hiker or someone with plenty of health insurance.
Fog crept over the ridge lines early on in my hike before the morning breeze blew it away leaving a hazy view of the countryside. Summer colors dominate the trail as hues of yellow and brown abound along the trail. Moving up and down the canyons through pasture land and a few tree groves I found a few photo opportunities. I was shooting too many photos with my iPhone. I was spending too much time looking at the trail to find the best footing. My iPhone also came in handy when I was stymied looking for a trailhead. The GPS map helped me chart a path to find the gate located well away from the trail in deep shade and obscured by brush.
The hike was a good workout, taking me away from my troubles just for a short time. It’s good to take a step back and remember life goes on even in a time of crisis. The direction I need to go my be unclear sometimes but walking through my troubles the path ahead becomes a little bit more bearable.