With the days dwindling down on 2013 I have been looking back on what has been the hardest year of my life. My mother’s death has filled my thoughts this year and amid the grief and heartache I have tried to move on. Hiking has been the glue that has helped keep my sanity in these times with quiet moments to think and reflect. I had time for one last hike this year and headed to Round Valley Regional Preserve.
I have made this hike many times and it is a good place to think. A short but steep climb through Hardy Canyon is enough to place your thoughts squarely on the trail. The sun was just slipping above the canyon’s hills as I wound my way up the trail.
Even though it the winter months the trail had the feel of a spring hike. The morning chill gave way to warm temperatures as sunlight flooded the landscape. Shadows inched slowly down the canyon as the winter sun climbed high above the bare branches of the trees scattered along the trail. The grass was a pale yellow; I couldn’t tell if the color was from the lack of rain or the bitter cold snap that swept through the area. I descended down the canyon trail to the flatlands and headed out on the dry dusty path.
There were few people on the trail, I actually like it that way. Time to think while I walk in the sunshine. I thought about a lot of things, my loss, the changes in my life and the challenges ahead. Life doesn’t seem so frightening as the wind whistle across your face and a coyote barks in the distance. Everything seems to have a reason , it is so much simpler on the trail.
My hike done I looked back at my year and in the 29 hikes I made this year I traveled 257 miles, climbing more than 63,000 feet of trail. It has been an adventure, my solo treks have taught me so much as I explore the landscape of the mountains and parks around us. With a heavy heart I look back at 2013 and I am ready to put it behind me. 2014 lies ahead of me with new challenges, new adventures and new hikes to explore.