I left bayou country yesterday en route to higher ground and more great walks. The summer temperatures can really heat up an airplane cabin so I kept the window shade down for most of the trip. When the pilot said we were getting close to Seattle I raised the shade and got an eyeful of Mount Ranier peeking through the clouds. Oh boy, this trip to Woodinville and San Juan Islands is going to be an adventure!
Just a hiccup upon arrival. The rental car agent had a wily way of quoting prices. Good thing I questioned her at the Budget counter or else I would have signed a contract for all kinds of additional fees. It was a simple thing, really. She quoted an upgrade for “$13” but she really meant $13 a day. Same goes for cost of adding a driver. (Never mind I had already contracted for this same upgrade for a flat fee of $3.)
But I was on to her and all is well! Time to hit the highways.
Arrived in Woodinville, safe and sound . Willows Lodge is beautiful. There is a pig and also a wedding right outside my window! More later.
Woke up feeling great, ready to tackle Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, two breathtaking rocks that you might recognize from national automobile commercials. It’s also an energy vortex which means different things to different people. To me, it means it is really pretty and a lot of positive energy must have gone in to creating it.
You can walk around both Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte on a loop trail that is 4.2 miles. Piece of advice: stay on the trail or else you will find yourself on Big Park trail, which adds another mile or so to the hike. A lot of people get confused by the signs. I had a lot of company trying to figure out how to get back to the parking lot.
The trail is definitely worth it. Mostly flat, with a few inclines. Once you finish you will be proud that you circled these two monuments. They are huge and majestic.
Took me an hour and fifty minutes. Pretty easy if you have the dogs to handle it but mine were barking and howling by the end. So I swapped the MBTs for the Salomon’s for the rest of the day and I am happy to report that my feet are talking to me again.
I didn’t fall down on this hike but did get jabbed by a cactus. Note to self: remember to bring the water next time!
My feet were in bad shape after Doe Mountain so I headed over to a place called The Hike House in search of alternate hiking shoes. I can tell instantly whether a shoe is going to work for me. It has to be very padded, especially around the metatarsal area. I tried on several pairs and settled on Salomon XT Wings 2.
It’s like walking on a mattress and my sore feet felt like they were getting a massage. So, my plan is to hike in MBTs and spend the rest of the day in these groovy shoes. They don’t have regular shoe laces but instead “cable” shoe laces that you pull tight then choke off with a little plastic contraption.
First hike of the trip was Doe Mountain, a moderate and fairly steep walk that I was told is seven-tenths of a mile. Maybe. Took about half an hour one way. The trail is clearly marked but it is uphill so be prepared for a climb. But if I could do it, most anybody can. I did this hike wearing MBTs because of some foot pain I’m having. Yes, I know that’s risky but it really helped. The tricky thing is the hike back down because it is very uneven. Yes, I tripped and fell. I knew that I would. Caught between a rock and a hard place. Ouch. All is well.
You know it’s a great walk when all the aches and pains melt away and it is exhilirating to take deep breaths in the great outdoors under turquoise skies.
Doe Mountain is off Boynton Pass which is off Dry Creek Road. There are some breathtaking views, especially as you go higher. Take a look at the video below. I have no idea what it came out so blurry. Important thing is to note how clearly the trails are marked here. You get a sense of that at the end.
Couldn’t resist another trip to Sedona, home to some of the worlds best walks! Arrived last night and the weather was a surprisingly comfortable 65 degrees. This trip promises to be a challenge cuz my feets are acting up on me. Stay tuned!
I can’t imagine a more energized walk than a good old New Orleans second line. I happened upon one on historic Magazine Street and it was a real treat. It is cultural traditions like this that make this city so special.
Whale watching and vibrant colors await you at Bodega Head on the Sonoma Coast. You can drive up a mountainside to a wide open view of the Pacific where you will find whale watchers staring dutifully at the ocean. I didn’t see any whales but can’t say I gave it anymore than just a few minutes of my attention.
There is a hike that takes you away from the whale watching area to Horseshoe Cove Overlook. It’s not a difficult hike except you need to be very careful of the steep cliffs. And, if you are allergic to bees, you may want to pass on this one. The hike takes you through wildflowers that are as high as four feet. I saw a lot of bees but none was interested in me.
You will be moved by the abundance of color: the blue waters of the Pacific, the vivid white spray as it crashes against the rocks and the flowers. The flowers are brilliant. The closer you get to the Overlook, the less you hear the ocean. Once there, it is a beautiful silence – a reward for making it to the top.
On the way back, I recommend a stop at the Spud Point Crab Company for some of the best clam chowder I have ever had. Couple that with a delicious dungeness crab sandwich on sourdough bread and it is time for a nap!
Greetings from Bodega Bay, California, home to many fantastic walks! I can hear the Pacific from my hotel room, which overlooks a peaceful marsh just above Doran Beach. I flew into San Jose on a Thursday about 2pm, caught a bit of traffic through Oakland and San Francisco but was in my room by 5pm. I gotta a lotta walking to do – feets don’t fail me now!
I was put in my place at Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in a nearby town called Gurneville. The redwoods are spectacular – “Colonel Armstrong” stands 308 feet, is over 14 feet wide and over 1400 years old. 1400 years old. Really puts things in perspective.
The visitors center suggested nine different walks and hikes. I took a short 1.7 mile hike to Armstrong Tree. Nature’s artistry is on display here – it’s as if there are sculptures naturally carved into the bark of many of the trees. Some of the fallen wood take the shape of artistic testaments to these mighty trees.