We're supposed to blog about "Back to Nature" this week, so I'll chip in and write a touch on that theme.
A few years ago, when I lived in Silicon Valley, I liked to go to Muir Woods to hike the mountain trails and enjoy the quiet solitude there. Muir Woods has a lot of wonderful trails up and down the coastal mountains just north of San Francisco, tons of huge trees, and interesting wildlife.
It was a great place to forget about technology and just soak in the ocean breeze and the smell of wood and plants.
One weekend I was feeling particularly burned out, so I jumped in my Toyota (I drove at that time) and puttered my way up to Muir Woods from Sunnyvale. It was a modestly warm day, sunny, and the coastal fog was just starting to burn off a little when I arrived.
The parking lot was packed, this should have been my first warning. But I knew a couple of trails nobody bothered to hike because they were too steep and lonely for the raucous mobs I had to wade through.
The crowds had chased off a lot of the quieter birds and I noticed a lot of Stellar's Jays. They're amazingly brightly colored birds, very blue. And like most jays, loud, obnoxious, and aggressive.
I could barely escape them. I had to hike 1/2 an hour to the trail head before the horrendous racket had faded and there was nothing but the wind in the trees.
The leaves were mildly damp as the fog has just finished burning off, and I took off up a steep, rocky trail near the coastal cliffs, looking to get above and away from the maddened crowds.
Alone. Without my walking stick, or my cell phone. In old tennis shoes with not a lot of tread on the bottom.
The inevitable happened. I hit a rock, fell, and bounced down the side of the mountain heading towards the cliffs, getting up close and personal with every rock, shrub, stump, dirt patch, and stump on the way.
I came to a stop a fair ways from the cliffs, fortunately, or I'd have had a nice skydive and a swim at the end of it as well.
I lay there for a while, first just glad to be alive, then wondering if I could move, then moving and discovering I was one unholy mess. But I was mobile and alive!
I did finally make it to the ranger station near the park entrance. I wish someone had taken pictures, according to the rangers I was a mess of blood, leaves, dirt, and a couple of smaller rocks stuck in my clothes.
I don't go hiking in the wilds a lot any more. I think Nature got back to me, plenty.