East Bay Backpacking, Day 3
With only about eight miles to go today, I'd be done quickly. I headed back out to the front of the park, got on the correct trail, and headed out.
The trail I was to take, the one I'd skipped out on the night before, was beautiful in that deep, dark woods kind of way. No redwoods, but near a creek, it was entirely overgrown, green everywhere you look. For whatever reason, I especially like tree trunks with thick, heavy moss all over them. Makes them look like they're made of green velvet.
There were no flat spots near this trail at all. I lucked out last night!
For all the signs I saw in every park that told me I was in a mountain lion habitat, I never saw one. I never have. I hope I do someday. But I hope it doesn't see me.
The trails were much drier today. Hurray!
Just before I started heading down the hills and back into the bay area, I managed to miss a turn and added at least a mile to my day, possibly close to two. I found the correct trail and started my descent. It's all downhill from here!
I was on the Panoramic Trail, and it ain't called that for nothin'. Can you imagine living in a house up here? Well, I hope you can imagine winning the lottery two or three times…
Halfway down, I passed a friendly-but-quiet middle-aged woman coming the other way, and just a few minutes later, she passed me from behind. I guess she was doing an out-and-back. At one point, I passed her again, as she was having trouble descending a particularly steep slope.
"Tricky, isn't it?" I asked.
"Yeah, that's why I have these," she replied, waving her trekking poles.
She caught up to me again just a few minutes later, as I was figuring out which way to go at a trail intersection. Helped me out, and once again, we were going the same direction, at about the same pace. We wound up passing each other a couple more times again before I finally split off just before the University of California campus.
I took a different path through campus this time, farther away from the main buildings and closer to the creek. I like that campus. I must've seen the largest squirrel in my memory. It was about the size of a small cat! The whole trip, I saw a coyote, a few deer, some horses, lots of cows, and a handful of salamanders, but this squirrel took the cake. It was enormous.
I made it a point to visit the eucalyptus grove. How many universities have a designated forest on campus?
A few blocks later, I was back at my friend's place. I promptly took of my backpack and sat on his couch. My goodness, did it feel great to sit down again! A few hours later, my feet stopped hurting.