Saturday, November 7, 2015

Right This Way

Sometimes a wrong turn can lead to the right kind of day. The original plan was to hike around Lake Berryessa, but our trail of choice was closed due to damage from a previous fire. Curse the California drought. After getting some directions and tips from a kind local on another trail option, we winded down the highway, through tree-lined roads and dusty grey hills that faded into green. But we missed our turn and found ourselves in Napa. Not a shabby place to stumble upon. 
We spent lunch at the Oxbow Market. On a Saturday afternoon, this medley of local businesses was bustling. Cheese, wine, pumpkins, and ice cream galore. Spice jars stacked neatly in cubbies against the wall. We zig-zagged through the crowd and snagged a table on the patio to enjoy a couple of artisan tacos. Mmm. 
All fueled up, we headed out for an afternoon hike on the Skyline Trail and strolled through a garden flourishing with foliage native to our golden state. A steep descent up, and the panoramic view of the valley took our breaths away. Looking southwest, we caught a hint of the bay. 
Little Lake Marie hid quietly in the shade at our destination. A breeze rippled the water and the chill reached us as we hiked past. Much of the landscape had turned ashy from the drought. A large tree covered in a beard of minty lichen slouched next to our path, its branches so affected by gravity they nearly touched the ground. It looks like a grandfather, I thought.  
A tiny cave carved into the slopes. Abandoned concrete structures. A trough filled with goldfish and seaweed. Little mysteries lined the trail. A family of deer grazed, paying little heed to a group of turkeys a few yards away. The sun sprinkled the hillside, peeking through trees as we made our way back. The wrong way had led to quite a beautiful day.