Only time for a shortish hike yesterday. It almost turned out longer than intended, however.
We've had the weirdest weather this year. Yesterday (like today, and the day before) was overcast almost all day. So even as I drove up towards the mountain in the late afternoon (about 4:30pm), it was in the low-70s. I decided on my hike because it's roughly 7.5 miles would (my guess) take about three hours, which would get me back by 7:30pm.
I also wanted something shortish because I was wearing a new pair of boots. One of my pairs started coming apart at my last hike, and I haven't had a chance to try the shoe-goo solution to putting the sole back on the shoe. Instead, I was wearing another $20-ish pair of boots, from Big 5. At that price, I don't worry too much if the boots don't last long, although I do hope they do.
Unfortunately, the thick clouds of the evening made it get darker earlier than I expected. That meant I needed to walk slower (so I wouldn't attract the attention of a mountain lion, or walk of the edge of a cliff). In fact, I didn't get back to the car until about 10 'til 8pm. And, as you may already know, the gate at the bottom of the road to Chantry Flat is supposed to be locked at 8pm. I was a little worried I might be forced to spend an unplanned night at Chantry Flat. Fortunately, the gate was still open when I drove down.
Glad I was wearing the slightly-heavier boots, because all that walking in the dark meant I kicked a lot of rocks on the way down. Feet made it home in one piece, though.
The leaves (I'm assuming big-leaf maple, but they may be syacamore; I'm not too good with tree identification!) were already changing a bit. That, plus the red dead-heads of buckwheat and other seasonal seed pods, mean there's starting to be a little bit of color in the mountains.
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