Sunday, December 22, 2019
Over Thanksgiving I had the week off from both my jobs and since the weather was nice I took the opportunity to hike up into Annadel again. This is one of my favorite places in our county. In the summer it is very hot, but as soon as it cools down a bit it is a wonderful wild place to spend time in.
For quite some time I had this idea in my head that I wanted to take pictures of Rough Go Trail by just using my phone. Now finally the time had come to turn this idea into reality (I'm afraid this is a photo-heavy post).
The trail that leads to Rough Go starts near the lake and is nice and mellow with relatively smooth going, the only obstacle in your way being a coyote brush.
Looking back already offers a beautiful view of the Mayacamas Mountains.
Then we hit the Rough Go Trail and the going gets... well, rough. There is a reason why the trail has its name. The first part is still in the shade which is the only shady section of the trail.
Then the trail gets rougher while climbing up.
Turning back you can see the scars of the October 2017 fires - those are some of the mountains where the fire roared over in the night of October 8th, 2017.
The trail climbs steadily among the boulders and rocks - another reason why I avoid this trail in the heat of the summer since the rattlers love to hang out here. While I think they're still more afraid of me than vice versa I do prefer to see them from a safe distance.
The views across my town toward the Coastal Range are stunning. I'm always amazed how many trees there are. Hard to believe that this is a city of 160,000.
But we still have a bit of a climb to do, so let's move on.
This is the end of the first climb - this lovely bench on the ridge.
I love to sit here under the old trees, watching the turkey vultures circling above me. Sometimes deer walk by. About ten to fifteen years ago or so while I was sitting on this bench enjoying the view a woman had climbed up the same trail and was approaching the bench a bit hesitantly. After I had told her that there is certainly space for both of us she sat beside me and we started a conversation. I immediately loved her English accent, and we talked for a long time. At the end we exchanged phone numbers and we became hiking buddies for many years.
It's also a great place for contemplating and writing in my journal.
From here you can still hike much further, there are many trails in Annadel. But I chose to go back, walk down Rough Go. It looks different on the way back.
After all these years I still love this trail. It never gets boring, there is always something new to see. One time I saw a bobcat, another day a coyote further up the mountain. Once a jackrabbit was hopping on the trail and even posing for the camera! I often saw mountain lion scat and once I even turned around on a more remote trail because I suddenly felt my hair standing up. I was pretty sure there was a cougar nearby and I didn't want to take any chances. That never happened on Rough Go, but I'm always vigilant. This is the wilderness after all.