Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18 - Connecting the Lines

Up absurdly early, with a local petrol and water-bottle stop,

then out to

American River Middle Fork Canyon,

over the Auburn Ravine Bridge,

past baking

chaparral slopes to

the Western States Trail Junction in



the last 8.3 miles (16.6, actually, since this will have to be a round trip) of a series of connected hikes between Rohnert Park and the Talbot Trailhead of the Granite Chief Wilderness.

Time for another Mark-of-Arabia (or is it more Flying Nun / large white rabbit / water buffalo this time?) get up before heading down


Lowe, and perhaps

California again to






open to the





The way leads across a digger-pine-and-chaparral plateau,

then down Dardenelles Canyon within sight of the distant North-Fork-of-the-Middle-Fork Divide to a sunny


From here,

the woods are alternately thin and dense,

with enough views of

Buckeye and

Cock Robin Points to keep it interesting, yet enough

shade to keep one alive on a very warm day (with three horsewomen and no other hikers encountered the whole time).

At last the clearing (in what proves to be just about the only truly deep forest section), known as

Peachstone Junction, appears, after a brutal, open downslope.

Resting briefly, there is nothing to do but tackle the reverse upslope -- the most difficult stretch of the day, wrapping the upper shirt-scarf tight against the heat radiating up from the rocks, meditating on the horse that started earlier and almost knocked its rider and me for a loop (what if?). All the potential dangers -- sprains, broken bones, heat stroke, insurmountable fatigue, bears, mountain lions, bees, poison oak, sunburn, blisters, becoming lost, dehydration, starvation, being kicked by a horse -- pretty much averted.

Uncharacteristically thankful for shade and

cool springs, relatedly appreciative for having taken three (rather than two of last week) water bottles, plus the re-discovered daypack of yesterday, which proves semi-insulated, and thereby a keeper of relatively refridgerated goods.

Homeward, again, pretty wiped out, but perhaps in slightly better shape than last week at this time -- still there are two pages (51-52) of Symphony No. 2: II (Part 2) to do, as well as another for Psalm 20 (2 pages total, concluding it), and video edit for San Rafael News: I. AIDSong.