Friday, February 19, 2010

First Hike of the Year

Last weekend, Gary and I took full advantage of the beautiful (65 and sunny) weather we were enjoying to get out on the trails. Hiking is one of our "things", and winter seems oh so long when we're cooped up in the house. This is the first hike we've done since I bought my D-SLR, so of course I was more than excited to try it out on the trail. So, I grabbed my camera, and Gary found us a great new trail in the Auburn area that leads us down to the middle fork of the American River.

Even though it's still February, spring is obviously pushing winter aside with full force. I couldn't get enough of the budding trees that lined the first part of the trail. In the picture below, I love the sense of motion as the tree branch "comes at you":

A little further up the trail, these leaves are already budding. To see the sun backlighting the buds brings back that glorious sensation of the sun on my face.

About 4/5 of the way down the trail, we snuck down the side of the hill and found THE perfect lunch spot. This is my new favorite place; surrounded by lush ferns and moss, a rushing creek at your feet with waterfalls bookending the site. There's a little ledge along one hill where you can sit and watch the water rush by. A little piece of heaven.

This next pic is kinda weird, I'm warning you now. When we arrived at the bottom of the hill, we discovered that a large swath of riverbed had clearly been underwater and just recently dried up. River rocks were either covered with sediment or decorated with bright green filaments of algae. I couldn't get over how similar the algae looked to hair, and how the rocks looked like the tops of heads. It was bizarre stepping across them and waiting for one to turn up and blink at me, as if out of a Harry Potter movie.

This was the view after we concluded our descent: beautiful, open, free, so quiet and peaceful. I often feel that these times in nature move my heart to bring me the closest to God. This is His handiwork; He is the one who invented these beautiful places that give me such joy.