Thursday, November 26, 2009

Walk #330: Ed Abbey Was Wrong!

Calistoga...with fall colors....

I once found a fresh deer kill here...

Time to get serious.

Thanksgiving Day. Ed Abbey wrote that "walking uphill was just so unnecessary". Wrong. It is necessary--for me to do the things I want to do, some uphill training is gonna be needed. Or necessary.

I like my gentle jaunts up in Concow. I love my mischievous pranks annoying the hoity toity wineries and trustfunders of the Napa Valley. But these are not the things which will get me into proper hiking shape.

We have to go uphill! Every other day! With enthusiasm!

The Oat Hill Mine Trail is on the edge of Calistoga. It goes up (for four miles) into the mountains where a quicksilver mine operated for nearly 90 years. The road itself took 20 years to build and was completed in 1893.

I've done this hike before: up Oat Hill Mine road to the Palisades trail and then to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park (11 miles or so). Through cooperation of private groups (the Sierra Club, A local Napa land preservation group and the State Park) the trail has been improved and is more user friendly.

The hike itself is splendid. The views are stunning! With the waning light, I headed out after work, and made it a goal to head up (and I mean up!) the trail for thirty minutes. Then back down.

When living in Calistoga, I did this trail frequently. One time I found a fresh deer kill that had been dragged into a patio like dining area cave. Probably a cougar. Joni has found cougar tracks on this trail. A warning sign at the beginning of the hike declares the dangers: poison oak, rattlesnakes, fires, cougar and (probably the worst) other hikers. Must we start all endeavors with fear in this country?

As for how I did? Better than I expected. The muscles groan going up hill at first--but after getting warmed up, I was able to sustain a reasonable pace up the hill. My goal was to sweat; I did.

So now we start a new stage. To make these things more of a challenge. A physical challenge. I'm thinking every other day I must work up a sweat on these adventures.

Doesn't mean I won't hit a winery now and then though. Balance--saith the wise man: Balance!


lph said...

Happy Thanksgiving Allan.


Ian Woofenden said...

After a large and delicious Thanksgiving dinner, I got the call from a friend that the dome light on our van was on -- it's parked on "the other side". With no time to catch the ferry by bike, I got a lift down to the dock and biked across to turn off the light. Then I rode home the long way in the dark, against a NW wind. Pies awaited.

6.77 miles
10.47 mph average
25.61 mph max

Allan Stellar said...

Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes IPH...