There is something special about losing yourself in the wilds, even if you’re still within the city limits. Walnut Creek has a number of designated “open spaces” where the grasses and flowers are allowed to grow wild, where wildlife is protected, and trails crisscross throughout them, making them a great place to forget the modern world for a little while.
The one closest to me is the Acalanes Ridge open space, thus named because a ridge of hills cuts through the middle of it. The toughest path is the Ridge Top trail, thus named because it runs along the top of the ridge, taking you up and down some pretty steep hills. There are gentler paths, ones that skirt around the hills, or take you into the valley. Some trails are long enough to take you into a completely different park, if you so desire.
I have always found that I deal better with my stress when I can do something physical, and hiking steep hills certainly applies. So yesterday I strapped on my hiking boots, grabbed my hiking stick and some water, and I hit the hills.
For the first time, I hiked from one entrance of the open space to another entrance, across the ridge top trail. I overdid it a little bit, a little too much enthusiasm, I guess, because coming back, even taking one of the gentler trails back, I wasn’t sure my legs were going to hold out, and by the time I got back to my car, my legs were like rubber.
At one point, my headphones gave out on me (my fault for taking the bluetooth headphones), so the end of my hike was without music. Even though I was in the middle of an urban area, you’d never know it. I saw a few scattered people out with their dogs or a friend, but for the most part I was alone.
There were birds and any number of small animals I never saw, but could hear in the grasses. There were big fat bumble bees flitting from flower to flower and butterflies galore, and amazing blue dragonflies that danced in the shadier part of the trail.
I didn’t have my camera, but that didn’t stop me from grabbing a few shots of the flora along the way.
There is nothing better for beating back the stress than some serious physical activity, and nothing better for resetting my brain than a little peace and quiet.
I hope you find some of your own today, Readers!