One of my sabbatical goals has been to find a new Sonoma County hike each week. So far so good. I told Carla, my massage therapist, about this goal and she said she knew of a hike in the coastal mountains that only locals could find. She said she’d write down the directions, which she did. It felt so 30 years ago, when you couldn’t just look something up online or download an app. You had to have conversations with people and share knowledge one-on-one. You had to find a piece of paper and pen and number the steps and then you had to remember to bring that piece of paper with you and hand it to the person. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the efficiency of technology, but there is something decidely more human about tangible means of communication.
On the directions, Carla wrote, “The fire road begins there. You’ll see a gate up ahead that’s easy to walk around. Continue on the fire road… After awhile you’ll see a very giant rock (it’s fun to climb) and the trail goes off to the left.” Indeed, it went off to the left, and down a hill through stands of redwood and bay trees. There was water in the creekbed, a raucous seam of fallen trees and stones with a precarious trail alongside it. On unicorporated land, it was gloriously unkempt and wild. I was so grateful to be given the local’s insider 411.
But the “very giant rock” was the highlight. A huge boulder covered with moss and ferns and bay sapplings. I had to scamper up the side, thinking to myself, “You’d better not fall, because no one knows you’re here.” I got to the top and looked around and listened. I did not see or hear any human or human-made thing. Again, glorious.
On the way back to my car, I composed Carla a haiku as a thank you for showing me this trail. The nice thing about a haiku is that it’s short and sweet and easy to remember. Here it is:
Giant rock is hard to climb
Atop the rock, breathe
Now the rock is not so big
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