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Saturday, January 19, 2008


Walk in the Woods with a Young Forager

Foothills Park, Palo Alto

A buckeye tree in mid-winter. Come spring it would be full of green leaves and white clusters.
© Musafir

Past middle of January. Yesterday, JHL and I hiked the Los Trancos Trail in Foothills Park. Green but not moist. We need more rain. We sat and had our lunch by the creek about 1.5 miles before the bench dedicated to Lynn Torin, and then continuing on the trail and making a U-turn at the bench to return to the parking lot in the meadow. Reached the parking lot just before 5:00. Darkness had not set in -- a sign that we were over the hump....days getting longer.

Chanterelles and an Ultramarathoner

This morning a group of us went hiking with a young boy to introduce him to wild mushrooms, chanterelles no less. Sunny and clear morning when we left Palo Alto to head south, and it remained so all afternoon. It was a rewarding trip for all of us, especially for Nikhil.

Nikhil's first Chanterelle
© Musafir

Another first timer
© Musafir

Lunch break in a grove of trees
© Musafir
When we came out of the forest on Hwy 9, a runner stopped and asked if we had water. His water bottle was empty. We chatted for a while. Ralph Hirt of Crescent City was on a 25-mile run. Said he ran the Western States 100 (Squaw Valley to Auburn) five times and was going to enter again this year. When I mentioned Gayla Johnson, an ultra marathoner I came to know a few years back, Hirt said he knew Gayla. Gayla ran the Western States 100 four times.

This is what I wrote about distance running on December 4, 2005:
  • For me, it is not a "lonely" experience. Far from it. Of course, there are the occasional hazards and physical problems--aches and pains, pulled hamstrings, and such. Yet, loneliness is not part of my world when I am out on a long run. It is mostly a good feeling, especially when I run on trails in fall, muddy patches notwisthstanding. The changing landscape as the foothills turn into a lush green, the smell of bay laurel leaves, the look of the oak, madrone and buckeye trees never fail to give me pleasure. I don't need an electronic device to listen to music or news when I run. I feel close to nature; I feel at peace with the world.

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