I was grateful that on short notice Martine was up for the adventure, but I needed to get out, and hike #4 to the Morro Ridge Loop shouldn't be too hard as there were 3 more difficult beach hikes to follow in my little book. So after paying my $15 parking fee (my contribution to balancing the state budget, rrr, but that's another blog) we headed out along a very wide, well traveled path. All too soon we came to a trail map, showing the different trail names and realized that included in hike #4 was the trail named "I Think I Can Trail". Hmmm. But being brave souls and undeterred by a tiny sign, we pushed forward and upward, and upward and upward. When we were about half way up the hill we asked a biker coming down if we were almost there and he just laughed as he whizzed by. As we were beginning to hit that wall thing runners talk about another trail sign appeared, which unfortunately, we did not understand, and my book was not too much help (perhaps from my brain suffering from a lack of oxygen). All this added up to our continuing up the mountain (yes, it was now a mountain) for maybe 3/4 of a mile. Using our finely honed trail blazing skills, and Martine realizing that we were at the upper camping ground which was not part of hike#4, and that the trail was continuing up for a distance further than we were willing to go, the executive decision was made to turn around. (Contrary to what Melinda might be thinking, we were not lost and no chipwhich donation is required.) As we approached the spot where we had earlier misinterpreted the sign, unbelief filled our minds...first though, you must get a mental picture of how we looked and felt. We were hot and sweaty, tired and must have had a dust cloud around us a'la Pigpen from the Peanuts comics. And what should appear in front of us ...two very young female hikers, in very tiny shorts and shirts, clean white tennis shoes and flowing bouncy hair, all smiles and fun. All I want to know is- who gave them a ride up that mountain!!!
Now that we were back on the correct trail, it was time to break out the Hanukkah Jelly Belly's, and what a welcome treat they were. Our blood sugar was up and the trail was headed down and life was great, and then we turned the bend to see the ocean, and all the suffering of the past was forgotten. (At least until the bottom of the trail.) It truly was a spectacular sight.
This hike was a perfect reminder that sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. We learned and saw some very neat things. We learned that if someone wants you to go camping at the upper campground at Morro Ridge, you firmly say no. We saw the footprints of either bobcats or mountain lions, deer, raccoons (we think) and snakes (actually they were body prints, but you understand). We saw up close a greater roadrunner, which was very pretty, and for Suzanne's sake-no ticks. We enjoyed our sandwiches once we were back in the parking lot, and have a new appreciation for cloud cover. I would consider hike #4 a great success. And I am very proud to announce that I found a page in my book, previously undiscovered, that put the hikes in order of difficulty, and hike #4 is the second hardest beach hike! So in honor of our great achievement on Friday, Tuesday's hike will be the 2nd easiest beach hike in the book:-)