Hellloooo, Weekend! The day started with Facetime call with my friend I was housesitting for. I posted a pic the night before of these two kitty kibble bandits that were caught red-handed on the porch when I was about to take in the cat food for the evening. Apparently, I was late in taking it in and it was their dinner time! I shooed them away with some banging on the sliding door and throwing some water in their direction. They left and I grabbed the food and water out there for the outside kitty. The raccoons are cute critters but some may carry rabies.
As usual, more FitOn workouts were done, completing the June challenge of completing 10 workouts. Nothing else official was planned for the day, text received at 9 AM confirmed company was arriving for a hike. It was going to be another beautiful and sunny day in Santa Cruz. Now, which hike to do? AllTrails is a good place to start. The app and website are free to start an account. Sign up for the Pro for $29.99 a year to download maps to stay on track, never miss a turn without service, keep friends and family notified of your status and location with Lifeline and 1% of their annual sales goes back to the planet. Not bad! I am considering signing up. I hope to get back to hiking once a month.
I usually select trails that end at a waterfall like Alamere Falls or runs along some kind of body water like we saw on Purisima. On AllTrails, you can read reviews of hikers’ experiences and sort them by how recently they were posted. With the shelter in place orders lifted, some recent hikers state trails have been overrun with brush, fallen trees or parking lots have been closed. The recent reviews for the waterfall hike in Aptos sounded less appealing. I selected Wilder Ranch. I mapped out our route of just under seven miles. We usually go for three-mile walks back at home and he has been wanting to go for more hikes and continue breaking in his hiking boots. Six miles sounded like a good distance.
Having had toast for breakfast but the man was hungry, I pre-ordered breakfast burritos from Harbor Cafe. Although I ate, I bought one to reserve for later. These ginormous burritos for $11 with bacon were tasty and filling. Add their chili verde sauce for some extra yumminess. I had mine later that evening and I couldn’t finish it. He gladly did.
We paid for $10 for parking. The lady at the kiosk told us where to park and where to find the tunnel to go under the highway to the trails. We could have found parking along the highway but I didn’t mind supporting the parks. He finished his burrito, changed into his boots, loaded up and we started our trek. Silly me, the navigator missed the tunnel by following the flow of traffic. We continued on the bike path along the highway. It didn’t feel right. I eventually asked other trekkers if we were headed the right way. She confirmed we missed it and we corrected our path. Eventually we hit some dirt and found trail markers. Off we went! Adding some extra yardage didn’t hurt.
We started at on the Engleman’s trail, then to Wild Boar, to Old Cabin, to The Enchanted Loop, to Twin Oaks then take Wilder Ranch back to the car. The route was breezy but with a lot of shade. I could see some redness on my hiking partner’s skin. Don’t forget to wear sunblock, wear a hat and sunglasses. I usually have bug repellent but I didn’t have any with me at the time. Thankfully I didn’t get bitten.
You will go over bridges, zig zag through medium-height brush and go thru groves with tall trees. Listen to the wind blowing through the branches and the slow creaks of the trees swaying. You will also want to listen for cyclists coming up and down the paths on the narrow trails. I have never experienced so much bike traffic on a hike before. Stay alert! As I enjoyed the dogs on the beach during my jog the day before, my favorite biker is the one that had a grey dog running behind him with so much joy. What a lucky puppy.
The man was going a bit slower than expected but I let him lead. I then realized that his new boots were giving him some trouble. I intended for us to do the whole Enchanted Loop but his feet were screaming that it wouldn’t be a good idea. Always listen to your body. By that point, we had already done six miles. The AllTrails estimation was a little off but we kept going.
From the Enchanted Loop, the Wild Boar trail was not marked. When we approached the second turn off, I estimated that it could be the correct trail. It was heading down so it should eventually run us to the bottom. We guessed correctly. I would have felt extremely terrible if it took us off course. Had I been a Pro member, no guessing would have been needed. We eventually made it to Wilder Ranch Loop and the end was in sight.
“Too much nature.”
At this point, my allergies kicked in. It has been awhile. Normally, if I am near a body of water, I am fine. But it was windy and some areas were very dry and I started to sneeze often. My eyes started to get itchy and I really wanted to blow my nose. Reminder: carry tissue (among other first aid items) with you! We didn’t have any. His feet were hurting and I just wanted to breathe. We were quite the pair at eight miles. Who knew we had almost two more miles to go.
Finally reaching the car, RunKeeper stated this was my longest hike at 9.79 miles and burned 927 calories. Sneezing up a storm, my dreams of stopping at a brewery for a beer on a patio had no hopes of becoming reality. I would not be the ideal patron post-shelter in place. We went back to the house. He had the last remaining beer in the fridge and I had some of my burrito, some water and took a shower to clean the dirt off me. I felt better by the evening.
We spent the rest of the night snacking on cheese and charcuterie and the cucumber salad I made. After some of Dear White People, we successfully made it to the third season of Ozark. My roommate started it before us and recently texted me that she just saw the most disturbing scene from the current season. I asked if it was worse than a scene from Mayans. I haven’t had to turn away from scenes from Ozark yet but apparently, I will! If you watch the show, which character is your favorite?
We went off to bed without raccoon encounters. However, the birds were very talkative! He likes the window being open so it sounded as if seventeen birds were perched on the electric wire just above the house. I eventually fell asleep but that was enough nature for the day!
Onto Day 5.