Yesterday morning we woke up fairly early and drove up to Annadel State Park near Santa Rosa, about an hour or so away from my apartment. It was a gorgeous day - the sun was bright, sky was clear, probably up in the high 70s. In short - a perfect day to hike. So we loaded up our day pack with 4 liters of water, a couple of cliff bars, made sure our hiking boots were tied tight, hoped in the truck and drove up to the North Bay.
I'd like to take a quick break here and tell you a defining point of our relationship:
On our way to the park as we were stopped at a red light somewhere in Santa Rosa, I looked over to the shopping complex next to us and saw a Sharper Image store. For those of you not in the know, Sharper Image is a geek gadgety store filled with expensive and pretty much not needed tripped out thingies. Think "sonic screwdrivers" only not as cool and less useful. Now, seeing how we're in a recession and all, such expensive geegaws are not really selling very well, the San Francisco based store is now going out of business. As a result of this, there was a man standing on the street outside the store waving a big sign that said "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! ALL MERCHANDISE 30-50% OFF!"
So being a good and loving girlfriend, it was my duty - nay, RESPONSIBILITY - to make sure my gadget loving boyfriend was fully aware that, when the light changed, we could easily make a right turn into the parking lot and check it out. You know, just to see if there was anything that might peak our interest. It had nothing - NOTHING - to do with the fact that I am a sucker for completely extravagant items, such as automatic light up salt and pepper mills(you know, for when you're about to season your steak but then the power goes out and OH MY GOD WHERE IS MY STEAK!).
Once Jonathan was now aware that there was a high tech gadget store on a clearance sale binge, he found himself in a little bit of a quandary. Does he go into the store and, possible, spend money, or does he continue to drive to our designated hiking spot? Would his girlfriend mind this detour (neglecting the part where, without her, he would not have noticed it) or would she rather go hiking? I could see the gears turning in his head as he chewed his lip, eyeing the store with the same lust he reserves only for fire, microcontrollers and, on occasion, me.
Yes - we did go into the store. Yes, we bought things. I got a really keen Fitness Watch for a little more than $35 bucks, and Jonathan got a spiffy Backgammon board (not found on the website). The store itself was pretty much picked over - my watch was THE LAST watch, in fact - it was the display model. The staff was not all that helpful but, seeing how they are all about to lose their jobs, I can understand why they would opt to get paid to sand in the middle of the store and talk with each other.
OKAY! So the hiking trip! We eventually made it to the park, paid our day fee, parked the car, and then walked back to the ranger station which we drove past on our way in so that we could get a map, which our guide book HIGHLY recommended. We also asked the park ranger if he could recommend a trail for us. First he got up, leaned over his desk and inspected our foot wear. Once he saw that we were decked out in hiking books and that we had an ample supply of water, he drew out about a 10 mile hike for us on the map. We thanked him kindly and went on our way.
THREE HOURS LATER: We saw about a billion lizards (one of them crawled up on my boot, almost up my pant leg), heard some turkeys, saw a quail, a flock of buzzards (we got a bit worried when there were eight of them circling over head of us), one jack rabbit, and two deer. We also met a lot of nice people on the trail, both other hikers and mountain bikers. Everybody made sure to be polite: the bikers made sure to tell us they were coming and how many there were, and we made sure to stand out of their way. Way to share the trail! Go team us! We also helped out a few people: some who were COMPLETELY lost and used our map, and one poor woman who lost her fellow mountain bikers. There were also nice hikers who assured us that we were "almost" to the lake.
But yes, as a result of three hours of being in the sun and hiking uphill and down hill, through meadows, by a lake, and deep in wooded grove (this park had some amazing diversity), I ended the day with a sun burn that could win awards and make doctors scream and an ankle that almost makes ME scream (in fact, I actually woke up every hour on the hour last night due to pain. At one point, I got Jonathan to go into the kitchen and get a bag of frozen peas so I could sleep with it on my ankle. I still don't know how I got him up and neither does he). We have pictures of my AWESOME sunburn, but my camera is in the day bag at Jonathan's.
Next weekend, Kevin, Jonathan and I will be around Davis for Picnic day - if you guys are in the area and want to have a BBQ at my parent's place, LET ME KNOW! Hopefully my ankle will be in much better spirits.
On the sucky side of things - it looks like I will be spending the next two weeks working both phone lines at Town Hall, wanting to die a horrible painful death and claw my eyes out with a spork. Yay.