The pitter-patter of rain on the roof made it easy to stay warm in bed a little longer this morning. Isn’t a summer storm magical? I snuzzled with Cholula for a while, listening to her lazy half-asleep breathing and remembered that I’d promised her (and myself) that we’d go for a hike today. After a half-cup of coffee to warm me up, I kicked off my slippers and pulled open my “cold weather” closet drawer for the first time this season. The rain, though light, hadn’t stopped by the time we reached the trailhead. Cholula, curled in a wolf-like ball on a blanket in the back seat of the Subaru, gave me the look that said, “Really?” I pulled my raincoat’s hood over my ball cap and off we went.
It didn’t take more than a few steps up the trail for Cholula’s tail to start wagging as she darted from stump to stump, senses overloaded, searching for chipmunks and interesting sticks. Life lesson from a dog: a little rain shouldn’t ruin a good time. I was glad that I’d put on my favorite teal thermal top, the one that zips at the neck: for August 7, it was pretty chilly. With the gray skies, misty rain, and light fog tickling the pine trees, I might have been on a trail in the Pacific Northwest instead of the landlocked Wasatch Range in Park City.
I breathed in the intoxicating smell of wet forest as we climbed the switchbacks. Up, up and away from the Subaru parked below us, the neighborhood we’d driven through to get to the trail, the busy highway that ran between this neighborhood and home. The tall trees provided protection from the rain, their piney boughs spread over us like evergreen umbrellas. Underneath, verdant plants lifted their leaves to the sky, soaking in the moisture. Now and then, a tree would playfully lob a pinecone onto the trail near me as I followed Cholula’s wagging tail up the hillside. In a preview of the season to come, I spied reddening leaves on a few shrubs. But the wildflowers reminded me that, despite the cool temps of today, summer is far from over. It’s only August, after all.
My favorite little silhouetted pine tree has grown since I first visited this trail a few years ago. When we reached it, we turned around to head back. This trail is familiar. It’s one of my favorite local hikes in every season, but I always find something new to marvel at along the way. Down, down we descended, toward the car and neighborhood and highway- out of my enchanted forest and back to reality.
As I’ve done many times before, I’d overlook Cholula’s muddy paws, my scraggly hair and dirt-spattered legs. Before we drove away from the trail, I took one more deep breath, embedding the scent of today’s mini-adventure in my mind for later. And home we went, both sighing with gratitude.
Happy Friday, indeed.
One year ago: Zucchini-Jalapeno-Cheddar Biscuits with Pancetta.