Saturday, August 09, 2014

Sam McDonald hike

On Saturday August 2, I was off on a hike with the Gay and Lesbian Sierra Club section of Loma Prieta.  I was looking forward to this long 9 mile hike as I was not the leader and could be a little more relaxed and not have to watch out so much for others.  I always do watch out for others when I hike but not as intently when I know there is a hike leader also doing the job.  It was nice to know that I could stop when I wanted and get that lovely picture and not have to worry about keeping an eye out on the gang so much.

Sam McDonald park is located near La Honda California about 10 miles from the Pacific coast.  Its a wiggly drive to the park from Silicon Valley.  The drive went smoothly and there wasn't much traffic.  We arrived at the park just before 10 am.  Six other folks showed up for the hike.  We set off on the Big Tree trail and very soon thereafter got on the Heritage Grove trail, a lovely shaded trail through the redwood trees perfect for a hot summer day in the bay area.

Heritage Grove Trail at Sam MacDonald County Park
I hiked along with my friend D. and we caught up with each others doings.  Then the group sort of shifted places and I ended up catching up with new friend, L.  It was very pleasant.  After 30 minutes or so we reached the hill up to the Sierra Club hut and ran into another group of hikers going down the hill.  It turns out they were another Sierra Club group, the Black Mountain group.

When we got to the top of the hill we made our way to the Sierra Club hut for a water break on the deck and so the hikers who had not been here before could take a look at the hut.  It appeared there was a group staying there that weekend but they were not around so we used the deck for our break along with a collection of about 5 women hikers who were also just passing by the hut and not staying there.

Sierra Club Hut in Sam McDonald park

I realized at our hut break that I had forgotten to put on sun screen so I rubbed sun screen all over my now slick with sweat face, arms, and legs.  I also removed the pants legs from my convertible pants to turn them into shorts as it was a warm day.  We all agreed though that although it was hot it was not too hot!

Our next stop was at the bench with a view.  S. and I decided to find a geocache that was near here and D. got mock mad at use for sneaking off to find it!  We found the cache and then joined the gang to admire the view.  Shortly after that we stopped at a picnic table for lunch.  Its always nice on a hike when a picnic table happens to be right about where you want to stop for lunch!  After lunch one of our hikers signed out and headed back home as 9 miles was just a bit much for her on this day.  The rest of us started our descent down to Jones Gulch or as the hike leader, D., likes to call it "Fiver Fingers gulch" as the creek is covered with five finger fern plants.

Five Finger ferns

Cathy in Jone's Gulch

We stopped at Five Fingers gulch to explore the gulch and have a little rest break.  Then we headed back up the hill to the Towne trail.  D. warned us that this hill was a very gradual up but seems to go on forever.  He was right.  The trail does these long switch backs and towards the top I did keep thinking that this was the last switch back but then there was another one and another one and another one!  We did finally reach the top and there was a bench just crying out for us to sit on it!  As we were sitting there S exclaimed that there was a geocache here.  She reached under the bench and found the cache right under where she was sitting!  We had a little rest and then took off for the last mile or so on flattish fire roads and finishing off on the Big Tree trail back to the parking lot.

I was tired and my feet were a bit sore at the end of the day but it was a marvelous hike with good company. And S. and I added two more geocaches to our long lists of finds.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of Blogher'14

The good was the voices of the year readings.  I enjoyed all the readings.  I did not expect as much emotion as I witnessed in the readings.  The blogs were obviously near and dear to the reader's heart and no one just stood up and read it.  They infused it with the emotion that doesn't always come through with just reading something on line.

The good was Tig Notaro.  She cracked me up and educated me a little bit about breast cancer and how folks react to it and what it entails.

The good was running into two women who buoyed up my ego by being amazed at my profession and how long I have been at it.  One was near my age and reminded me how much work it involved to become a software developer when I did in the late 80s and how it was indeed an impressive achievement.  It seems rather an ordinary achievement to me.  The other was a bit younger than I but so impressed with me that she asked me "may I touch you" twice!  Once when I revealed to her that I wrote software for satellites and once when I mentioned that I worked at NASA Ames Research center.  Who knew that I would walk away form Blogher'14 with a sense of wonder that people were impressed with what I have accomplished in my professional career.

The good was hanging out briefly with Denise, Tarrant, and Karen.  The good was meeting Laurel and Jenna and having good chats and meeting scores of others whose names I have forgotten but who lightened my day by chatting with me.

The good was the ending party and how I was able to overcome a bit of my social anxiety and dance like no one was watching way off in the corner to get away from the very loud speakers!

The bad was being bored at two of the sessions.  Not bad for Blogher'14 but bad for me personally.  I realized I really have no desire to improve my blog or learn how to monetize, or how to publish a book, and any myriad of things the sessions covered and so I was bored.

The bad was when my social anxiety did get the best of me.  It did at the Friday parties.  I just felt like a fish out of water.  I tried to engage with people and never felt  relaxed.  It did at the beginning of the closing party.  I wandered around the party three times looking for where I could plop myself down to eat my McDonalds.  I finally did plop down on the ground and felt sort of lame that I was all by myself.  But then some other folks sat down with me and I was back on track.

The ugly was when the Saturday lunch food did not agree with me and neither did the midlife mini-conference.  I ended up deciding to leave the mini-conference as it wasn't going in a direction I liked and I really needed to make a trip to the bathroom.  Fortunately, I chased the ugly away with a wonderful nap on the fake green grass outside the convention center!

All in all the conference was a mixed bag for me but with slightly more positives than negatives!