Mad Dogs, Englishmen, and Me

I am usually an early riser, and consider a day unfit for hiking –or much of anything, for that matter– if I’m up and about any later than 7am. The day’s already half gone! Too late!

But I think I’m still experiencing the mellowing effects of our day at the spa. This morning we slept in, I made coffee, we played with the cats and worked on our various web presences. I hauled a ‘free!’ table out to the side of the road, we played with the cats some more, and by the time I hit the hiking trail it was 11am. So like Noel Coward‘s mad dogs and Englishmen, I was out in the mid-day sun.

Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve gone hiking, thanks to too much art (if there is any such thing). So I went to my favorite go-to park, Wilder Ranch State Park.

Wilder Ranch State Park

The sun was bright, but there was a good sea breeze to keep things from getting too hot. The hills are definitely in their ‘tawny’ phase, but there were still abundant wildflowers.

Flowers at Wilder Ranch State Park

And bees.

Bee and thistle at Wilder Ranch State Park

I started out on the Wilder Ridge Loop, climbing steeply. Oak trees by the side of the trail offered welcome shade. I love their twisted branches.

Oak tree

After a couple of miles, I turned on to the Twin Oaks Trail. My plan, since it was hot and I had forgotten my sunscreen, was to head for the shadier trails. This worked as far as sunburn is concerned, but what I didn’t think about was the shade is in the canyons, meaning my hike had a whole lot of ups-and-downs to it. Oh well, it’s good exercise.

Twin Oaks Trail at Wilder Ranch State Park

After about a mile on Twin Oaks, I joined the Eucalyptus Loop Trail. There really aren’t any eucalyptus on this trail, except for a sentinel line of about 10 old trees at the trail’s head. Instead, it is a mix of oak, chaparral, and redwoods, with a couple of streams thrown in for good measure. Here some spiderwebs catch the sun.

Spiderwebs and redwood trunks

Every so often, the woods would open out into another meadow.

Transition from woods to meadow

The Eucalyptus Trail led to the Old Cabin Trail, and thence to the Wild Boar Trail. No boars were in sight, but if there had been I bet they’d have liked these berries.


And soon, my first glance of the ocean. This is looking out over the Monterey Bay, with Big Sur and Monterey in the distance. Not too shabby a view, eh?

View of the ocean at Wilder Ranch State Park

It was all downhill from there, down to the historic buildings, goats, sheep, chickens, and gardens at the ranch that gives the park its name.

Heading downhill

I am a happy hiker!

Me at Wilder Ranch State Park

Incidentally, there is an annual 4th of July celebration at the historical buildings of Wilder State Ranch every year, where they celebrate the 4th of 100 hundred years ago; this year, it will be 1910. Freshly-made ice cream, strawberry shortcake, hayrides, and good old-fashioned fun. Come out, support your state parks, and celebrate!

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