Sweating Lafayette’s Ridge Trail



With coronavirus slowing my life down to a very long, quiet pause, I’ve been taking the time to walk – a lot. I normally hike the ridge near my house. It’s a 3 to 4 mile jaunt with about 800 feet of elevation gain.

I’ve become fond of that hike – especially with the great air quality via the coronavirus and warmer days provided by the season of spring. The hills are green and the poppies are out. A neighbor of mine had mentioned he and his wife had hiked the Lafayette Ridge Trail and how great the hike was. I wanted to give it a walk!

I have fallen into a bit of a rut hiking the trails that I know. I’ve got three or four trails I know and love around here that I’ve done repeatedly for years. As I look back, I haven’t done as good of a job as I wanted to exploring new trails. I figured the relative slowdown in life was a good way to get out and try something new.

The warm days we had earlier in the week were chased away by a cold front that rolled in last night. Karl the fog was in and although the sun was trying the fog wasn’t budging. The hike began at the Twin Canyon Girl Scout camp deep within a valley. What I didn’t know was the first half of the hike was a climb to the top of a ridge.

My legs definitely weren’t prepared for the demands of the Sunrise Trail. My usual hike was about half the distance and half the elevation. The top of the hill kept getting further and further away the higher and higher I climbed. The fog blocked most of the major landmarks so orienting to the trail was more difficult than I expected since this was my first time.

When I got to the top, the view from the ridge was outstanding. The break in the sun provided an outstanding view of the trail that would bring me back to the start.

On the way back down to the trailhead I came across a tree that, a tree caught my eye. I believe it was a blue oak which is a common species out here in the East Bay. In the summer when it’s hot, the blue oak emits a substance that gives the tree a bluish hue that I’ve not yet seen.

The setting of that tree further in the valley gave me pause. Maybe I was tired and wanted to stop. More likely though it was the unspoiled grass and the soft shadow from the tree and combined with the light from an overcast sky.

This whole season reminds me that the earth heals. I’ve never seen the Bay Area so full of life while we humans have an extended pause on our own lives. That tree is surrounded by so much lush and so much quiet that it stands out to me in such a monochromatic scene.

Green means life. Green points to new. Green means better days ahead.

Total Mileage: 4.73 miles

Total Ascent: 2968 feet


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