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Between my more strenuous hikes I take some easier ones to keep the body’s joints greased.

The hikes shake out the kinks in my get-alongs. And sort of keep me in shape for the heartier hikes.

So, after my San Leonardo Trail hike a couple of days ago I took a couple of fun hikes.

One was with my new friend, David, who showed me trails I didn’t know existed.

Mind you, David just moved out here a few years ago. And I’ve lived here for twenty-three years, hiking just about every day, and looking for new trails all the time.

I even had a retired forest ranger, Tom, show me numerous trails I’d not heard about.  Tom had spent his entire career working out on trail maintenance in the forests of Northern New Mexico and Arizona.

He knew them well!

OK, David asked if I would like to take a hike in Amole Canyon.

Well of course. That is one of my all time favorites.

Except David turned onto a Forest Service Road I’d never been on before.

He drove a dozen miles of so, pointing out various points of interest as we bumped along over “Not advised for passenger cars” rutty seldom-maintained dirt track.

Finally, he pulled off into a rustic parking spot, wide enough for maybe a truck and a half.

Said, “This is it.”

David is a retired police inspector.  So he is used to details, and talked about trails by their esoteric GPS location numbers.

It was a type of trip I love, into a remote unfamiliar territory.

We hiked a few miles in and  back out on a hidden trail.  Along the way David pointed out junctions to trails I’d swear I’d never been on before. But Dave assured me they were trails I’d surely hiked before.  And he was right, though we were so far away from the trail ends that I’d not recognized them as ones I’d hiked. And from where we were I most couldn’t recognize them.

He’s the kind of guy I love to hike with, who knows so much more than I’d ever really bother finding out about.

And willing to share his trail expertise.

I’m that way.

There’s a very old (I.e., long time “old”) friend of mine who is like that.

Jim is a birder.  And I am not.

I love hiking with Jim.  He’ll hear a bird’s singing and stops, saying, “Hear that?” And I’ll listen to a faint, monotonous zi-zi-zi-zi-zi-zi-zi.

“That?” Jim will say. “It’s a blackpoll warbler.  See it?”

I’ll strain and strain to eventually make out a bird in the thick leaves of a maple tree.

Jim will say, “It’s got a black head, like a chickadee. But no black throat. And its body is striped.”

I just love hiking with those who can point out and name what they see.  I just don’t have enough patience.  And I’m lazy, I guess.  So I love hikers who can tell me about things they notice in the woods.

So, Jim and I have been friends for over forty years.  And I never tire of Jim pointing birds out for me. And think of he practical aspect.  Saves me so much time trying to remember the fine points and find them in Peterson’s.

Same with David.  Loved having him show me these trails I hadn’t known existed.

Anyways, after a while we turned back to the car and off for him to point out other trailheads equally new to me.  Trails I’ll definitely have to try “some day.”

Hopefully David still wants to hike with Old Backpackerbill.  He even suggested another hike we should take.

i’m looking forward to getting out on some of these other remote trails — at least “remote” for me.


The Classic Amole Trail I Love So Much

Next morning, my wife Joy asked me if I’d like to take a hike with her and our dog, Stanzi.

So, we went to our good-old-familiar three mile-loop in Amole Canyon that we’ve hiked hundreds of times and which I love so much I’ve backpacked into it to camp a few full moon nights.



This trail is not at all difficult, rising and falling barely more than fifty feet in elevation on the whole route.  It winds through a virgin forest of Ponderosa pines the needles of which give off a pungent fragrance when warm sunlight hits them.

Stanzi loves this trail so much she races playfully in wide circles through tall grassy meadows that the trail passes along the way.

My wife and I have a special place we stop for a break about half way around the loop. Stanzi knows this spot too.

She runs up to it and waits for us to join her for a water and snack break.

Great fun.  I’m so very grateful to live in such a hiking Mecca!


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