This morning, despite reservations about whether I would be able to keep up, I went on a hike with the notable character and OC Hiking leader Harish up on the hills near Cook's Corner, which is not far from my place, but in a spot I am reluctant to drive to. Cook's Corner is a hangout for motorcycle gangs and hangers on. It is difficult to park or to pull in or out of lots because there are always cars and motorcycles coming from all directions at high speed and people and bikes darting out into the road.
But today I got a ride to the trailhead, and found this to be perhaps my favorite hike of all I have taken. There were some quite steep hills, several of them, that made me huff and puff a bit, but it was a beautiful hiking day, about 60 degrees, with a clear, deep blue sky.
There were large old live oaks all over the trails and wonderful overlooks that gave us an opportunity to see many different trails in the area, all the way to the beach. In fact, we could see Catalina Island from up there!
I love live oaks. They do not at all resemble the oak trees I know from back east. They are more slender, their leaves smaller, and they have elongated acorns that are quite a bit larger than regular oaks'. When they get large, their branches and boughs grow along the ground, forming a sort of canopy one can sit under and be completely sheltered from the surrounding world.Birds and other animals love this, and the trees are usually loud with the sound of these creatures doing what they do.
In addition to a hike, we also got an extemporaneous lecture of sorts from the hike leader, particularly when we visited the monastery and walked their trail of shrines for all the major religions. He has quite a group of fans, who come on all of his hikes. I enjoyed their company, and though I'd like to discuss some of these things Harish said rather than just listening, I would certainly do the hike and others with this leader again!
The monastery had an amazing, peaceful atmosphere. I felt comfortable and safe there. I would like to go back again, perhaps even to do a reading there. I wonder if they'd be interested?