For the spring flowers

My 40 minutes’ drive to work along 280S becomes a treat every spring. Green round hills dotted with brown and black cows, horses, highlighted by yellow and white daffodils, contrasted by the pure blue sky. How hard will it be to pull over the car in the commute traffic and take some photos? Every year I asked myself that question. And every year before I had a chance to answer it, the flowers were gone.

A few hiking trails are highly recommended for wildflower seeing during the spring. A couple were hiked. Yet I am still waiting for the wow moment seeing a whole hillside covered by flowers. Today’s Russian Ridge Trail continued to build such expectation.

Today was a rare sunny and warm Sunday after weeks of rain. The drive to Ridge trail took me up to Skyline (Hwy 35). The first time I traveled on this road was a late night, after I made a wrong turn leaving a winery in Saratoga. The trip was both scary (not knowing where I was, endless sharp turns, no sight of cars or houses) and exciting (the city lights spread out far below). At least I figured I was heading north so I kept on driving. Finally I got to the junction of 84 and 35. On the corner lot, a lone restaurant was open. Its yellow lights felt so warm and welcoming after an hour of staring at dark narrow winding road in deep woods . I walked in and asked for directions. A lady sat at the bar drew the map on a piece of napkin. I asked where I was. La Honda, she said. When I got home I re-constructed my route on the map. How surprised was I to realize that there are still so many places to discover in my neighborhood!

And guess what? I got lost again near the junction. There seemed to be too many crossings which are not vertical to each other. My first reaction was to pull into the corner lot. The place was full of men in their leather jackets, bandanas and all, drinking and checking each car or bike pulled over. These bikers, as my “real” biker friend would describe, could well be the recreational Harley riders and not dangerous at all (since their day job were venture capitalist, executives, or lawyers…). Nevertheless, I didn’t get out of the car. What a t-shirt wearing little Asian woman was going to do there? It would be too tricky to ask a few dozen guys for direction anyway!

I was glad that my GPS finally picked up signal. The trail was magnificent, even without the spring flowers. On the way back, I met a friendly couple who was concerned about my safety hiking alone, and who shared their story of visiting Guangzhou in 1979. What a great story! What a perfect sunny spring day!

Russian Ridge Trail

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