COLD CANYON LOOP 20X October 7, 2007

The obvious question now comes--if you're against global warming, pollution, and all, why do you drive a car?

Well, first of all, I didn't start this (peak climbing and hiking/travel), and I bought my first car to help support explore, enjoy, and protect, however misled. The other cars all followed, and I did a lot of traveling. I always sought to buy for fuel efficiency, and carpooled as often as I could. I can still make up for this and my frugal lifestyle, however polluting, purchasing carbon offsets (by some). Though, I tend to see such contributions as buying yourself out of a problem, and that money is not the cure-all for the planet.

Back at the start of the 21st Century, I was seriously contemplating not owning or operating a car, after having my, then, 60 mpg, recycled. But then, a major event occurred in the history of this country.

The lack of mountaineering ops, due to the complete absence of any such venue in this area, whereby I might hitch a ride with a friendly collection of hikers and climbers, induced me to look at a new traveling method. The economy was said to need help. That seemed to require spending, and I had the cash.

So, after about a month of motorless, getting about, town, I signed my money away to, once again, secure personal transportation. Having your own car still looks like the best and cheapest way to see the country, or in my case, the wild and scenic Pacific West. Official wilderness would not exist if there were no people to enjoy them.

The Internet was not yet a way to see the sights. In 2001, digital photography was just developing, and few or no people posted summit views, or virtual hikes and climbs. And then, extreme enviros are against high tech as well. So, I broke with the shrill and ridiculous voices, exhorting against pollution and all, even while themselves personally in the thick of grossly producing more of that. I decided to go my own philosophical way.

This year, I keep track of my daily walking by a computer file--a walk log, done with my word processing program. I have myself down as doing over 1,500 miles, so far in 2007, instead of driving as most people would do, and to simply enjoy the local urban ops for nature and exercise.

Also, I must have spent thousands to partake in the local, organic, food buffet and groceries, all mostly hiked to, as part of an almost daily, at times, routine. Consuming non-chemically treated food is stated to help combat global warming, now, by mainstream groups.

So, this fair Sunday, I left home at about 11:30 a.m., in my 40 mpg vehicle, in need of a hike. For me, the Stebbins Reserve is only a gallon of gas away.

I took the upper trail, as usual, and on top of the first bump, met as determined a hiker as I have ever met. The founder of YoloHikers (link to their site) gave me a long list of accomplishments to improve the lot of us local explorers, with acquired land, and running a group dedicated to open space and wilderness. I resolved to contribute something for the fine-sounding efforts.

Lake Berryessa was an iridescent blue, the hills were a vibrant tan, and the trees were all green. There was some fall color, with sumac and wild grape. They had improved the upper trail, with wooden steps, now, and more to be put in.

Ambling along the ridge as I made my loop, people with dogs appeared. I saw none of the former, paper signs to declare "no dogs," in the preserve. A fair number of hikers, today.

As I bounded down the steps, I heard a distant cry, and soon found some person attempting to get back on the trail. Apparently she had fallen off, and broke or dislocated a finger. I offered help with my unused REI Hikers First Aid kit, and they later took a few pain pills, antiseptic wipes, and a bandaid. With concerns about leaving them, I stayed behind to see that there were no complications, as the victim going into shock, or having a heart attack. The injured party seemed to do better as we chatted, all mostly about accidents and liability. I don't ask for signatures on a waiver to give first aid supplies, so I may be at risk. But all went fine, and they drove off safely as we got back to the cars by about 4 p.m.

I hiked, then, the 4.75 miles, with 1,500' gain, and shot about 65 images, with a few .wav files as notes, in lieu of my voice recorders. I used my light pack, and old clothes. Employing a gas station restroom, along with buying some power drink, I didn't stop for anything else.

Although a minor incident, I would have not been there to help those hikers, should I have chosen a strict path to not further any global warming.

To assist perhaps in enjoyment of our mountains, I plan to take a trip, soon, down U.S. 395. I will post my findings as to fall color, and provide a few pictures to show how it is going. I plan to spend a bit, for food and maybe lodging, and help businesses along my favorite highway.

My tech stuff needs some use, and I am only happy to get back on the road. I have resolved to keep my car miles down to what is recommended by the maintenance schedule, and thus still get my money's worth. Selling the car would just make someone else the polluter, and junking it would be a waste. It's just a shame that no one, lately, has come forward to carpool, and take advantage of my knowledge of these fine mountains and deserts, to be still truly enjoying, exploring, and protecting!