Swamp or summit? I’m never quite sure in California. There are sloughs by the coast and mountains running down to the ocean. At any given time you can be at sea level or a couple of thousand feet up.
Perhaps that’s what makes the Monterey coastline so confusing, yet compelling. In North Carolina, where I grew up, there are three clearly marked ecosystems that every elementary school child learns – the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, and the Appalachians. For me that easily broke up into beach vacation, home, or mountain vacation.
California isn’t that simple. And our large collection of family and friends out there adds to the complexity. At one moment I’m back in my twenties hanging out with my law school roommate and her now husband. At another point I find myself the mother of a 25 year old and a 22 year old. And other times I’m hearing news of an old friend of the family who’s now 94.
But in the midst of this I did manage to squeeze in some training and hiking, especially needed as our Orizaba trip inexorably draws closer. Thanksgiving Day started with a yoga class for some of the ladies – daughters A and S (who have rebelled against being called daughters 1 and 2 in this blog), my sister in law L and niece G (who actually goes by G and therefore has no hope of anonymity here). The males of our house party, including husband J, brother in law, and S’s boyfriend P (whose visit was a stop on a cross country driving trip back to New Orleans), showed no interest whatsoever in kicking off their turkey extravaganza with yoga. The class was in Carmel, in two of the most crowded studio rooms I have ever been in. There were a lot of “oms” and some live singing and it was a bit odd to have to do tree pose literally arm in arm with our neighbors, but all in the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Managed to follow that with a 5k run up into the hills of Monterey. If Florida offered something like that I’d never have to climb the stairs again.
Friday’s training consisted only of braving Black Friday crowds at the local Macy’s. A tradition that has been with us for many years and shows no signs of dying. I guess we did get in a quick walk before the annual post Thanksgiving party at yet another brother in law’s. Oh, there was a visit to the local Elks Lodge (great cocktails), but that’s another story.
But on Saturday we did manage, with assorted friends and family, to hike a few miles around Point Lobos – possibly one of the most beautiful spots on the California coast. I’ve written about it before – https://fromswamptosummit.com/2014/12/01/point-lobos-summit-in-the-sea/ – and it hasn’t changed. For some reason we have had spectacular weather the last two trips. The deep blues and greens of the ocean are enhanced by the mystery of the brown kelp beds, which suggest an underwater secret city lurking below.
We always bookend these trips, it seems, with early morning flights, and before noon east coast time on Sunday we were winging our way over the snow capped, jagged peaks of the Sierras back to Orlando. Those are clearly summits. But no more so than getting spend time with family and friends.