February, the month of love. Besides God, my family and our country, I love hiking. Put them together and life becomes blissful.
I fell in love with hiking when my husband took our two oldest sons and me on a bushwhacking, boulder climbing trek to the top of a waterfall. Once there, we scooted on our bottoms to the brink of the fall then plunged into the cold pool of water below.
Fast forward one score and seven years, hiking has become my favorite pastime. Whether a gentle walk through a meadow to see wildflowers; or a steep, heart-pounding climb up a mountain; or a quiet stroll in the rain, I love it all.
Each January Joseph and I do a first hike of the year. With all the rain we received this winter, we chose a mud-free walk along Empire Mine Road in Antioch. It is a paved road that is no longer accessible to vehicle traffic.
Andrew joined us as did Monster and Bruce (the dogs).
We followed the double-yellow lines away from a neighborhood that is nestled between rolling foothills and the Antioch bridge.
Bruce, who spends lots of time cooped up in an apartment, was happy to prance in the rain.
Monster paraded about for a moment, but preferred to be held.
The five of us moseyed along the wet road jumping puddles until we reached the abandoned slaughterhouse. According to urban folklore, the slaughterhouse is haunted by the ghost of an old man.
Chains, leftover from the meat processing days, creaked as they swayed in the wind adding an air of mystery to the place.
On that wet day in January we saw fat cattle—safe from the defunct butchery, a humongous bull, an abandoned truck, but no sign of the legendary slaughterhouse ghost.
God. Family. Country….and hiking, even in the rain. What do you love?
Happy Valentine’s Day!