Nisene Marks Hike

Last weekend I hosted my second "family hiking group" outing, this time to the beautiful Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.  There were six of us this time, plus one cute puppy!  We parked at George's Picnic Area and walked up the fire road to the second gate at the Porter Family Picnic Area.  We had planned to keep going another mile or so and do the Loma Prieta Grade Loop but since there are no dogs allowed past the second gate we decided to try the Porter Trail which loops back down and meets up with the fire road.  My parents decided to skip the trail hike and return on Aptos Creek Road, because Porter Trail has two unbridged creek crossings and steep grades leading in and out of the creek bed.

Overall it was another fun adventure.  it reinforced for me the importance of a key elements in my own happiness.  First, spending time with friends and family is crucial to my well being, and if we can spend time outdoors it is even better!  Second, the more I learn to "go with the flow" the happier I am.  I have always been a planner and a worrier, wanting to make sure everything is perfect and that everyone has a good time. Well, that need to be perfect has kept me from doing a lot of actual things in life because I was worried that I wouldn't do them right or that people wouldn't like them.  The more I actually host social events, however, the more I realize that no one cares that things aren't perfect.  In fact, it is the unexpected twists that often make events in life (both big and small) much more memorable and enjoyable.

My first trail run, for example, was memorable not because of the run itself but because it was pouring rain the entire time.  I have a vivid memory of my wedding day, with my bridesmaids trying frantically to get my dress straps to stay up perfectly with double-sided tape, only to feel the straps slowly sliding down during the ceremony in a distinctly inelegant (yet endearing) way.  Or how about the first real "recipe" I ever cooked for Jason: chicken in a basil cream sauce.  It was delicious, except that with my limited skills I had selected mint instead of basil at the store...

The list goes on and on.  Perfect is boring.  Life is messy, and it is in the unexpected and unplanned moments that joy can so often be found.

starting out
Aptos Creek Road
unbridged creek crossing... we did not use the log!
headed up the ridge


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