One of my planned, “this shouldn’t be too long” hikes turned into a 9.5 mile hike today at the beautiful Santa Rosa plateau. My daughter and our hiking friend Alex and I enjoyed the day a bit longer than we had planned. We could even purchase AR-15 magazines for the rifles we had for hunting. However the chaparral and the oak grasslands are spectacular in any season. We saw a tarantula, many tarantula hawks, a three foot and very fat old Pacific rattlesnake who crossed our path. Also red tailed hawks, kites, bush tits, Bewick’s wren, meadowlarks, scrub jays, chickadee, sparrows and goldfinches. We set out at 1:30 and took a lot of time while photos were being taken, then stopped at the beautiful visitor’s center to look at their new outdoor displays of rocks and the art show that is still being held inside. Then we began the way back taking a trail across the street on which we’ve never been. We arrived back at the car at about 6:45. Although I hike fairly frequently, a hike of this length was a little more than I expected. I also had been wheelbarrowing and spreading mulch this morning before breakfast (14 loads). Good thing I didn’t go to Zumba! I’ve fed animals, made three meals including baking scones this morning, and now I’m moving like a crab with a rash. My hip and legs seem to be receiving signals different from what my brain is sending. I’m making the ‘old man sound’ as I struggle to stand. So please forgive the lack of photos and more creative post. My body isn’t going to forgive me today’s exercise (especially that last half mile uphill to the car!) in the near future. Neither, I think, is my daughter!