We had a cool morning today -- not just "not hot" but "snuggle under the comforter." After the horrendous summer, I really appreciate it. Now we just need some rain because things are getting pretty dire. Much of the state seems to be on fire.
I spent most of yesterday outdoors, something I haven't been able to do in months. I packed a lunch and a bottle of water and headed out for the park on the hike/bike trails. It turns out they just opened a new leg of the trails, leading from the park by my neighborhood, and this leg runs through some woods alongside the river. This means I can go walking in the woods near running water, and it's walking distance from my home. It's almost as good as when we lived in Germany and our neighborhood was adjacent to a forest full of walking trails. We used to pack lunches in our school backpacks and spend a Saturday just walking. Now that I know this is there, I imagine I'll be spending a lot of time outdoors this fall. I'll have to stock up on Black Forest ham and hard rolls (our staples from those hiking picnics in Germany). Unfortunately, I won't have another free weekend to allow such an outing for about a month. I'm not entirely sure how safe it would be on weekdays. This neighborhood is generally an extremely low crime zone, but it's not entirely smart to be in an isolated area where a person meaning to cause trouble would be the only other person out there. On weekends, it's not crowded at all, but there are enough people around who'd notice something was up or who would be within range of a scream. I don't know how many people would be there on a regular weekday. There is another part of the trail that has some of the better sit-by-the-river spots, and it's a lot more open, running alongside a park that's on a major freeway access road.
The only moderately portable finger-food type fruit I had on hand was cherries, so I'd pitted some cherries and put them in a little refrigerator dish, then held the dish carefully to catch the cherry juice as I ate. It turned out that I hadn't sealed the lid properly, so there was already cherry juice on the side of the container, which meant that holding it to keep juice from dripping off the cherries allowed juice to drip off the container, so I ended up with red blotches on my shirt. I guess it's good that cherry juice dries to a purplish pink instead of looking like blood, or I might have alarmed people I ran into on the trail. Then again, it might have been fun to come out of the woods looking like I was covered in blood, licking my lips and putting a knife away.
The one real downside is that the trailhead park is about a half-hour walk from my house, so I've had a pretty long walk before I even start the trail. Thus, I was out for about three hours yesterday and my hips and knees are not all that happy with me today. It looks like they're building another access point that might be a little closer and more direct. I suppose I could drive to the park and then walk more on the trails and less in my neighborhood, but the park is sort of in a "you can't get there from here" spot due to access roads, freeways and one-way streets. I suppose I just need to pace myself better, take more breaks, not walk quite so forcefully, and only do one part of the trail at a time instead of trying to do it all at once. I think I ended up walking close to 7 miles yesterday.
Once I got home, I sat on the patio and read for a while. The nice thing about the abrupt change in temperatures is that it's not going to go back up again, at least not within the next week. It'll be a little warmer than yesterday and today, but not what it was. It won't be like last month, with the one cool day surrounded by 100-degree days. I'm glad I decided to use yesterday as a real holiday because today I'm somewhat relaxed and energized to get to work in what's going to be a very busy month for me.