About a month ago, I decided it was time for another solo hike. I’d really like to get myself ready to do a solo overnight this summer. I figured this was a good start. So it couldn’t just be any solo hike. It was also going to be a solo night hike. Because…challenges!
I’ve hiked the Blue Ridge/Homestead trail near Putah Creek several times, including by myself. It’s a great hike that goes a little over 5 miles and a little over 1500 ft elevation gain. The views are amazing from the top–east into the Sacramento valley and west looking out over Lake Berryessa into the Napa Valley. Every time I’ve been up there I think that it would be an amazing spot to watch the sunrise.
I got up Monday morning at my usual time (3 a.m. I know, I know–baker’s life!). On the road by 4 a.m. It’s about an hour drive with one quick stop to blow up the gas station bathroom (I was drinking coffee!) and then buy Skittles because I felt guilty. Also, I wanted Skittles.
I was at the trailhead right at 5 a.m. A couple deep breathes and a last check of my pack and trekking poles and I was ready to go. This was when I realized that my heart was pounding. I had been so focused on getting there that I hadn’t stopped to consider being frightened. There is about a 50 yard road walk from the parking area to the trailhead. This was the scariest part. I didn’t want to be seen by anyone. Either good samaritan or asshole–I figure that a woman walking alone in the middle of nowhere at 5 a.m. will get the attention of pretty much anyone. Every time I heard a car coming, I clicked off my headlamp and faded into the bushes by the road. It took about 10 minutes to reach the trail. Once I was on the trail I had to stop and breathe for a minute; my heart was pounding and I had already broken a sweat.
Once I started hiking it was good. I’m glad I had my poles, they helped a lot hauling ass up the ridge. As I climbed higher, each switch-back revealed more and more light beginning to creep into the sky. I didn’t stopped at all; I was so determined to be on the top of the ridge at sunrise