April 15, 2006 Saturday Day 14

Grey most of the day, heavy rain and wind in evening
Temperatures too cold.
Walked 3.5 miles,
Drove 0 miles

It was raining when we woke up and rained on and off all day. But, I guess all the rain makes this a historically accurate adventure. According to 1868 weather records, rain fell on Muir from the 5-15 of April, so I guess our weather is much like Muir's. In fact, I think that if Muir were us he would be holing up in his VW van waiting for a break in the weather. But he was not us, and his times were not our times. He would probably be sitting out the storm at the 12, 15 or 21 mile houses along the Monterey Road, or at the house of some farmer in old Gilroy. At that time, it was the custom for people to invite travelers to spend the night; they were sources of information and entertainment.

The inclement weather would also explain why Muir took seven weeks to go the 300 miles. After walking this last week we are quite sure he would have waited out the storms. It is uncomfortable to walk, and remember, all Muir says he carried with him was a plant press, a new testament, a copy of Burns Poems and a change of underwear, tucked in an India rubber bag. His clothes would have been soaking. Besides dirt roads turn to mud in the rain. He might have stepped out listen to the trees whisper the song of the storm or to hear the raging river cry its war song, but he would have waited, I am sure of it.

Today we gave a talk at the Henry Coe State Park Visitors Center at 2 pm. Since it was so rainy, there weren't many people, but family and friends from Santa Cruz arrived to make a good crowd. With the park volunteers attending to, it turned into quite a festive occasion. All had good fun as we rolled out our twenty-foot long map of Alameda and Santa Clara counties and described our route and showed them a slide show of our ramble so far.

The rain let up and so we all took a short but steep hike to Frog Lake, and on the way admired the profusion of shooting stars and hounds tongue that were in bloom. As George and Donna studied the proposed route, George told us "You guys are so lucky. This is going to be the trip of your life. It's going to be loud out there, so loud. You're going to hear the sounds of the flowers blooming and the grass growing." "What does that sound like?" "You'll know when you hear it."

That evening we had a send off party that was really dampened by the wind and rain. Margie made a classic 1868 gourmet traveler's meal: pork, and Ron presented us with a 2006 Muir Trip memorial wooden spoon he had carved (this will surely have to end up in the Holt-Atherton collection). Tony and Sue wanted to be there but bowed out because of the weather and sent us a strawberry rhubarb pie (Muir's favorite?) to remember them by. We set up a tarp as a windbreak but the wind crept around and it was freezing. Tanya and Boyd lit a fire, but it was no competition against the elements, and we had to rely on alcohol and good camaraderie to keep us warm (Muir would not have approved).