“You belong among the wildflowers…you belong somewhere you feel free”
With the fall season upon us, life has slowed down a bit. I am not training for any specific race and there is no pressure to do certain workouts, which means I can spend more time on the trails. I was chatting with a friend the other day, expressing my absolute love of the trails surrounding our little town. You know, I’ve probably only tasted wine from a handful of wineries but I’ve traveled hundreds of miles, at this point, on the trails in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park (RLS), Oat Hill Mine, and the RLS ‘backcountry’.
However before last week, I had yet to make the trip to Table Rock. Now I’ve done it twice in a two week timespan. The first was pre-dawn with a friend from St. Helena. We set out at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday no less and hiked from the top down to Calistoga. Even with the limited views shrouded in pre-dawn darkness I could tell it was a special place. The second was just last week after work. The views from Table Rock as the sunset threatened and then lingered were absolutely spectacular. As I dangled my legs over the side, my not so brave hiking companion beckoned me to scoot back. I, of course, did not. Luckily I packed a headlamp, as once that sun went down it got dark real fast.
If you haven’t done Table Rock, add it to your list immediately. The trail is clearly marked and is a challenging 4 miles round trip from the trail head on Highway 29. I did the hike in trail running shoes, but hiking boots would be appropriate as well since some of the terrain is rocky and uneven. Table Rock and that side of RLS is special because it’s like you’ve been transported to another place entirely. There is hardly another soul out there and its terrain is quite wild.
Living in the Napa Valley, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything that’s going on, on the valley floor and the quaint towns amongst the vineyards. But, don’t forget there is a completely untamed and spectacular almost wilderness literally right above our heads. It’s the perfect place to escape life in the valley, to get some very good exercise, and to feel completely free. After all, Robert Louis Stevenson spent his honeymoon atop Mt. St. Helena, that’s got to tell you something.