Friday, April 23, 2010

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud - Hike and Sketch at Sunol

Flag Hill, Sunol

Ever hiked in a pair of mud overshoes?! It was a little sticky underfoot today up at Sunol after all the rain we got yesterday. We started our short hike on the Hayfield Road trail. This was NOT a road by any stretch of the imagination today. We slipped, slid and squelched up the hill through the ooze. Every few yards stopping to scrape the mud off our feet, and a couple of inches off our height! I have to say though that the vistas were well worth it. After a short slog up Hayfield we were stopped dead by the staggering view of Flag hill. Its green undulations crowned by rocks and pierced by stony ribs just begged to be painted.Further up still we came across a small herd of cattle. They lay about on the crest of a hill like so many cud chewing rocks. Blue hills in the distance created a perfect backcloth of pastoral serenity. The cows eyed us with disdain as we all set up our painting gear opposite them. Throughout our day the skies were alternately blue and cloudy, making for interesting color combos in our paintings.Our original plan was to go to the top of Hayfield than via Cave to Eagle View Road, but time spent grappling with the mud put us behind and instead we cut across on a narrow trail to Indian Joe Creek trail. This narrow trail proved even worse for mud than Hayfield, having been well churned up by the cows. Little pockets of slick mud and cow manure had to be dodged without falling down the sheer drop! Our arrival at the babbling brook of Joe Creek was greeted with relief and celebrated with lunch and more sketching. We saw the promise of a drier trail to return on.The dry trail was drier in some ways, but we did have to cross, and recross, the stream numerous times. Our last stop was to try and and capture the running water of the stream with fallen trees in it. I ran out of time on my painting and will have to finish from memory. All in all a wonderful day out in a beautiful landscape.

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