Saturday, August 8, 2009

All on a Summer's Day

As a Realtor the work week is 7 days, not 5. I am trying pretty hard right now to make it 5. As tough as it is I am trying to have at least one long walk a weekend. With open houses on Sunday, the chances of a Sunday walk have been narrowed to an hour at best. So I aim for Saturday.
Last week the walk ended up to be 20 miles. The 3 day training schedule says we should walk 15 this Saturday and 10 on Sunday. At 3 miles an hour (you do the math) this is a lot of hours! I suppose this is why people started running in the first place. You certainly go farther in less time. This Saturday, we also were slated to visit with Glenn's Dad (who just found out he will be having a aortic valve replacement on August 31). I had an offer that had come in on a listing and needed to meet with my client who said she couldn't meet until 10am...so you see my walking day was surely dwindling away. My meeting with my client was over and the paperwork delivered by 1pm. Off we went to Hillsborough. In addition to the groceries I was bringing for the dinner, I had a bag with crop pants, a pink activewear top, sports bra, fanny pack G-2, Sharkies and pedometer. (No matter how short... I was going to walk!)
Glenn's Dad lives very near the Crystal Springs Reservoir. I knew there was some sort of trail around the lakes there so I pulled out my Palm and looked it up, Sawyer Camp Trail was noted as being 6.2 miles long and well traveled as the most popular San Mateo County trail. I had my destination! After we arrived - and I said hello, put down the groceries and the ice cream in the freezer, and ran off to change. Out the door and on the road to the trail at 2:20.
From the Chateau area of Hillsborough, I headed under the freeway to Skyline Road, and saw a BIG sign pointing toward the trail. Bikes occasionally went whizzing me as I travelled along this frontage road. Here and there views of the lake would appear over the classic California landscape. I kept thinking as I walked along (without my pedometer which I neglected to strap on) "where is this ******** trail?!" But then I turned down one bend in the road to see dozens of cars parked along the road, families pulling bikes off the back of their cars strapping on kids helmets, and others getting out of the cars grabbing their water bottles. At least I am heading the right direction.
The trail started at the junction of Crystal Springs Road and Skyline. The trail begins by passinging through the rock entry where the rules are strictly laid out.... 15 miles an hour (radar enforced) directed at all bikes for those downhill sections, KEEP RIGHT for walkers and joggers who will be passed by along the road. The trail is asphalt with lines and arrows directing the way. It has mile markers along the way, rest rooms, and yes...lots of people.
They say this is a historic trail.
The name of the existing trail, Sawyer Camp Trail, was derived from the once nearby camp of Leander Sawyer. It isn't really known from whom Leander Sawyer bought the land, but he became active in this area soon after the land was sold in 1853. He probably lived in a small adobe built near a natural spring in the hill, just southwest of the Laurel. This was remembered by some very old timers of the area. No trace of it remains today. The Sawyer Camp Trail was Sawyer's access to his camp (south of the Laurel tree) where old timers say he kept an inn to dispense food to picnickers and to serve as a lodging place for horsemen
traveling through the area. Later, the trail was used by the stagecoach from
Millbrae, which connected with the San Mateo Stageline to Half Moon Bay (Spanish Town). During the 1850's, and '60's, Sawyer grazed cattle in the area to keep down the brush and make a better area for incoming wagons. Sawyer Camp Trail, later called San Andreas Valley Road, or just Valley Road, was once the main highway between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. Wagons pulled by teams of horses hauled wood over the road. Much of the old road was flooded by the Crystal Springs Reservoir by 1888. There, in the late 1800s performing circus horses were trained. The trail/road served as a notable travel route on the San Francisco Peninsula for a number of decades. When the City of San Francisco took over the surrounding watershed lands as a part of their Hetch Hetchy water system, the narrow road was kept open as a public roadway. The roadway was fenced in to protect the watershed, which supplies drinking water to San Francisco and many peninsula communities. In 1978, San Mateo County closed the road to motorized vehicles; but kept it open as a linear park non-motorized recreational use.
You travel a route that is caressed by Laurel Trees and views of pristine and sparkling lakes. For a wildlife refuge, I have to say I didn't hear very many birds and I saw no wildlife. I heard an occasional rustle in the bush along the road, but saw no snakes or lizards. The aroma of the trail sent my mind back to the days of exploring the creek near our home in Los Altos. To me it was the smell of summer and freedom and relaxed joy.
The day was pretty darn hot, and I was covered with a salty sweat in mere mintues. I tried to wipe it from my brow so none would end up in my eyes (it stings so much!) A few drops slipped in anyway, and I was left blinking as I continued along. I was glad to have two bottles of liquid to replenish.. I downed them both before I finished.
Not long into the walk I realized this was 6.2 miles in a straight line, not a loop. I called Glenn's Dad's house to alert them I would need a ride back when I hit the other side. Glenn's Dad asked..."Can't you turn around?!" I told him I would rather press on since the trail was really beautiful. Glenn's Dad had never been on this popular trail in all the years he has lived so close to it. How common is this that we lives at the edge of a treasure but never open the box to see what is inside.
The trail had many cracks in it since it does lie directly on the San Andreas Fault, in fact the lake at the end of the trail was the San Andreas Lake. At mile 4.75 you cross the dam to the other side along the edge of this lake.
When I got to the end, I gave another holler to Glenn, who came to pick me up. I figure (even though it felt much further in the heat) I walked about 8 miles.
Back at his Dad's house we BBQed and socialized. Some how the biggest elephant in the room wasn't discussed too much, open heart surgery. Glenn's Dad is obviously worried about this and who wouldn't be. He did have a brochure about the procedure that he gave to us to review. Whoever put this together is not a marketing genius. The brochure was developed by the Doctors who do this procedure and it is meant to brag about how much better their results are than the average. The charts any person thinking of this procedure are going to turn to are mortality rates. Glenn's Dad is 86, his odds are therefore not as good as others, but the way they presented this was, the average mortality rate is 9% but our is 4.2%! Why didn't they put this the other way around? Our survival rate is 95.8%! When you are looking at a chart and the only thing you see is mortality, that is the only thing you think about. I think it would serve everyone better to be thinking about survival!
When I was diagnosed with Cancer I looked up the survival rates... 95% with the same type of caner I had at my age would survive. I never thought about the 5%, I focused on the 95% That was where I KNEW I belonged.
Now it is Sunday morning and I have another day ahead of me. A 10 mile walk today is just not in the cards. I have a client meeting in the am, Open house from 1-4, but maybe we still can sneak in a little stroll in the evening, as the air chills and the sky turns to pink. We'll see...in the meantime look around you and ask, what little treasure have I yet to discover that is just out my front door. You will be glad you did.