Sunday in Stelzer Park

Caleb wakes me with kisses and everything is right with the world, at least in mine for the moment. It’s these tiny gestures that will stick in our memories and remind us of just how much we love each other and that we share the joy of spending time together.

We leave a bit later than planned but as the trail isn’t far from the house nor an all day excursion, we’re not in a hurry either. We wait for the ranger to return so that our fee can go in an envelope in the door and proof of payment on our dash.

The entrance has a pond in the shade with chairs that remind me of happy memories of my preadolescence when I would sit between the trees by the little waterfall that our pond had and escape reality with a book in my hands and a dog or two nearby.

There is also a playground and picnic tables but as we’ve already eaten and haven’t come for the swings we continue along the clearly marked trail. There is a loop and two peaks to be completed, which should total about 3.4 miles and at least 620 feet of elevation gain.

This route will cover the Wooten Loop Observation Deck — easy to access and a place to sit, the Kumeyaay Promontory — wider views with lots of power lines, and the Stelzer Summit — that is more fun to climb than it is to baby step it down sideways.

All this activity works up a sweat on this 86 degree day with 64% humidity. It’s not until we’re in the middle of the steep trail that we think to activate the hike tracking on our new Garmin Descent Mk2i dive computer watches that auto tracks steps and logs more data about other activities too.

The afternoon will be spent washing our salty bodies, refueling our hungry stomachs, and packing gear for a hiking excursion next weekend to try some new things — tent, camping spot, and a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.

I’ll read from A Perfect Red by Amy Greenfield while we do our laundry and then join Ryan and Fallon with their friend’s recently 21-year old son, Jared, for dinner at Mike Hess where Caleb buys the kid a beer because we all remember being there — young and on top of the world that is.

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