Sarah-Hope is up in Napa helping her folks prepare for Christmas, so I decided to take a bit of a road trip on my solo Sunday. Which also happens to be the shortest day of the year – so it needs to be spent outdoors. Next stop: San Juan Bautista!
We were thrilled when we realized San Juan is closer to us than is Santa Cruz. I love love love the rolling California hills, with their textures and shapes and lonely oaks silhouetted against the sky. And San Juan is set in the middle of some of the prettiest rolling hills you’ll see.
First stop, a short hike on a bit of the De Anza trail. I only walked up to the first fence, having forgotten my water bottle and wanting to get back home to do some art. But it was a lovely climb, steep enough to feel it, not so steep that you think you’re going to die.
First, a field with cows. Well, on the other side of the trail there was a field. These two cows thought the trees offered better snacking.
This tree practically glowed, and the spiral cow paths surrounding it gave it a cosmic feel.
Looking behind me at the path I’ve climbed, with a view out over San Juan Bautista and the surrounding hills. As someone who grew up on the East Coast, it’s still odd to have bright green hills in the midst of winter, and dry brown hills in the summer.
I reached a point where I could look out over the other side of the ridge, towards Hollister. At first I could only hear the breeze and the birds, but I soon realized there must be a rifle range on this side, and the rest of my walk was accompanied by the sounds of multiple shots ringing out. (Way too many for hunters, and including what must have been a semi-automatic gun. Ick.)
Some laurel berries along the way.
Some scenic views.
As I mentioned, I only hiked a portion of the trail; I will definitely be back to complete it! I hear there’s some interesting geological features, and even better views.
I followed my walk with brunch in San Juan Bautista, where I found a small Basque restaurant that serves Spanish-style tortillas with potatoes, followed by the lightest, tastiest flan ever. So good!