The search for golden poppies began at the foot of Grass Mountain, just outside of the small town of Los Olivos, California. My family and I set out on foot, crossing creeks and passing beautiful wildflowers. While we did stop to admire and smell the inviting Lupins, we had but one thought on our minds: Poppies. We could see the orange swaths across the mountainside above us, and that only drove us onward ever furthe r and faster. As time wound on, the trail began to become steep and slippery. Loose stones and dust only rose the stakes as one after the other, we all took a tumble. But the Cole family pressed on, unhindered by scraped knees or eyes temporarily blinded by dust. We managed to break through the cool shade of the trees, and were met with eternal fields of grass and shrubbery, broken only by the occasional yucca, ready to spear unsuspecting hikers. Heat beat down upon our backs and necks. We were forced to stop several times, and pass about a water bottle to quench our thirst. But on we kept, and soon, the peak was within our grasp. It took only a few minutes to ascend the last few yards of path, find a patch of poppies to lay our blanket next to, and enjoy the view. I managed to snap a few pictures of the poppies, and nearly fell trying to find my footing on the near vertical slope. As quickly as we arrived, we soon left, packing up our things into my backpack and leaving the Poppies for another day. On the descent, I tried to slide down the mountain, through the fields of grass, to little avail. I soon decided that walking and attempting to slide was not quite at a speed on par with my energy, and took off running down the mountainside, nearly falling at every turn or twist in the trail. With the trailhead in view, we hiked on, all the way to the car, and drove home, excited for the next time.
Right at the start of the long President’s Day weekend, I had an adventure. My friend Curran and I wandered just beyond the borders of Oakleigh to a sizable creek that was rushing and full of rainwater. This was at 1:30 in the morning. We decided after a while that the water was flowing too fast, and there was nowhere for the frogs to swim (There weren’t any frogs). Curran brought up the idea of building up a large dam to slow the water down and make a big pool. So we got out our phones, turned on the flashlights, and got to work. Right as we stepped in, the water sent a shock through me, as it was damn well near freezing. Nevertheless, we began rolling out large stones and stacking them in more or less a straight line. Some of the stones were slowly moved down stream, while others were violently rushed out of place as soon as we put them down. We did this all with one hand holding our phones, and decided that this was not going to work. We abandoned our construction site and ran down to my house, where we picked up some essential tools: half a bag of Parmesan Goldfish, as well as some some headlamps. Curran and I arrived back at our dam and began patching the holes between larger stones with smaller rocks and at times sand or dirt. When we felt we had done a stellar job, we took a step back and admired our handiwork. It seemed like we had succeeded in making something resembling a shallow pool, but the current was barely slowed and water poured from the numerous gaps in our wall. After numerous engineering attempts to patch up our holes and even redirect the flow of the creek to better suit our needs, we wandered off with smiles thoughts of all the frogs that would swim in our stream.
The rest of the weekend I spent lazily stretching across my big purple couch or outside in the rain floating bottle cps down the many rivers created by the rain. I began thinking about the dam, and how well it had survived the downpour that day. I decided i needed to see it for myself, and walked up to the creek. Lo and behold, I could not see anything familiar. Nothing even resembling a wall. The water rushed, and my heart was crushed. While I was up there I did explore up and down the creek, and managed to find several mini waterfalls and the ruins of an old bridge from the early 1900’s, so it wasn’t all bad. I plan to go up after the next rain and see what I can do to rebuild and redesign.
Above is the foundation of the old bridge I found. Feel free to comment and ask about my rainy adventures! Have a great day.