It was the Monday before Black Friday. In honor of the “#OptOutside” movement initiated by REI, I decided to get outside and explore somewhere new. I thought I should set the tone for the week. I took a chance on an unknown trail and discovered a new favorite Bay Area hike, Mindego Hill trail at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. Opting to spend the day outside proved to be time well spent, as always.
Lesson #1 from the trail: There is inspiration to be found in exploring the unknown.
I was initially hesitant to explore a new trail with no guidance, especially with a wildcard baby. My go-to hiking book and local website did not have any trips listed from this trailhead. My fearful side tried to talk me out of it but my adventurous side said go forth, mama! This is what you came here for.
Hiking at Russian Ridge: exploring the unknown, getting inspired and rewarded by adventurousness.
We get going on the Mindego Hill trail and it drops about 200 feet within the first ½ mile. Uncertainty and pessimism creep back, “I’m going to hate this on the way back, maybe we should turn around. It probably won’t even be worth it.” Optimism says, “Look, there’s a trail that leads back to the parking lot ½ a mile in. We can take that back if it’s not looking exciting.” So, we hike on, thanks to my optimistic adventurous side.
Quickly enough the views of rolling green hills, tree covered mountains and the ocean below emerge and I am encouraged to go on. The weather was cool and crisp with puffy dramatic clouds in the sky and just enough sunshine to keep us warm. A previous day’s rain made the landscape come alive. There was not another hiker in sight and I started to feel the eeriness of being out there all alone. I brushed that fear away as quickly as it crept up, no need for that fear around here!
Eventually we made our way through the cattle gate and onto the single track trail up to the top of the hill. Climbing steadily up the green grassy hill, we encountered some friendly cows grazing that cleared the way to let us pass.
The Mindego Hill summit at Russian Ridge was a tranquil, idyllic place to stop and enjoy the view. The puffy clouds in the sky, the blue ocean below, the varying shades of green on the mountains, the wind blowing against our cheeks. I was so happy we decided to take a chance on this new trail. I didn’t let fear of the unknown stop us from exploring. Instead I am left with inspiration to explore more of the unknown both on trail and off. Thanks, nature.
I plan to spend this Black Friday hiking with my family, sharing this inspiration with the people I love. If you are tempted to venture out into the madness of Black Friday just remind yourself that the best things in life are free.
View from the summit
Will You Go Out With Me?
View from parking lot
View from Audrey C. Rust Commemorative Site
Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve – Mindego Hill / Alpine Rd Parking Lot
Mindego Hill Trail to Summit
Total distance: ~5 miles, out and back.