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Copyright © 2000-2002 by Michael Wimble, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday, April 7, 2002

Bear Meadow Loop

After last week's hard hike, we decided on an easy hike. Just like last week, we planned on picking up two new hikers -- Jana and Marta.

We began at 11 am so that we would end up at the Picchetti Winery when it opened at noon. Well, that was the plan. Two hikers canceled late, and two other who said they were coming never phoned, so we assumed they weren't joining us. Then one thing after another came up that delayed our start.

Of course, Zona, Ron, and Marta were supposed to meet us at the trail head a bit after 11. So, Kathy and her mom went on ahead. They would tell Zona and the rest that we were going to be a bit late, and Kathy's mom was going to sit on a picnic table for us for the duration of the hike.

We ended up starting close to noon. There were 12 of us, with actually 3 new hikers -- one showed up with no notice at all. And what a day for a hike. The weather was perfect. Streams were flowing. Flowers were in full display. The orchards were in bloom. The valley was clear when we looked down from the Vista point.

I kept offering the hikers various trail choices, usually a shorter easier path or a longer harder path. Every time, everyone kept pointing to the harder option. It was worth it, though. The harder paths always let to the better views and the better fields of flowers.

When we finally arrived the winery, one of the peacocks was in full display. We could hear four or more others making their cat calls nearby.

Most of us went inside for a wine tasting session. Kathy and I bought a bottle for the picnic, along with some olive oil for the bread and some dip for chips. We also had to buy a cork puller as well.

While a few continued to sample the wine, several of us went outside the winery to the grounds to look at the peacocks. Several were up in the trees (see the picture gallery). Kathy had to take off with Jana and Marta so they could get back early. The rest of us listened to the first song of the 3-piece jazz band that had set up.

Then we made the gradual climb back to the duck pond and then it was mostly downhill all the way back along the Zinfandel trail. We met another group along the way that included a few people that knew people in our group. We missed the final turnoff and had to backtrack a bit. After trekking through a section of trail that was heavily overgrown with poison oak, several of the hikers followed the stream back as a shortcut, having to make a crossing at the end. The rest of us went on to the picnic area.

Everyone brought extra food with them, so we all got to try some different things. We drank the wine, talked, joked, and played a quick game of Taboo at the end. We're going to have to plan on more picnics at the end of our hikes.

For the gallery of pictures from the hike, click HERE.