Waking up at 3am on a Saturday sounds like a cruel punishment, but it was worth it. Without a doubt. By 3:15am, Brad had scooped me up in his truck and we were on our way to Cache Creek (the actual creek, not the casino) to catch the sunrise in Lynch Canyon.

He strapped on his headlamp, I zipped up my hoodie, and we stepped out into the crisp air, kicking up dust as we trudged along in the dark. It was disorienting; I knew there were hills and trees and beautiful things to see all around me, but for the first 20 minutes of our hike I just followed Brad’s bobbing headlamp and tried not to trip over rocks and weeds. Then the sun started making its slow ascent, as did the heat.

About two miles away from the trailhead, we found a pond surrounded by rolling hills that seemed like a perfect place to wait for the first rays of sunshine. And we did, and it was. Call me a pessimist, but I’ve never been too impressed by sunrises. But this was superb. Watching the sun burst over the hills and soak the plains in light was mesmerizing. The entire experience was otherworldly; the light instantly brought with it a wave of soft heat that was inviting and intoxicating . Have you ever sunbathed in a field at 7am? I highly recommend it.

We lounged for a while, and realized we should move forward with the rest of our hike before the sun claimed us. About 4.5 miles into our hike, we reached our turnaround point and we rested underneath an ant infested tree to take a break. As I rested against the tree and flicked ants off my legs, Brad pointed out a plastic box nested in the branches above my head. It was a geocache! I felt like we’d just stumbled upon buried treasure.

Our geocache didn’t boast the most exciting contents in the world - a bottle cap, a Floridian keychain, a packet of cherry Kool-Aid, geocache instructions, and a little notebook. The notebook was clearly the ruby in the treasure chest, and it was fun reading the names and one-line anecdotes written by previous seekers. We left our marks in the notebook, sealed up the box, and returned it to its hiding place.

We hiked back to the trailhead, poured our tired, sunburnt bodies into Brad’s truck, and started the trip back to Oakland.

I want to remember this day forever.

Lynch Canyon Trailhead. Brooks, CA - July, 2012


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