Well, I did get in 3.5 miles this morning, carrying about 20 pounds in the ol’ daypack. Should’ve been a fairly uneventful hour and 15 minutes with maybe 800 feet of elevation gain — trails all dry & groomed, warming morning sunshine, gorgeous blue skies, a clear view all the way to San Francisco to the north and San Jose to the south.

Only one wrinkle: November winds blowing like you would not believe. 20-30 mph sustained, gusts in the 50s. Wooded stream crossings have all these falling branches and a few fallen trees. I’m passing through thinking, “if a big enough branch falls on me, I’m gonna be up here awhile.” But the wind’s been blasting like this all night, so I calculate that all the trees that are gonna fall have already fallen by now.

Then I come down a hill and find about a dozen cows and their calves hiding in a valley out of the wind. I’m not afraid of cows on the trail — think of where the word coward comes from — but the wind’s roaring like mad and they’re looking just a bit more skittish than usual and I can’t help thinking of what might happen if they get spooked.

I get past the cows without causing a stampede; then there’s about 50 wild turkeys hiding in another stand of trees about a hundred yards down the trail. Some of them are shouting warnings in that high-pitched gobble call, and others flee. Turkeys are completely harmless but the shrieks are unnerving.

Then I’m walking along an stretch of trail that has a powerline running right above it. The wind really howls through the wires, which has me thinking: if one of those things rips loose and hits me, I’m gonna be a french fry. So I reroute, bushwacking over a small hill to avoid the wires.

All this time the wind’s been pounding me when I’m walking into it, and shoving me more than I care to be shoved when it’s behind.

Can’t remember the last time it felt so good to get back to the parking lot and enjoy the silence of a driver’s seat with the windows rolled up.

One thing’s for sure, if I wasn’t woke up when I started, I sure was when I got done.