I’d do all my hikes at Mission Peak if the weather’d cooperate like it did on Saturday.

Cloudy skies, light rain, prodigious mud and gale-force winds might not sound like cooperative conditions, but when you’ve done this hike several dozen times, any change feels like an improvement.

It’s worth noting that this is the first adverse-weather hike I’ve done since, like, April or so.

I didn’t bother going all the way to the top this time; I was more determined to just amble along and see what kind of photogenic scenes presented themselves. Fortune did smile upon my shutter release a couple times.

Clouds swirl at Mission Peak

A storm front’s been passing through since Friday, but my timing was pretty good: I got sprinkled on a bit but never got soaked. This bench is about a mile up the trail, looking west over Silicon Valley. With clouds like this it’s almost a crime to call yourself a photographer when the camera and the weather do all the work.

Branch office

I made a point of looking for stuff I hadn’t shot before, like this old branch with stuff growing all over it.

Excellent valley cloud cover

Another example of excellent cloud cover.

A spring

One of the many springs at Mission Peak.

Greening of the rocks

I tiptoed across a minefield of cow crap to check out this rock formation, which has nifty coloration in some places.

Mud galore

So this mud was only next to the trail, not right in the middle of it. But there were many times when I had a pound of gooey muck stuck to bottom of each shoe.

Bossy says

A cow and her baby send along holiday greetings.

Blue sky at last

I was almost done hiking when I noticed unexpected patches of blue showing up.

I’m sure I’ll be cursing the mud and storms soon enough, but it’s nice to confront some nature-imposed hardship after six months of sunshine. You don’t want Mother Nature acting like one of those moms who wants to be her kids’ best friends. You want her to have her moods, to enforce discipline, to keep you on your toes. Well, for the first few rainy hikes, anyway.