Mt. Diablo

This weekend I had high hopes of catching a glimpse of the Orionid Meteor Shower at Mt. Diablo. I imagined streaks of light flying through the night sky, maybe even flashes of red or blue. At least, that’s what Vicky led me and D– to believe would happen. We set off late Saturday afternoon and made it just in time to catch the sun gently set behind the rolling hills. The tall blades of dried yellow grass waved in the breeze around us. From another peak, we could see thick fog roll in from the bay in the horizon, filling the valleys and troughs until all you could see were the dark peaks of hilltops that managed to stay above the haze. They looked like floating mountains on a sea of white.

We set up camp and hunkered down next to the fire pit, waiting for the spectacular stargazing experience. Meanwhile, we distracted ourselves with Phase 10 and s’mores-making. I’ve learned that when you’ve spent 10 minutes patiently toasting your marshmallow to perfect gooeyness, it’s a damn near tragedy when it falls off the end of your stick before you could catch it between your graham crackers.

Midnight rolled around, and somehow Vicky roped me into climbing the hill beside our campsite to see if we could see Orion on the other side. Between the three of us, we had one headlamp, one rapidly dying flashlight, and one iphone. The lack of light wouldn’t have been so bad if the slope wasn’t so steep. And frankly, I am terrified of climbing down steep downward grades–memories of bad biking accidents relived. To my relief, the path plateaued nicely and we were rewarded with the most beautiful night view of the bay area.

Did you know that the moon can set too? It was a crescent of soft red light, hovering low above the horizon. Beneath us, the city lights flickered soundlessly, ceaselessly. Just like the multitude of stars above us. We laid down on the path and watched the sky, mesmerized by the thousands of celestial bodies turning and traveling through space. Burning bright in the eons before and the eons to come. When you look up into the stars, you see eternity marching onward even as we are caught up in our light and momentary troubles.

Unfortunately, I only saw one shooting star that night. We thought we could sleep until the hour before dawn for better visibility. But the next morning saw a cloud-filled sky and gone were our hopes. Still, everything else more than made up for it.

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Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa

After spending one very cold night on Mt. Diablo, we drove to Napa to enjoy wine and warm sunshine. We went to Frog’s Leap, an organic winery that also has cheerful vegetable patches and thriving flower gardens. I think I enjoyed admiring their grounds more than the actual wine itself, which was also delicious.

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They had cornhole set up on the lawn for guests to play. It’s harder than it looks, especially when your’re motor functions are enhanced by wine.

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We also made a short visit to Mumm Napa for some champagne. I didn’t quite enjoy that place as much as Frog’s Leap. I will definitely have to go back next time I’m in Napa.

Most Adorable Kitten in the World

Also, on our way to Mt. Diablo, we stopped by a free cat adoption at a pet store. That is where I found the most adorable kitten in the world. Seriously, I don’t think I’m a cat person. But I was quite taken by this little charmer’s bright blue eyes. They really stand out against her/his snowy white fur. Ah, kitten! If only my landlord allowed pets, all the memories we could have had!