I nearly called this “Hike and Subscribe” but I’ll save that gem for a future post. These are my new Merrell hiking boots, I got them from REI. They are super comfortable, it’s like I have this massive protective cushion around my feet. I’ve had hiking boots before, I used to like wearing them years ago in England as regular shoes, but these were very much bought for the purpose of hiking. We planned a trip to Utah last year to go hiking around several National Parks that my son had done a project on for school, most looking forward to Arches. Then the Pandemic hit (I don’t know if you heard about that) and we had to cancel the trip, but we decided to book it again for Spring Break 2021, with me and my wife part-vaccinated and going by car instead of flying. So, we needed new gear. They went through a lot of different hiking boots and hiking shoes before they found ones they were kinda happy with; I pretty much bought the first pair I tried on. I don’t like trying on lots of shoes. These worked out really well. We went on a shortish hike to test out our new equipment, as well as our new backpacks (my wife got one of those hydration packs in hers; after our test hike I decided I should get one too, reaching back for the water bottle being a waste of energy). We went to Stebbins Cold Canyon, near Lake Berryessa (not that far from Davis, it’s a preserve actually managed by UC Davis, but we had never been there), walked along the easier hike, and I did a quick sketch, because I wanted to practice doing quick watercolour sketches for the Utah trip. It was pretty rapid, though I said to my family that I plan on doing quick sketches of 10-15 mins so that they can rest for a bit from the hiking, a good plan. So below is a quick sketch of the canyon; I’d like to do the higher trail next, overlooking the lake. It’s so strange to me that this is actually very close to Davis, but we’d never really been out here, except for a couple of drives up to Berryessa (to see the excellently-named ‘Glory Hole’). The Davis landscape is so flat that to be suddenly walking in all these dramatic hills is an eye-opener. In fact the preserve had only reopened a few weeks before, having closed during the terrible fires of last summer. Much of this area was severely damaged by the wildfires, and we could see the evidence of it all around. Such devastating loss of habitat, so many burnt trees and plants, but it’s encouraging to see that life returns; life finds a way. So, now we are officially Hikers, and I’ll post soon about our epic trip to Utah.