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Hiking Napa's Vaca mountain

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

F1EBCDF8CA21012B1500E8DEE6B91FE2.jpg Only a stunning 45 minute ride from Travis AFB where you will cross from Sonoma into Napa county. A massive dam constructed by Monticello divides the counties and keeps Lake Berryessa from draining too quickly. A huge drain hole was constructed to allow better flow, should the lake rise too high. Well, after California's seven year drought, the rainfall from December until now filled up all reservoirs and the spillways are overflowing. It's been years since this phenomenon occurred and we had to see the Glory hole with our own eyes. F1EB2D5505911B2E11B67AE430B46C4E.jpg Yes, we got lucky. A steady downpour of water gushes several feet down the hole, which some call " hell" with tremendous power. People travel from all over to catch a glimpse and snap a photo through metal fencing.
F1E79B3BC1B2E94C1BC255DE3B7DB8EF.jpg Not too far from the Glory Hole is a fantastic hiking trail. I did not see a sign visible from the road indicating a hiking trail, but the flow of hikers emerging from an opening of a wood line made it clear. We parked amongst a cluster of vehicles, filled up our camel bags and rucks with snacks, locked the truck and followed the crowd. First off, you have to cross the creek to get on the trail. Usually the creek is dry extremely low, but since the rain we had to pay closer attention. No big deal, really. 20190407_132404.jpg We decided to follow the Blue Ridge Trail, approximately 2.75 mile hike with an incline of about 1800 feet. Some areas of the trail were steep, but easy to manage going up, no rocks or boulders to climb. A good hour later we reached the top, amazed by the absolute stunning views onto Lake Berryessa. F1E9F6879309F1E6FA78A202FECC6917.jpg F1E965CFE352D86C5D7FD608538D9BE3.jpg We found a nice area with flat boulders to sit on, unpacked our snacks and took a well deserved break. Once we rested enough we had to make a decision to either go left, the same way we just came up on or to turn right and see where it will lead. We decided on the latter and followed the ridge line on top of the mountain range. F1E8DBB8B200E0981D269D05F58E875E.jpg F1E83E2C04C688BD094FDCFECE4F92D6.jpg We still had amazing views onto the lake for another half of a mile until the terrain became rockier and more strenuous. We were literally wedged in between boulders or scooting past steep drop offs at times..I am terrified of heights and faced one of my greatest fears, ultimately causing my right foot to cramp as I maneuvered my way along the peak. I knew that my fear and my lack of water caused my body to seize up and I had to focus on making it back down safely. Just thinking about that situation has be breaking out in sweat. IMG_20190408_090542_682.jpg
I happen to wear the right tank top for this hike, because "the struggle is real" when you hike Blue Ridge Trail.
Well, after what seemed to be forever, we finally came to a less dangerous and less steep decline that turned into a safer trail. We stood at a fork in the trail and had to make the right decision- Homestead trail or Annie trail. We chose Homestead to the left, praying it would tie back to base, where we started. As we looked down into the Valley, it appeared as if we were going even further away from our final destination and began to question our decision. Thankfully some hikers came from that direction and we asked if we are going in the right direction. "Yes, only 2.5 more miles." Whaaat! We were already worn out, had hiked a good 3 hours and running low on water. The downward descend in the wooded area was much better, with plenty of limbs to hold onto. Once we were on the bottom of the mountain and the trail leveled out our feet were happy to step onto flat surface again. A big moral booster was the Creek that we had to cross. We refilled our camel bag with fresh cold spring water and finished our last mile before reaching trail end. 20190407_160455.jpg FB44C654D6A4BABD7032626CFFBC025E.jpg
This hike was absolutely amazing! Next time I want to wear hiking shoes, not running shoes.I was not aware of the condition of this trail and recommend shoes with good track. Also, we will increase our water supply and add a couple of pouches of electrolytes to mix in with the water. To prevent from cramping, I will make sure to use magnesium, calcium and potassium supplements with a protein and vitamin rich meal, before hitting the trail. Oranges, apples, bananas and honey sticks for a quick boost and natural sugar spike will be our go to snacks to keep us going- oh and don't forget some nuts. Until then- happy hiking!
My husband captured way better pictures of the Glory hole. Check it out 8294.jpeg 8293.jpeg

PS. Thanks for the kind comments. I really appreciate it! Keep on blogging @katieshevlin62, can't wait to read your adventures.

Posted by Meike Carter 10:37

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