Stonemound Ridge, Round Valley Regional Preserve.

“We need wilderness because we are wild animals,” wrote ecological philosopher Edward Abbey. “Every man needs a place where he can go to go crazy in peace. Every Boy Scout troop deserves a forest to get lost, miserable, and starving in. … Because we need brutality and raw adventure, because men and women first learned to love in, under, and all around trees, because we need for every pair of feet and legs about ten leagues of naked nature, crags to leap from, mountains to measure by, deserts to die in when the heart finally fails.”


Most of the words and images on this site tell tales of trails. And most of those trails take you through my neighborhood: Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The trail is impossible to resist. Not this or that trail; any trail: in platinum bombshell Yosemite or the petite wallflower known as Round Valley. I’m drawn to the trail as a salmon to the stream of its spawning. The strange and miraculous thing is this: no matter what particular thrill I seek on a particular trail, I’m nearly always given something else; something greater. Something igniting awe and wonder.

For lovers of the outdoors, the sharing of awe and wonder is the name of the game. When we crest a ridge and feel the wind galvanize our face, we want someone – anyone – to be near. A friend, a lover; yes, even a stranger will do. We want to point and say, “Look!” Two plus two equals four, but one plus one does not equal two. One plus one equals ten thousand times two.

If you’re a lover of the outdoors, you’ve likely discovered your own private places – on a map and in the heart. Let me show you some of mine.

The view from Morgan Territory Regional Preserve.