Achilles surgery + 4 weeks

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My ambition this weekend is to hike from the flatlands to Skyline, probably the short loop at Windy Hill: up Spring Ridge trail, down Hamm’s Gulch trail. I’ll do the hike Saturday; if it goes really well, I will also try a modest bike ride on Sunday.

The hike: only 7.2 miles, but 1500 vertical feet. From the parking lot at the bottom to the parking lot at the top is usually just a bit more than an hour, a bit less if I push it (but without running). This time it was about 1:15. Taking it easy, not risking injury.

Cold and windy up there; fog blowing hard across the ridgetop. If I had had a jacket, I would have worn it. No jacket, no problem. The downhill goes through the forest, and the trail was wetter than I would have expected for August. I guess the fog and the consequent condensation has been a fact of life up here this summer.

Stopped at Sausal pond, just before the parking lot on the way down. Nine people out of eight would probably have said there was nothing interesting here, certainly no animals around. Dave, of course, pokes around to see what might be lurking just out of sight.

Even the vegetable matter is not completely devoid of interest.

As to small animals, we first discover the empty husk of a dragonfly nymph.

But the real story here today is the proliferation of small frogs. They’re about 2 cm long, and shy. Dozens of them within three or four meters of my vantage point in the reeds at the shore.

And if reptiles aren’t enough, there are even a few unusual insects around.

When I got home, I filled a bucket with water, dumped in lots of ice and plunged both feet in. Yow! Fifteen minutes of that, and I’m happy. My first impression is that it went very well today. Will I change my tune when I wake up tomorrow morning?

Sunday morning: a little pain, but not bad. Let’s see whether I can do a bike ride.

The Portola Valley loop is less than 20 miles, less than 1000 feet of climb, and I can extend it if I feel good. If I take the physical therapist’s advice, I need to change many years of habit, and the way to do that is to put in the time, reminding myself constantly to adjust my pedaling stroke and riding position.

Felt good; I extended the ride to 35 miles, 1300 vertical feet, down Foothill expressway and back through the Baylands. Another fifteen minutes of ice water when I got home, just as a precaution, but I am very optimistic about progress. I don’t think I”m yet up for 20 mile hikes with 5000 feet of gain, but maybe it won’t be all that long.

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