The grassy oaklands and rugged chaparral-covered mountains that rise between Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California are a stark contrast to the rich vineyards of the Wine Country. On a long hike from Sugarloaf Ridge State Park we headed through thick forests of fir and pine, and then across steep green hillsides, and finally bushwhacked up a thornbush-choked ridge to reach remote Mount Saint John. It’s always amazing to see so many varied landscapes in such a small area.

As with so many things in life, long and difficult hikes are really just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Step.. breathe…step..breathe . And then eventually, if you persevere, you reach your goal.