Before Hannah and I hit the beach this morning in Carpinteria, our son Will, still not adjusted to the three hour time change from the East Coast, gets up very early and runs five miles through predawn Carpinteria to the high school; he then warms down by walking with us for three miles on our Pacific sands. Ah, to be healthy at 36! And at 72!
Returning to the San Ysidro trailhead with Will this morning, we have a new trail in mind, the McMenemy Trail. This trail has been inaccessible due to the devastating debris flow of 2018 and then the heavy rains of 2019 throughout Santa Barbara County.
Shaded by Eucalyptus trees, the McMenemy (pronounce enemy with an M) Trail is soon a meandering series of switchbacks up the hillside with views to the Pacific. As Will and Hannah hike ahead, I think of our third child.
Through his public school years, Will balanced sports, studies, and friendship without obsessing in any one area. As a Division II basketball player at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, Will had his most fun athletically when he left the team his senior year and played intramurals with his buddies.
With his wife Laurel and our nearly two-year-old grandson Brooks, Will eagerly awaits May when he will double his fun as his family will grow in an unexpected way.
Since I was born without the grilling gene, much to Hannah’s chagrin (make that horror!), Will takes control of barbecuing, be it fish, burgers, steak tips, or chicken when we get together. I figure, we each play to our strengths! Do I hear an Amen! Tonight in Carpinteria, he will lightly char chicken chunks to a barbecue crispness for our dining pleasure.
On his last visit home in York, Maine where Hannah and I still live since we moved from Arizona in 1982, Will looks for things to do to support us around the house when he comes home. He gets right to mowing our lawn, solidifies our brick walk with polymeric paver sand, and puts cold pack tar from our garage to our sinking driveway to provide a smooth ramp in for our cars. Yeah, he plays to his strengths.
Reminiscing done and now the steepness of the climb getting my full attention, I join Hannah and Will for views of the mansions of Montecito as well as the Pacific coast shoreline out to the Channel Islands.
The McMenemy is a moderate workout with a 1000’ of elevation gain into the Santa Ynez Mountains. While the trail is mostly dirt at the lower elevations, it is rocky into the mountains.
Once at the high point, we swiftly descend on the dusty and rocky trail back to the San Ysidro Creek. Fording the miniscule creek, we retrace the first mile of the aforementioned San Ysidro Trail back to the trailhead.
Driving into downtown Montecito minutes away, we order take-out from Los Arroyos, our favorite Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara County. Today’s specials (take-out and specials are how Hannah and I roll) are chicken burritos (Dan) and steak burritos (Hannah and Will) topped with a chili-based mole (pronounce mol-lay) sauce has a chocolaty look. The special includes ice tea, which both Will and Hannah claim is the best they have EVER tasted.
And by the way Will and Hannah each hit 30,000 steps! It’s the least we can when Will comes to sunny California in January.