Whether hiking or pickleballing, Hannah and I feed off our interactions with others in small groups. Classic introverts! This morning four new hikers dropped into our lives thanks to a tee-shirt and a baseball cap. Let me explain.
With no trailhead parking for Inspiration Point, we park along Tunnel Road, then walk the ¾ of a mile on a damaged paved/gravelly fire road to the trailhead. Once on the actual trail, we find a delightful single track along a dry riverbed.
Now for the value of wearing distinctive shirts on the trail. Wearing my iconic white Ithaca Bombers tee-shirt, a woman coming down the mountain says, My son went to Ithaca. Are you two from New York?
I say, No, we live in Maine.
Where? she asks.
Since hikers usually don’t know the little town where we are from, I say, south of Portland.
That piques her interest, Where?
York, I respond.
In disbelief on this southern California mountainside in the middle of February, she says, York! We’re from York.
It turns out Eric and Carol own the Dockside, a popular restaurant/watering hole/wedding venue in town that we have been many times. Hum with me, It’s a small world after all.
Jazzed by our conversation, Hannah and I hike along a trail that meanders through the brush and woods of the Front Country beneath the 3000’ peaks.
On the way up, I notice a man with a hat with has hockey national champions. Ever the chatty one, I ask him, What school is it from?
He says, It’s for my hockey team. Turns out Karl is here from Minnesota for a weekend tournament of 60+ year old players at the local Ice in Paradise rink in nearby Goleta. How cool is that? Of course, it’s cool, it’s a hockey rink.
Fifty minutes after we parked our car, we are at the overlook on a hazy day, unusual for Santa Barbara. My video puts the inspire into Inspiration Point.
Hiking down the rocky, dusty, never perilous trail, we meet up again with Karl and now his wife Beth. Walking and talking with them, we know very soon that they are America’s version of Canadians. They are from Minnesota.
For the next forty minutes we make connections in that we each have five and seven year old grandchildren and love being active. Learning that Karl plays right wing on his hockey team, I crack, Do they assign position by politics? They both laugh no, no; we are among kindred spirits.
After forty minutes of conversation with the couple from the Land of Ten Thousand Smiles, we have quite the morning of Vitamin N and Vitamin C. By that I mean, Vitamin Nature and Vitamin Connection.