By Outdoor Afro Leader Zoë Polk
With the Sierra winter snowpack at historic lows, we at Outdoor Afro Northern California have been hoping for a “dump.” A heavy snowstorm last weekend would have enabled us to join our REI family for their annual Winter Trails Day event but also protect all of us in California from drought, water restrictions, wildfires and farmland fallowing. Thus, while the rest of the country continues to dig out from record snowfall, we Northern California Outdoor Afros have been busy “snow dancing.” And of course we grooved together in fellowship, in community and in the outdoors.
Convening in Oakland’s Redwood Regional Park, we quickly “got down-” that is we descended the park’s Fern Trail. Along the way, we beheld the fog cover of the eucalyptus trees and appreciated the mystical beauty it gave the forest.
We also delighted in getting up close to ladybug colonies.
Even for frequent visitors, these experiences made the hiking familiar trails a new and exciting adventure.
As we’ve been known to do in the past, we also added a celebratory soundtrack to our hike. In honor of the day being Mary J. Blige’s birthday, we sang, bonded over and (snow) danced to our favorite Mary songs. From “Be Happy” to “Real Love” to “Just Fine,” we had plenty of choices to hum and hike to.
Keeping in mind that we had to get up to get down, we climbed the Madrone Trail and finished our hike back at the Redwood Bowl Staging Area. While we’re still awaiting snowfall in the Sierras, we also are looking forward to all of the adventures 2014 will bring- whether we’re wearing our snowshoes, skis, Keen hiking boots or dancing shoes.