A California Morning: Table Mountain Musings

September in California is beautiful. The weather cools, the fires that ravage the state all summer finally start to die down, and the leaves start to turn, trees now mottled with red and yellow highlights amongst the green.

Even then, just when I think we’re officially into Fall with a week of 85-degree days, the temperature spikes and it feels like summer again: the sun streams through the cracks in the curtains, warming spots on the carpet for the dog to bask in, while Michael and I retreat to the cool oasis under the ceiling fan. But with a dog in the house, we can’t stay in that oasis forever.

So Saturday morning, after nights of being guilted by the hang-doggiest of hangdog looks, we got up early and drove to Table Mountain with Mitzi in the back sniffing the air furiously. Neither of us had been there, but as it towers over Oroville, we were expecting to be able to drive Table Mountain, park, and take a quick walk to the cliff’s edge.

Instead, the views were hidden behind trees along the horizon and required a hike we were not prepared for. Mitzi didn’t care about the views, though, so we hit the basalt-covered trails…for a little while, at least, exploring the terrain and making plans for our return trip.

Mountain Table Tree
Table Mountain (Oroville CA, 2018)

Even if I hadn’t already known that Table Mountain had been formed by lava flows, it wouldn’t have taken long for me to figure out, as I spent much of my time staring at the ground making sure I didn’t break an ankle on the rocky terrain. Still, even with that, and even through the haze, it was beautiful. I can imagine it in the Spring, filled with wildflowers swaying in a warm breeze, with Michael and Mitzi by my side.

Next time, we’ll be prepared. More sunscreen, water, some snacks, and an actual plan, and we can see everything.

But Mitzi seemed to have a good time even without the views, and that’s really all that mattered.

Mitzi Table Mountain Hike
Mitzi at Table Mountain (Oroville CA, 2018)

If you’re interested in seeing the difference between my final edited images and what they looked like directly out of the camera, here’s the before/after of Mitzi and the before/after of the trees.

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