It's been a while since I've been out to a local park for a hike. It's not that I haven't been getting outside, however. I've been focusing on daily 5 mile walks from home along the Monterey Bay in an effort to gently heal from my bike accident. Just look at what I've been missing! The sparkling yellow cottonwood was glowing in the sunshine and filled the air with a soothing rustling sound. We made sure to hit the hillside canyons littered with crunchy bigleaf maple leaves, which give off a distinctly dry aromatic scent when kicked around. And, the bright red toyon berries seemed to be going gangbusters everywhere I looked. There was enough color around that I could easily ignore all the dried straw and grey bits that dominate the landscape this time of year, compared to the lovely green of spring. The seasonal foot bridge at the main parking is still up, but probably not for long. It offers a lovely view of Carmel River. Quite frankly, I'm amazed there's any water flowing this late in the season before the rains. The nature center is still under renovation. We took a look, and I could hardly tell that they had changed anything. All in all, I left feeling I need to get out more, because it's beautiful out there.