The hills are alive, and Richard Levitt has a long-ago scoutmaster to thank for being able to take in the experience.
Recently, I made it back to Reyes Creek in Los Padres National Forest. It was one of the most challenging and spectacular hikes I took with Boy Scout Troop 317.
The steep, rocky trail traverses a landscape that still fills my dreams; chaparral with smooth-barked manzanita and towering yucca, wild lilac, scrub oak, framed by a vibrant blue sky. The air dusty and floral.
I hiked a couple hours. But didn’t really remember, until I crested a little rise and saw a narrow green valley, leading to steep switchbacks, winding up the north face of Reyes Peak.
In an instant I was 12 years old again. Struggling under the weight of my backpack, terrified of the arduous climb.