"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"
Sunday, April 09, 2006
A visit to Middle Mountain
Celia discovered an organization that leads hikes in the Sutter Buttes, aka "the world's smallest mountain range," or "Esto Yamani" in the language of the Maidu people, meaning "Middle Mountain." We put our names on a waiting list for the hike up to the North Butte summit and found out yesterday that there was space for us. So we went. The land is all privately owned and a lot of the Buttes area is used for cattle ranching. The happy California cows are rough on the terrain but it appears that for the most part the landowners / ranchers are conservation-oriented and the Middle Mountain Foundation has a good working relationship with them. The photo here is from MMF's website but it looks almost exactly like where we were today, including the weather. Very steep climb up about 1000 ft to the top, or at least to the foot of the pinnacles thrusting out of the top of North Butte. The summit elevation is about 1800 ft. At the top the sun came out while we had our lunch, then it started to drizzle again during the hike down. Considering the rain we were threatened with for today the weather was great.
We are also on the waiting list for a bat-viewing hike in May. Some 11 of the 24 known species of bats in California can be found in the Sutter Buttes so biologists have regular gigs there every year to check them out.
On clearer days one can see the Buttes from the Yolo causeway between Davis and Sacramento. Today I could see the Sacramento skyline from the Buttes. I preferred the latter perspective. The view of mountains (however small) in the distance is a restless view for me, sometimes causing me to feel some dissatisfaction with where I am at that moment, while the view of a city 45 miles away is just an interesting view.