I checked another mile off of the 30 mile total. It was painfully hard. I didn't complete the 5.2 mile loop that traverses the peaks of the Pinnacles, with it's 1200+ ft. elevation and path winding through jagged rocks at the top of the mountain. I made it a third of the way to the top, maybe slightly higher. And at the top of my journey, I walked out on to a lone rock jutting out across the valley beneath. I stood and took in the full-circle view.
Off to the south the mountains opened up to show me the land rolling off into the next valley. The west overlooked the same reservoir I had climbed to on my previous visit, though it looked much smaller from where I stood, high above it. The north and east hinted at all that lay in store as my mountain trail curved around and out of sight and somewhere beyond that the land rose in red-rocked splendor as to the treasures that lay ahead.
For when I go hiking -- my not-quite four year old toddler at my side -- I go treasure hunting. My son is always looking for the elusive "x" that marks the spot where his treasure is hidden, and it's become quite the adventurous game for us. Every cave, every gnarled tree, every beautiful view... they all are treasures. The game is to find the next one. And he does! He seeks with gusto and enjoys his finds with an ever growing appreciation for the beauty of the world around us. Sometimes he scribbles his version of an "x" in the dirt with a stick and enthusiastically exclaims "I found the treasure!" and sometimes he waits for me to find it, but certainly each hike is time for us to seek and find far more than the Pinnacles themselves. There is more treasure in them hills than mere words can describe.