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As I sat down in front of my computer this morning, a loud rumble shook the house. The look on my pup's face said it all: thunder!The first real storm of the season has hit the Sacramento Valley and, while it's easier to stay put and just keep typing on days like this, I sometimes need a little reminder of the sunnier days of yore.

And by days of yore, I mean approximately 72 hours ago.

This past weekend was perfect. We had a lovely Thanksgiving with family {and hope you all did, as well} and finally broke out of our food-induced haze to head out for a hike on Sunday morning. All of the left-over turkey, stuffing and gravy {not to mention the remnants of that delicious cheese plate} in the world couldn't stop us from getting out and enjoying the beautiful weather.

We headed up to Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve near Lake Berryessa to finally tackle a hike we had heard so much about: the Homestead/Blue Ridge Loop Trail.

In a word? Awesome.

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The trails make a loop and a fellow hiker mentioned that it might be better to head up the stairs rather than down, so we headed for the Homestead Trail portion first. My knees give me a bit of trouble, so heading down all of these stairs could have been painful. They were also pretty mossy and slick in areas thanks to the lovely tree cover. We were glad we took her advice!

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Once we finished the climb, we could see the valley to our right:

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and Lake Berryessa to our left:

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I asked the hubs to take a picture...you know...for proof. To the right of yours truly, you can see the rest of the trail that tops the ridge:

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This is what that trail looks like up close:

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As we headed back down into the canyon, we were treated to beautiful displays of what was left of the fall colors:

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I assure you, those leaves are now gone. We're expecting the wind and rain to continue through Sunday, so I guess we can say goodbye to all of those autumn hues.

Once we finished the hike, we took the scenic drive up to the north end of Lake Berryessa. The lake was quiet and calm as a few kayakers headed in for the day.

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Obviously, I'm a big fan of looking back at shots of brighter days, but I want to know: what helps you get through the rainy, blustery season? I don't necessarily mind the rain, but it makes spending time outdoors a little less desirable. I suppose we all have to keep on moving forward, no matter the weather. Sometimes it's just nice to hear what keeps everyone else lookin' up even when skies are gray.

I hope all of my Northern California friends are staying warm and dry!

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Happy {rainy} Wednesday, all!

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