I was prepared to go on a long hike Saturday, for at least five miles. It didn’t happen. Dieter drove Harrison and I all the way past Lower Lake to Walker Ridge. This place is really out in the Boonies. We parked in an area where dirt bikers and ATV’s were buzzing around kicking up rocks and dirt. Gathered were a group of naturalists who looked somewhat like a chapter of the Sierra Club ( I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them were members ). After “ gearing up” with our backpacks and poles we sauntered across the street to where the meeting was taking place. As it turned out, our little hike was going to be more like a politically motivated nature walk in an area that had been set afire by an arsonist back in 2009. The group leader launched into an explanation of the serpentine soils that were just beginning to support new growth and that the government had slated the area for an expansion of a windmill project that (according to the group leader) was going to be environmentally devastating to the area.This talk went on for a good twenty minutes. Finally we got “ungeared”, hopped back into Dieter’s Toyota Avalon and proceeded to follow a bunch of SUV’s up the mountain road to the summit. After parking, we had decided it was no point in throwing on our backpacks because this walk was only going to be a quarter mile at most. We learned about larkspur flowers and golden fields and a host of other succulents and wildflowers that were just beginning to sprout in an area peppered with shotgun shells, beer cans and broken clay pigeons. The trash left in this area was equally depressing. I found a fairly good sleeping bag mat made out of EVA styrofoam that I took back with me. We stayed until just after lunchtime. Then we hopped back into the car and drove towards Middletown where we stopped for coffee at a place called Mugshots.Eventually we got back to Calistoga around 3PM. We even took in an Estate sale on the way back. I picked up a ball peen-hammer, wire snips and shoe laces all for 3 bucks! Woo hoo !