Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The book said it was right here -- Part 1

Julia gave me a call on Saturday to invite me to go hiking with her Monday after she finished work. She had been looking at trails in the lovely Angeles National Forest, a mere 35 minutes from downtown LA. I jumped at the chance. She found some appealing trails that were dog friendly and, in my honor, out of shape friendly, and I was excited. While Panda didn't join for this trip, I have a feeling she'll be joining us in the future.

Leo, ever worried for my wellbeing, had visions of our ending up miles down a trail as the sun set, at which point these two helpless waifs would, inevitable, be eaten by bears. Or perhaps, he suggested, we'd end up lost and would simply starve before help could arrive. Or rattlesnakes, yes, perhaps those would be our demise. Well, our fate wasn't determined, but he felt whatever it was would not end well. I reassured him that I'd wrassle any bear to the ground, use my stellar sense of time and direction to lead us shirpa like from any trail, back home, and that I'd use my piccolo to charm the snakes back to their lairs, but he was not convinced, so he reluctantly gathered his plethora of boy scout like equipment for me to take.

Many pounds of equipment later, I was on the road to Julia's place. Can we take a minute to marvel at Julia? Not only did she nurse her foster cat back to health in the morning (long story, but she's fine now) but she worked until 3 and was still game for wilderness adventure. How cool is that?

Anyway, book in hand, we headed for the mountains.

Following the directions, we found a spot that appeared to fit the description. Now, we needed to find a gate that lead to a path.

A gate...do you see a gate? I don't see a gate.

We looked up

Not there

We went left

Nope, no trail there.

Maybe it's the other directions, I think I see a path....

Not so much.

But hey, what's that?

Aww deer. There were a few bouncing through the brush.

We packed back into Julia's truck and repeated the searching, with no successful results a few more times. To break the monotony a bit we decided to compare hiking supplies. I assumed that my Leo approved kit would trump Julia's but, I think it was a pretty even wash.

Between the two of us, we had two backpacks (duh), Julia's had a built in water bladder thingy with straw camelback. A sweatshirt, mittens, the ugliest hat ever, 2 cell phones, headlamp, antibiotic ointment, water purification tablets, a GPS, swiss army knife, lighter, sun block, pepper spray, flashlight, extra socks, another aesthetically lacking hat, and a guidebook. Between the two of us, we really were prepared to fend off bears, a loss of direction and rattlesnakes. Ok, maybe not, but we were prepared for something.

At 308 degrees Kelvin, or thereabouts, much of what we brought along had no hope of seeing the light of day. But Julia took pity. She took pity on my ugly ugly hat and my giant mittens. Julia, exhausted from a long day at work and a futile search for a path that appeared to exist only in the dreams of some demonic guidebook writer, did this....

And then this....

Did I mention it was hot. Did I mention the hat has lightening bolts of ugliness streaking through it and is too short and is ugly? Julia rocks.

After repacking all our thing in our backpacks, we hopped back in her truck to try to find another path.

Not a mile down the road, we saw it, the gate. The flippin' flappin' gate that didn't exist except in the minds of demonic guidebook writers.

Oh, and a giant pinecone. I named him Herman. Julia thought it silly to put the ugly hat on it so I didn't.

Part 2 to come soon...


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