Saturday, July 9, 2011

I went over the mountain to see what I could see

I've driven the back road to San Diego countless times, always thinking to myself that I'd like to climb to the top and see what's on the other side of those mountains. There was always an appointment I had to make, a deadline to meet. Until today.  After years of wondering, I parked my car, walked a mile on the county hiking trail, and then, in violation of about 179 county, fire and recreation codes, veered a sharp left and climbed to the top of the mountain.

I followed a rabbit trail most of the way to the top. I mean that literally, a trail made by rabbits. Fortunately, I'm a pretty small person, so I only needed to stomp through the chaparral here and there. Even though I live in LA, I've had enough business trips East of Nowhere that I actually can recognize rabbit and deer poop. Real wilderness types call it "scat" . Then I came across something that I was pretty certain was mountain lion poop because I was half-way up a mountain on a rabbit trail, so I didn't think anyone was out walking Fluffy there recently, I concluded two things. First, I really need to get a job that doesn't send me so far to the edge of civilization that I can now identify different types of animal poop. Second, this trail better improve damn quick or it was going to be a sad waste of a Saturday. Oddly, I wasn't at all scared of running into a mountain lion, armed with nothing but a camera. (I mean, I was armed with it. I doubt the mountain lion would have a camera.)

Here is what I saw when I got to the top of the mountain.

So, I walked down the mountain and when I came into the parking lot, the attendant asked me where was my car. I told him I'd just walked, my car was on the other side of the mountain. He looked at me like I was the creature from the Black Lagoon (I probably smelled like it, too, since it was hot and I'd been hiking for a while). He charged me $2 to go on the hike around the lake anyway.

I was telling this to my best friend in forever on the phone on the way home. She said, "Well, of course he thought you're crazy. It's 104 degrees, and some tiny little woman just walked down from a mountain that I might remind you doesn't have any trails on it because rabbit trails do not count. What does said woman want? She wants to go on a hike, which any sane person would conclude she had already done because she came over a mountain!"

 I had to explain, in my defense, that I didn't KNOW there was going to be a really huge lake on the other side, since my whole point of hiking to the top is that I didn't know what was on the other side. Also, I am a perfect size. She retorted that yes, I was a perfect size if your goal is to be shipped inside a box.

The lake was really cool. You would have hiked around it, too, wouldn't you? Now that I know it's there, next time, I'll just drive to the parking lot and hike around the lake.

Oh, and I was right about the mountain lion.

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