Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fleeing the voice, she ran up the mountain, climbed over rocks and at last

.. . escaped only by hiding in a cave

There must be a way I can include this woman as a character in my next novel, if only to get revenge...

I've gone hiking in Temescal Canyon twice lately. The first time was all right. I needed a break from work and it is really close to the city.  The trails were really easy and really crowded. I filed this away as a good place to take my mother the next time she comes to visit.

Today, I drove to the last place that vehicles are allowed, at the entrance to Topanga State Park. I figured, correctly, few people walk more than a mile in total, so once I hit the half-mile mark on the trail, there wouldn't be too much company.

I hiked up about a half-mile or so and I heard a woman behind me. "Heard" is the key word in that last sentence. She was going on and on in a high-pitched voice. I don't really know about what but it was annoying since, for me, the sounds of the mountain are almost as much of an allure as the sights. After spending days in an office, it's wonderful to hear the wind, the birds, the rustle of squirrels and rabbits in the bushes.

For miles, this woman whined on and on behind me. She was walking with a man. I hope he is her boyfriend because I can't imagine what anyone could have done so horrible to be sentenced to a life accompanied by constant monologue. Seriously, she was descended from harpies, I'm sure of it.

She was in good shape, I'll hand her that. See these mountains below?

We hiked to the top of the mountain on the right, me, Ms. Motor Mouth and Mr. Silent. Even though I was out of sight of them most of the way, there was not a minute all of the way to the top when I could not here her yammering behind me. I'll give her this, she's got a good set of lungs, because it was a 45 degree angle a lot of the way. I picked the most difficult trail, hoping I would lose her. I sped up, trying to get away from the sound of her voice. I would, for a while, but as soon as I dropped to anything under a run, she'd catch up again.

After an hour of hearing that whining drone behind me, I couldn't stand it any longer. I left the trail and went from this:

To this, climbing up dry creek beds off the trail, pulling myself along by grabbing tree roots and saplings to scale the mountain.

Incredibly, I could still hear her. We were almost at the top when I left the trail, so they were above me with I-cant-shut-up still talking, this time about the view. By this point, we had been hiking for an hour, much of it at a steep incline up a mountain and there had not been 10 seconds when I could not hear her voice. She literally had not stopped talking.I finally escaped by finishing the hike going down the mountain climbing over five-foot boulders, like this.

I found a couple of different caves I stopped in for a while. I waited until her voice faded, then I waited a while longer, for good measure.

I really, honestly, after this understood where the Greek myth of harpies came from. I don't think I'm a terrible anti-social person for wondering what the hell is wrong with you that when you go out into nature you don't have the desire to hear anything but your own voice?

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