I should probably start this post with some sort of fancy literary contrivance. After all, I now have readers such as The Irishman and Roz whom I don\’t even know. And I know that Roz has told her friends about this blog. So the pressure is on now to deliver the goods. Those Adsense pennies will be pouring in if this post turns out to be interesting or funny. I\’m sure I\’ll get at least a nickel from Google if it\’s both.
But I\’m not going to bury the lead here. Although I fear I may already have. So dump all of that. Start over.
OK. Here goes. I almost died today – TWICE.
Due to ill planning on my part and road construction at the Sequoia Nation Park, I arrived rather late – about 1pm. Well, actually I got to the Museum, roughly in the middle of the park, at 1pm. It is from here that several casual hiking trails begin. So I gave the XTerra a somewhat long and borderline creepy hug goodbye and took off toward one of those trails. I chose the Sunset Rock trial to begin with. It was only 0.9 miles and, hey, it sounded so romantic. I would say that after the first .25 miles, none of the mass of people that had parked by the museum could even be heard. No one else was on the trail. But, like I said, it was an easy trail. Live a little people. But I\’m glad. I hate people and like to enjoy my nature in quiet.
As is my predilection, I took a number of pictures, almost all of which can be viewed in a later posting. Not too many rock pictures were taken today, like yesterday. Instead, as Kris10 can attest, I have a penchant for the crazy looking log. It is my egret of the forest.
So, about ¾ miles into the hike, I look over to my right and think \”Oh good Christ. They have the gall to put up a Papier-mâché 10 point buck on this trail just to delight the mid-American hoople-heads
But then it moved.
It is then that it sinks in that I\’m 10 feet away from a real live 10 point buck with nothing to defend myself but my RAZR2 and my scathing wit. He was definitely giving me the old stink eye. I quickly took several pictures of him before he gored me. Although I\’ll be dead, I thought, at least my blog friends will have some kick ass pix.
I slowly walk back up the trail. I\’ll have to do without finding the end of the Sunset Rock Trail. He munched on some delicious vegetation. With a giant mouthful of leafy-greens in his mouth (which really is where you would expect a mouthful of anything to be), I realize I could probably pass him. I move back towards him and he drops the mouthful of greens. Ooops, I thought. But he\’s not making a move to me. So I continue. He backs away a little, still keeping an eye on me. I finally move past him and meet up with a couple who have also noticed him.
\”Hey. Have you seen any bears?\” one of them says.
\”No. Why\”, I ask.
\”Someone said they saw a mother and her cub cross this very path earlier\”
\”Oh wow. Good times\”, I reply.
I continue on to the Sunset Rock and take several pictures. There is a sign that says \”Marble Bridge 2.6 miles\” and points to the east. I figure I could do that. I\’ve got plenty of time. It\’s only 2pm. I\’ve got a least 4 more hours of quality sunlight left. This first trail was a easy. Why not? I had not planned on taking a longer hike. I had not brought any water, Clifbars, maps or, most importantly, my GPS device. But I\’m invincible. I just stared down a buck.
The trail started out pretty easy and I was able to take some great pictures. There was a single, beautiful blue bird feather on the ground. I had to take a picture of that. I continued hiking until suddenly I could no longer find the path. I looked around and saw nothing. It had dead ended. Ok. Well, I\’m not that interested in the bridge and it was too far to go anyway. So I headed back. But heading back did not look familiar. And then the path back dead ended. A little panic set in. I looked around and saw what looked to be the path above me. So I scrambled up the mountain and f no path. Again I look around and think I see the path below me. I scrambled back down the mountain barely avoiding what appeared to be poison oak and indeed found a path. The Sunset Rock was to the west, the same direction as the sun, so I followed this new path to the west. Well, that is, until it also dead ended.
I continued this nonsense of scrambling up and down the mountain for 30 minutes until I found a real, solid path. It is here that I realized that I must have missed a switchback somewhere. And others had missed it and created a path beyond the switchback.
So I had to decide which way to go. I knew that Sunset Rock was to the west. You look at the sunset there, right. So, the sun is currently west. I need to go toward the sun. So, that\’s the way I go – west. But the path almost immediately switches back east into the deep forest. \”Well, it will switch back to the west, I\’m sure\”, I think.
The trail becomes progressively less maintained the deeper I go. I\’m starting to panic. I realize I\’m may have to spend the night in the forest with mamma bear, her cub and her husband. And I\’m pretty sure they don\’t have cable. So I\’m going to miss Monday Night Football.
\”OK. That\’s it\”, I think, \”I\’m heading back the other way.\” Then, the trail abruptly switches up and to the west. It\’s going towards the sun. It\’s going towards where I need to go.
A slight feeling of relief fills me as sweat pours down my face. After several minutes I lose that confidence. And then I look down and see a blue bird feather. Was this the feather I took a picture of? I continue on, now with the needle edging above E on the confidence meter. I see a freshly cut log with a crack through the center. I\’m sure I saw this before. More and more things start to look familiar as more and more I believe I just might make it out of the forest in some form other than bear poo.
Eventually, I see the Sunset Rock. I\’ve made it. I\’ve cheated death or at least a miserable night in the forest.