Hiking by yourself is an odd experience. You know how sometimes you just need to go off, away from your friends and loved ones, and just have some "me" time? Well, not me. I've never needed that. I seriously have never once felt like I just wanted to be alone. I don't mind being alone, but all things being equal, I'd just as well have someone else along. That probably speaks volumes about my mental health. meh. But here I was about to embark on a 15 mile journey of self-discovery. I was a bit curious to find out what sort of revelations I would have.
Turns out there weren't any. Also, I had a daydream that I would somehow get a lot of planning/brainstorming done for various projects while hiking. That didn't happen either. My deepest thoughts were of the "oooh a bird", "how much longer", "go to hell climbie!" variety. But that was enough. I sort of got into the zone and just enjoyed the trail. I began to feel like I was just spending the day with Austin.
The climbies were out in force today. There was even some sort of climbie school going on, complete with tent and coolers. Turns out that scaling sheer faces of rock is hard and may require some instruction. Who knew?! The bikies were sizeable, but not as numerous as they've been in the past, and most of them were polite.
On the part of the trail that crosses under 360, there were about 8 smashed and overturned Target shopping carts. This confused and frightened me at first. I tried to imagine some 18 wheeler carrying shopping carts getting into an accident, but it just didn't make sense. Or perhaps some homeless folks had camped out, and then left their mobile homes behind. But all these carts looked new. That's when I noticed that there was what amounted to a very steep, long concrete ramp coming from 360 all the way to the ground and ending at a pillar. So someone had stolen several carts and pushed them down the ramp to watch them explode spectacularly. I wonder if anyone was riding in them on the descent. I blame Jackass.
This time I made it a point to try and stay on one side of the creek bed as much as possible (the side that the chains are not on), since we always end up crisscrossing, and I wanted to see if the trail actually existed on both sides. My plan worked for the most part, but some of the trails are insane. There's an old barbed wire fence that has fallen down, and there are spots on the trail where it crosses, at about ankle level. So you'll suddenly find yourself a foot away from a very painful trip wire.
The animals were noisy today, but for the most part kept to themselves. Saw lots of squirrels, though, and a few vultures. Oh, and lots of doggies, of course.
The hill of death wasn't as bad as usual, because the weather was fantastic, and it was completely overcast the whole time. Still, though, I found myself singing a little song as I climbed. It went "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you hill of death". We should record it.
All in all, the hike took me 6 hours, which was a pleasant surprise. Who's up for next weekend?