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Saturday, April 28, 2007

My First Solo Hike

Check out the new trail shoes, folks. These are what went inside them.

I wanted to take these out on a test run (and also to test myself), so I went back to the Phleger Estate and did the same combination of trails that I did last week with Stillman. I prepared for everything that I could think of. I packed supplies (pepper spray, eye drops, lip balm, cell phone), nourishment (water, chocolate, candy that I stole from Willy Wonka from two doors down), and mountain lion kit (in case I am chased up a tree by a mountain lion and have to stay the night).

Here is the trailhead. Now, as we all saw from guest blogger MonkeyPig this week, the timer on cameras are very handy when travelling alone. So, even though I didn't have a fancy schmancy tripod, I still managed to get some shots of myself. But, the first one was a failure. I set the camera on the trailhead sign and turned on the timer. Halfway to my position, I realized that the shot would have been more convincing if I had my backpack on. So, here I am running back to get the backpack. Okay, second time's the charm, though.

Take two.

I set off into the trail at about 11:30am. By 11:35, Mother Nature drew first mud. Now, unlike the other two times I went hiking, I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. So, a few minutes into the hike, I figured I should dig into the first chocolate ration. (Keep my strength up, right?) Boy, did it taste good. Then, I passed a lost horse muff. These are put on horses' hooves to keep them warm. This thing was right where it was when Stillman and I saw it last week. I guess nobody is missing it. So, I just continue walking. As I'm walking along, I spot something on the floor. Lo and behold, it's a walking stick! It was smooth, too, and had a natural curve that was perfect for my height. I wonder if the kung fu master left this as a sign of encouragement for me? Mother Nature, [Cuban accent]say hello to my little friend[/Cuban accent].

The weather was pretty warm, so a lot of the flowers were in bloom. Here are some purple ones, pink ones, white and yellow ones, and white, yellow, and purple ones. Of course, there were many wild irises in bloom--many more than last week.

At about 12:30pm, I reach the fork in the road where the three trails (Miramonte, Raymundo, and Mt. Redondo) meet. Last week, Stillman and I took the Raymundo trail to the Mt. Redondo trail and back to the Miramonte trail. So, this week, I decided to do the loop backward and take the Mt. Redondo trail first. In taking the loop backwards, I saw everything from a different angle and it felt like a different hike. Of course, there were super tall trees, as well as craggy moss-covered ones. I was going uphill for a full 30 minutes at a pretty steep grade, and started to get hungry again. You know what that meant: second chocolate ration and a lollipop.

I took another little break when I got to Raymundo trail. Here, I met two runners who graciously posed for a photo. On the Raymundo Trail, trees grew out diagonally from the hillside. Some were practically horizontal. Trees were also clumped together in spots.

I finally got back to the Miramonte Trail at about 1:45pm. It was time for my third chocolate ration. I also took a water break. (I took water breaks all along the way because it was so warm and I was really striving to go at a decent pace.) You can tell how strong the sun was in the chapparal area. On the way back to the trailhead, I passed by a one-room bungalow with skylight located across from a beautiful stream. It was being offered for sale by owner at $1.7 million (pretty reasonable in these parts).

Anyhow, even though it was a warm day with a lot of sun, most of the trail was shady and comfortable. Don't believe me? Ask them. They'll tell you the same thing. When I got to the area where I had initially found my walking stick, I put it back where I had found it for the next hiker.

Now, it was 2:30 and I was nearing the trailhead. Guess who comes strolling into the trail? I'll give you a hint. Last week, I put this outside his office to mark him.


Man from U.N.C.L.E. said...

Nice socks. Mr. Nonny Nu knows how to pick'em, huh? When you mentioned "walking stick" I couldn't help but think of Monkeypig's going to look for more horny insects on her Everglades trip. Are insect lovers able to find the walking stick insect in California, or are they a Midwest phenomenon?

Man from U.N.C.L.E. said...

Changing the Subject :

Havoc = ZERO stars?

Stillman said...

I told you there were walking stick insects! Thanks MFUNCLE.

"Someone" said...

Help, I'm being real-life stalked by Nonny Nu!

I announce my virtual stalker-hood. Of course, this involves retracing Nonnny Nu's hiking footprints the week after they are made.

And what does Nonny Nu do? She tries to follow me following her, redoing the same hike two weekends in a row? I mean, who does that?

Now I fear for my life. After all, she was armed both with Mace, and Aveeno when she came after me!

Man from U.N.C.L.E. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nonny Nu said...

Havoc = ZERO stars?
I don't chew my cabbage twice.

someone said: Help, I'm being real-life stalked by Nonny Nu!
"Someone" *cough*Colonel Panic*cough* also said last week that the 7 mile hike would be too much for him to do by himself. I was depending on your lack of confidence, dude! Unbeknownst to me, I put myself in my internet stalker's path...

Nonny Nu said...

Are insect lovers able to find the walking stick insect in California, or are they a Midwest phenomenon?
Stillman says there are walking stick insects. I believe everything she says, which is why we got lost on Sunday.