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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Stood Up at Castle Rock

I wasn't able to go hiking last week because I had to work, so I was really looking forward to going this weekend. Unfortunately, Stillman emailed me and said she couldn't go because she pulled a muscle, so I thought I'd take Mr. Nonny Nu instead. When I presented this to Mr. Nonny Nu, he agreed to go. Well, Saturday morning rolled around and Mr. Nonny Nu was too busy being a sour puss to hike. So, I just went by myself. I wanted to conquer Castle Rock anyway, since it scared me half to death the last time I was there. Don't laugh--I'm not crazy for thinking that.

I haven't ran in a week and also missed hiking last weekend, so I went with a healthier menu today.

Although Castle Rock doesn't allow dogs, they apparently allow other pets. I might bring Stubbie some time.

You all aren't strangers to Castle Rock, so you've seen that it's basically half shady tree hike and half death-defying cliff trotting hike. The shady tree part is called the Ridge Trail and the cliff part is called Saratoga Gap Trail. This week, I went backward, taking the Saratoga Gap Trail first, then looping back on the Ridge Trail. Before getting to SGT, however, I went through some shady tree areas. But first, I took the detour to see the Castle Rock. I figured that I should see it at the beginning of the hike in case I die later on during the hike.

I thought I had seen it last week, but what I saw wasn't Castle Rock. This is Castle Rock. Someone was climbing it, but he had a helper. I looked around and saw that there were people practicing their techniques on smaller rocks. I thought I'd give it a try. I just jumped onto the Castle Rock and started scaling it. After about 20 minutes of this, some of the climbers I saw before came by to check on my progress.

So, with that bit of encouragement, I returned to the hike. Hey, did you know that, at Castle Rock, the park rangers actually walk the trails and pick up trash? I met one of these guys. He had walked all morning and only found this much trash. Must not be a lot of litering going on around here. Okay, so I finally get to the Ridge Trail. At the beginning, it was lined with beautiful, mossy manzanitas, and yellow, red, purple, and white wild flowers. There were also some other yellow wild flowers that looked like bananas. Of course, I finally got a couple shots of the swaths of wild irises I told you about a couple weeks ago (swath #1, swath #2). All throughout my hike on Saratoga Gap Trail, there were hordes of industrious butterflies working on these flowers, and one let me get so close that I could see its fur. There was also a lone bumble bee who didn't seem bothered by my presence.

Soon enough, I got to the point in the Saratoga Gap Trail that (I think) gave the trail its name. As I trudged along, I came across some poop from a carnivore. (Yep, that's right, I spent some image memory on this one so that I didn't have to resize the image or crop anything out--I wanted you to see the detail in this very important picture.) Now, when our guest blogger MonkeyPig was in the Everglades, she regaled us with some alleged alligator poop. At the time, I was not buying the whole "this is gator poop" story, since there weren't any feathers or fur in the poop. After extensive debate, we concluded that the only thing we knew about the poop was that it wasn't MonkeyPig's.

Anyhow, when I finished the hairy poop analysis, I continued on my hike and, lo and behold, a really cute jack rabbit came running across the path. Then, I arrived at the treacherous part of the hike where I only had a narrow ledge to walk along. Some places were so treacherous that there were metal cables attached to the rock so that we could hang on for dear life.

So, that was the very end of the Saratoga Gap Trail. I finally made it to the Ridge Trail, which was a whole lot calmer. I thought I'd reward myself with a snack. There weren't any trash cans in the park, so I left the baggie out in plain sight so that the park ranger would quickly spot it on his trash picking strolls through the trail. I'm kidding! I can already hear Stillman thinking, "NO!!! Take your trash with you!!," which I did. So, you all saw the rest of the Ridge Trail from the last time I was at Castle Rock, so I won't bore you with more photos. But, I do have an interesting one that I didn't see because I was walking the other way last time (Ridge Trail first, then SG Trail). Going backward, today, I was able to see the trail from a different perspective. There was a rock that looked like a man's face in profile, so I named it Profile Rock.

Anyhow, I don't know if it was because I went backward on the trail loop this week and saw the cliffs from a different perspective, or I just got over the fear of falling to my death, but it wasn't as scary this time, and I'm kinda proud that I did it by myself.


mini me said...

so what were we looking at when we went to castle rock??

Nonny Nu said...

I don't really know. Just some rock, I guess.

Hey, aren't you supposed to be in SA? If so, tell that town that they have some DIRTY, ROTTEN BASTARDS playing for them.

That is all.

Stillman said...

oh man, so I got us lost and couldn't find the real castle rock... you're in charge of all future trailblazing.

Nonny Nu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nonny Nu said...

The errant trailblazing was perpetrated by us Angels jointly (even though I did rat you out--SORRY! *nervous laughter*). I was all excited to go to that new place we decided on and had printed out all the directions and maps beforehand, only to have to cancel because of work. How is your pulled muscle? Will you be able to go this weekend?