Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rubber Tramping Till The Leather Is Better

My little sister graduated college this weekend from the University of Redlands. I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. 

Following the ceremony I went to lunch in downtown Redlands with my family. My parents were in town from Tennessee for the graduation and to meet my newest nephew who is also their 13th grandchild. It was nice to spend time with all of them.

I decided to make the most of the drive out there and went up to San Gorgonio after the ceremony. I was still having a lot of pain in my right ankle from trying to break in the Altra shoes on the Pedro Fages trail so I knew I wasn't going to do a lot of hiking. 

I'm super fat guys. For real. 
So as painful as it is for me to not be able to do all I want to do, and as painful as it is for you guys to read about it, I still gotta ease in slow so I don't really mess up my bod and delay things further. I am really working on getting my eating regulated, I'm doing pretty good in therapy and I've already dropped a pants size so I am hopeful I'll rebound quickly!

I woke up at 4am to get to the graduation on time so I was pretty worn out by the time I got to the Vivian Creek picnic area. But the day was gorgeous and cool and I took a nap in my truck listening to the birds.

After my nap I decided to head out to see the damage from the Lake Fire last year and headed up Hwy 38 toward Angeles Oaks.
As the road wound around I noticed all of these little turn outs and the cool looking canyons just off the road. I had an idea that maybe I would do a new blog series called Nooks and Crannys and explore these areas that most just fly by. 
Could be cool, no?

Everything was still looking green and beautiful and so I diverted up Jenks Lake road toward the South Fork trailhead. Here I could see some of the aftermath but I was surprised, and pleased, to see for every burned pine there were two next to it that were green. All the way up the mountain side into the heavy snow pack you could just see a speckling of dead pines. It made me feel super grateful for CalFire and all they do to protect our wilderness from the carelessness of our species. Regardless of your theory on SoCal forests and fire, you have to admit it is nice to not see a completely desolate San G.

Every time I would round a corner and catch a glimpse of the peaks my heart skipped a beat. I just love it here. I                                                                   wish I could stay here forever.

I continued west on Jenks Lake road and stumbled upon a pack of 3 coyotes trotting around. I pulled out my phone and snapped some pictures and videos. You can see the best of the footage in my video edit here
Me and the Coyotes leap frogged each other and kind of communicated, for lack of a better word, for about a half hour. I am pretty positive now that I have Coyote medicine again. At 1:50 of my video you can see a smiley face drawn on a log. This is the epitome of this totem animal's message. You can read about Coyote medicine here.

After dancing with the coyotes I continued on Jenks Lake road to the Forsee Creek trail head. My original plan was to camp in my truck here and then hike to John's Meadow the next day but I decided to head home instead. Things have been complicated with Josh and I and I was hopeful we would be able to spend Sunday together and try to repair things.

 It was a good that I didn't plan on staying as the trailhead was packed! I headed down the mountain in a sort of daze thinking about the coyotes, Josh, my family and the PCT.

On the way down I was hit with a fragrant memory emanating from these shrubs. When Josh and I were coming off the fire detour before dropping into Acton KOA we passed by several of these shrubs that smell ah-maz-ing! I think they are called Yellow Bush Snapdragon and I love love love them.

The next day Josh and I were still having some communication issues. We decided to take a drive to try to let the energy disperse. We headed out hwy 8 to La Posta road which is a dirt road that, in theory, takes you all the way to Mt. Laguna via Thing Valley Road.

While it did connect to Thing Valley Road we were blocked by a locked gate.

We continued on La Posta trail and made our way to Cibbets Flat Campground which we were happy to find had no locked gates. We took an empty bottle from the tiny water cache at the junction, right by the unexploded ordnance sign, and left a full bottle in its place. 

Josh was overcome with emotion at being on the trail again and stood in the same place we camped in 2014 for quite a while. I think he knows that the only way out is thru. He has to keep exposing himself to those feelings or he's never going to get passed it. It's not easy trying to fit into that square hole when you're a round peg. Josh decided he wanted to continue the PCT memories and we headed into Cuyamaca and then Julian and found some thru hikers to give a ride to. We picked up three guys, put them in the back of the truck and drove them down Banner Grade to Scissors Crossing.

After we dropped the guys we stopped and asked if anyone wanted a ride back to Julian but Warner Springs Monte was offering some trail magic under the bridge and no one was interested in leaving so we headed home.

On the way, I received a text from my co-worker that one of my tenants who has dementia was lost. We headed over to my work and searched the neighborhood looking for her. I finally found her about 4 hours after she had left. I got to ride in the back of a cop car for the first time! I don't recommend it. It was pretty gross back there. 

While I didn't get my feet in the dirt, I did get a chance to center myself and get back to the places that make me happy. So it wasn't a bad weekend at all.


  1. I can empathize with your frustration about the ankle and foot pain. I woke up yesterday and with my very first step felt a piercing pain near the toes of my left foot. I had been on a hike the day before and felt absolutely nothing, now this. So now I sit wondering what the heck to do.

    1. Maaaaaaaan! That sucks! Maybe a morton's neuroma? What kind of shoes do you wear, Brewella?

  2. I wear Merrell Moab Ventilators with green Superfeet insoles pretty much all the time. That, along with regular stretching exercises, basically solved some issues I started having with plantar fasciitis a few years ago. Things had been going really well for such a long time I think I just got lazy with the stretching and started wearing flip flops or worn out slippers around the house. This time the pain came back in what seemed might be a neuroma type thing. So I took a few days off and immediately went back to the regular stretches, sturdy shoes around the house, and some really deep massage of the area. I went on a light trail walk yesterday and felt fine, and today that area seems nearly pain free. Since I've never been into high heels, I hope this will be the last of these symptoms if I just keep up with the stretching and avoid the flip flops. Like everything in life, though, knowing the right thing to do and doing it are too different things ; )