Thursday, April 9, 2009

Luckiest Man Alive


Today is my 21st Wedding Anniversary. It is amazing to all who know me that my lovely wife has been able to put up with me for this long. No one is more amazed than I am and I am thankful every day. How many wives would let their husbands go hiking every day? Of course, she's probably grateful for the extra free time.

This morning I thought we'd have breakfast, or go to the park or spend some time just gazing at each other. Wrong! She'd already made plans to meet her dad for breakfast, go out with a girlfriend for coffee and do some shopping. Oh well, more time for me to hike.

I headed over to Snow Creek to hike up the PCT a bit. Snow Creek is one of the premier mountaineering climbs in the country. While the route is officially closed, several parties defy the ban and continue to make this climb. I will, however, be going on a legal route today.

The Pacific Crest Trail, going from Mexico to Canada, goes many miles through the San Jacinto Mountains.

The sign at the starting point is not too welcoming but I know the PCT has legal access so I bypass this gate and start to hike up next to the road.

I hear a sound behind and turn to see six black helicopters. These people mean business when it comes to keeping trespassers out. Thankfully, they continue on their way and I'm free to go.

I get to where the trail goes and pass a security guard who is sitting in a car beside the road. I size him up and figure I can outrun him if he gives me any grief. He doesn't so I continue up the trail.

It's not too far before the trail gets real overgrown and I take a wrong turn. I'm cruising WAY off the trail when the guard yells at me, "Hey Buddy, the trail's the other way".

I thank him and finally get on the proper trail.

From the trail you get very nice views of the north face of Mount San Jacinto.

You also get nice views of Mount San Gorgonio.

I hike up a bit further and turn around to head back. On my way down I notice Deputy Dawg on the lookout, waiting for me. It's probably the most excitement he's had in months. As I leave, I again thank him for the directions and wish him a nice day. I'm sure now he can resume his nap.

Once I'm out of eyesight of security, I head away from the road for a little exploring. I've been here before and there's an old Indian rock shelter in the area and an old trail. It is closed off to protect the rock art and antiquities and also so people don't come up and vandalize it.

Inside the shelter, the pictographs are visible on the wall. It's a good sized shelter and most have been a great place to hang out.

Obviously, someone was hanging out there not too long ago.

Snow and Falls Creek are one of my favorite areas to hike and it is a shame they are closed to the public. The agencies in charge of the area should allow limited access to the public to enjoy their lands. I understand that the area is a watershed but then so are hundreds of other places around the country that have public access. I personally just think the bureaucrats in charge just don't want to do any extra paperwork and are taking the easy way out. Obviously, the people who sneak into the area aren't affecting water quality.

Anyway, the PCT is open and is a great way to enjoy this special area. Hopefully, I'll be back soon. That is, if my wife will let me.

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