DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE
A morning person I am not. So I was incredibly surprised when my eyes opened at 5:45 a.m. and I was wide awake. I do not believe that has ever happened before. EVER. My wife saw me awake and asked me if I was planning to go hiking this morning. I hadn't planned it but since I was totally awake I figured it wasn't a bad idea.
At 6 a.m. the temperature is 69º. It's amazing and it actually helps keep me awake. Of course, the huge cups of Peets® Coffee I had before leaving the house didn't hurt, either. What's more amazing is that people are actually awake and walking around this time of day. I don't know what might prompt them to do that but I figure it's got to be insomnia, some sort of mental illness or drugs. It's probably drugs.
They finally replaced that terrible map at the top of the Cove with another slightly less terrible map. At least on this map you can see what the colored arrows on the trail markers stand for. It is also nice to have an idea of the mileage of certain trails.
I hike up like I'm going to Lake Cahuilla and it's beautiful in the shade. I don't plan on making a habit of getting up early but it is nice out.
The sun finally decides to make an appearance, kind of.
In the amber light of early morning the Indian trail that takes off from the main trail is clearly visible. At least to me it is.
I drop down to the canyon and follow it up. There are several tinajas, naturally occurring rock water tanks in the wash so it's easy to see why the Indians hiked over here. They knew every possible water source in these mountains. The tanks are all dry now but you can see that some are still moist.
The canyon continues beyond where I am able to hike today but I've just got to see how far it goes. Maybe this fall or if we get some cooler weather any time soon.
There are a lot of holes in the rocks here, so many in fact that I'm going to call this Swiss Cheese Canyon.
Several of these little mini caves have obviously been used as animal dens.
Instead of following the trail back, I decide to follow the canyon to where it hits the Morrow Trail. I've got to see where it goes. There are several more little rock tanks in this section of canyon. None are very large or contain water but if we get a good thunderstorm I'd imagine the water here might last for months.
It starts getting a little sketchy and it doesn't look as if I can follow the canyon all the way.
No, definitely not. The drop off here is about thirty feet so I decide to leave the canyon and follow the ridge down. It's a short little rocky section but at least it's doable.
I hit the wash where the Morrow Trail goes and it's covered with hundreds of footprints from hikers. In the sandy wash sections of the canyon I was in, there were none. I wonder how many hundreds or even thousands of hikers pass by here every year and never even consider what might be up in these canyons?
Just like a hike doesn't start until you leave the road, an adventure doesn't start until you leave the trail. I'm sure I've hiked by here plenty of times myself but never again will I go by without thinking about what awaits me up in these little passages to adventure. And maybe if I just got up a little earlier I'd be able to find out how far that canyon actually goes. Of course, I think that now, at night in front of my computer. When morning comes, I feel differently. I always do. Well, almost always.