DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SIX
The sun was brutal yet again today. I guess I'll be able to say that for the next few months here. It's the desert; what should I expect? So what did I do this afternoon? I went chasing the sunset.
I decided to go and try to find a place to watch the sunset and chose the Mecca Hills above Ladder Canyon. I know there's a nice view of San Jacinto from up there and thought it would make a nice spot. On the way, however, I notice a lot of smoke from a fire near I-10 and I wonder if it's going to wreck my view. Oh well, what can you do?
I get out of my air conditioned vehicle and the heat smashes me immediately. The canyon is completely enveloped in shade but it is still 103º. Amazingly, I get used to it very quickly. It's like jumping into the ocean. At first it's shocking, then it's tolerable and after a while it feels pretty darn good.
Heading through the narrows of Ladder Canyon, I am thinking I have two goals. One, I want to get up top before the sun sets and, two, I want to get back out before it's completely dark. I brought a flashlight, just in case, but it's still kinda spooky in here at night.
I find the first trail out of the canyon I come to and take it. I've never gone this way before but my goal tonight is not to do the loop with Painted Canyon but to see the sun go down.
I am too late. The smoke from the fire hovers on the horizon but the sun has already made its exit. Next time I'll have to find a better vantage point or get an earlier start.
I'd better get back before it gets too dark. The moon is already out but it will not be of any help deep in those canyons. I do not want to step on a snake or scorpion.
Speaking of scorpions, someone made this little rock formation of one. Maybe some crazy scorpion cult waiting for a lone hiker to wander up here at night so they could feed his doughy body to their...
Wait! I'm starting to get crazy here. It's just a symbol of an animal. A multi appendaged animal that kills with a poison stinger, rips apart its quarry with claws and...
OK, I'm leaving. Not because I'm scared or anything but thinking about scorpions eating has made me hungry. I wonder if my wife made anything good for dinner.
There is still plenty of light left. I hope.
I get to the ladder and have to briefly pull out my flashlight. Once I'm in the larger, main canyon I am OK without it.
I make it just in time. Of course, I have to drive through Mecca at night so I'm not out of the woods yet. Maybe the scorpion cult is waiting for the full moon on Tuesday. I know where I won't be then.