DAY TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE
Today was the hottest day of the year in the desert, perhaps the hottest day in several years. In my mind I was back in Lake Tahoe, or at the beach, enjoying cool breezes and cooler water, anywhere but here. My body, however, was here and that's where I had to hike today. I figured I'd just go for a short hike on the Hopalong Cassidy Trail in Palm Desert and be done with it. I knew I'd be alone because no one else would be crazy enough to go hiking on a day like today; it would be pure suicide. But I found out there are a lot of nutjobs out there.
I get to the parking area to go hiking expecting to see it abandoned but instead it's as packed as a cool winter day. What is going on here? Has the whole world gone insane? I think those are people on the trail up ahead so these cars must belong to hikers and not back to school shoppers at Target.
Good heavens, people! It's 113º! What are you doing here? I guess insanity loves company.
I start up the trail and notice that the people I saw earlier have now vanished. Were they really here? Has the heat gotten to me so quickly and caused me to hallucinate? What happened to those people?
As I go up the trail the people don't reappear but this trail does. I've never seen this before and I wonder if it actually exists. The only way to determine that is to take it.
The trail steadily climbs and seems to be going in the right direction. It's steep and as I climb the heat burns the inside of my nostrils with each breath. It is so dry I may have to start packing saline nasal spray in my pack along with my other survival gear.
But it soon vanishes, like those mysterious people that I saw earlier.
Oh wait! I think those shadowy figures on the next ridge are people, or are they?
The "trail" I took gets even more non-existent so I just have to guess which direction to go.
Even though the "trail" is not here any longer it's better than hiking this scar on the land.
And someone has definitely been this way before.
I just have to make it over this ridge and I'll head down the trail back to the cars. So much for hiking the Hopalong Cassidy Trail today.
The trail I took today came out just at the part where the newer south trail hits the Bump and Grind Road. I only have to walk a few feet on the road before I hit a real trail. So there's not a trail here yet but when it gets used a bit more it'll be a good way up this hill without having to walk that boring road.
So I'm off down the trail and back to the car before I do any permanent brain damage. Or maybe it's just a little too late for that.
I'm still wondering, what ever happened to those people?