Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Privilege of Membership


I decided to have a little wilderness experience before work today, Living Desert style. Being a member, I get to go in as early as 7 a.m. which is great since I had to work at 10.

They've got this snazzy new sign at the entrance to the hiking area. I am very disappointed, however, that the area will be closed all summer. I guess I just have to go hiking in the mountains and at the beach instead.

There aren't a lot of flowers still blooming but I do get this Desert Chia, salvia columbariae on its last legs.

Rather than head all the way up the trail, I decide to follow the footprints up this wash.

I find some locoweed or Datura growing in the wash. Indians used this stuff to induce hallucinations but it is highly toxic. More than a few people have died trying to use it so I don't even touch it. Some would say I'm loco enough already.

I walk past a couple of signs that say No Trespassing but they are facing away from the Living Desert. I guess they don't want people coming in from this direction.

As I hike up a nearby hill, it is easy to see why. The Vintage Club is right next door and no one wants those deadbeats trying to come in without paying.

As I get to the top of the hill, I find this old lookout area. There is a newer, similar lookout area back off of the main trail. It is obvious that this one has not been used in quite a while. They probably changed the location because the Vintage residents didn't want anyone looking down on them.

I hike down the trail that led to the lookout area. It also hasn't been used in quite a while and is quite eroded. It doesn't help that it was built in the natural waterway instead of up the ridge.

I've seen a few animals on my little excursion, some quails, a Jackrabbit and a falcon. Unfortunately, they were all just a bit too quick for me to get a good picture of them. This roadrunner was nice enough to pose for me.

On my hike back, I find several golf balls that had been launched into the wilderness from those derelicts at the Vintage. From their location, it was obvious that they were purposefully hit into this area. Is it any wonder the Living Desert wants to keep them out?

Disgusted with the disrespect some people have for wild places, even if they're not that wild, I pick up a couple handfuls of leftover trash and deposit them on my way out.

As I head for the exit, I see the teeming masses of non-members getting ready for their time and I'm glad I was able to enjoy the solitude that only membership provides.

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