Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day


I cannot believe I have been hiking every day for four months. It seemed like such a crazy idea to start with and it seems even crazier now but I've been having fun so I might as well keep going. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll be able to write a few thoughts about these first four months but then I wanted to do it after two months, then three and then 100 day so we'll see.

Today, since I couldn't find a May Pole anywhere I decided to hike up to a flag pole. I went to do this hike a few months ago with my boys but we didn't get to the top. The terrain was too sketchy for the kids and I'm not going to put my kids or their buddies at risk to any degree.

I went out by Lake Cahuilla to climb this thing called Rod 2. Maybe it's named after the flag pole on the top.

The climb is up this loose, rocky slope of the kind that is all too common in the area around my home. It's slow going heading up and even slower coming down.

It's steep so you gain elevation quickly. I'm up a couple hundred feet in less than ten minutes.

When I get to the gap at the top of the gully I look down to see if it would be better to go down this way. Uh, no.

I start to climb up this way but it doesn't look very good and I don't like climbing class four or five on loose rock. I back off to look for another way.

This way looks good. OK, it doesn't look GOOD but it is better than the other way and at least I can see the flag waving at the top.

I get to the flag and find it's detached from the pole on the bottom. I don't have any way to fix it so I just have to leave it how it is.

The base of the pole is covered in flying bugs. I'd like to sit up here and enjoy the view for a few minutes but that isn't even an option.

It's too bad because there's a real nice view from up here.

I get a picture of the benchmark near the top. I don't get the elevation because the topo map says the height is 465 feet. Of course, climbing it feels like it is ten times that high. Every step is precarious.

I am not looking forward to the climb down. When climbing, it is important to maintain three points of contact. That means only move one hand or foot at a time and keep the other three connected to the rock. On the way down this thing I keep five points of contact. Two hands, one foot and two buns. It is not a fun climb down.
I look down at the Jeep (you can click to enlarge) and wish I were there NOW. Downclimbing is not something anyone likes to do but it must be done. I am immensely happy when I finally reach solid ground and can make my way home. I am glad I made the climb but for me once is enough. Now I've got to get the bugs out of my shirt and shorts.

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