Farewell to 2017 Hike

What a way to end the year! We (my dogs, aka “the girls”) explored a new-to-us trail that had been recommended by someone we met on the San Bernardino Peak Trail. This trail didn’t climb much but followed the undulations of the mountain as it circled more or less at the same elevation. The difference between the trail head and the destination, John’s Meadow, was about 300 feet, not much unless you consider that to reach said “meadow” one had traversed up and down, up and down a hundred short dips in the trail.

Despite the flawless weather, there was only one other vehicle parked at the trailhead which served two separate trails, so I wasn’t surprised to have the trail to myself. We passed through stands of venerable sugar pines and cedar, bearing scars of wildfires long forgotten.

 

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This was not one of the survivors but yet it stands.

 

Gradually the trail gained altitude, though the hum of highway traffic below followed us for a couple of miles. The girls were delighted when the trail crossed a trickle that might pass for a stream in wetter years, where they greedily lapped and lounged in the clear water.

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We left the sounds of civilization behind as the trail worked its way into the recesses of hidden canyons where stunted buckthorn and manzanita made feeble attempts to encroach on the trail. The south facing slopes were bathed in lovely winter sunlight.

 

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Molly blazes the trail ahead.

Pausing at the top of a ridge, I heard an unfamiliar, distant noise. It sounded almost like a wind stirring in the treetops, but there was no breeze. As we approached a deep canyon, I realized with some amazement, that what I was hearing was rushing water. We had arrived at Forsee Creek, still flowing after almost a year without rain!

 

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Ice coats the stepping stones across the creek.

We crossed the creek following the trail up the far side of the steep canyon to find that after cresting the hill, it dropped into another canyon with yet another, smaller stream. While stopped to retrieve a jacket from my hydration pack, Sadie uttered a low growl. Ears pricked towards the brush lining the stream, I followed her intense gaze. I could see nothing but I heard a rustling of something larger than a bird but smaller than an elephant. Having no interest in facing a bear, I gathered up my pack and scurried back up the trail. There’s nothing like the thought of danger to lend wings to tired feet.

The adrenaline rush soon subsided and I became increasingly aware of my weariness and sore feet, but the trail remained as lovely and quiet as before. Only the distant growl of a passing jet, hidden by the canopy of trees, reminded me of the miles to go before I sleep.

 

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Twin, dead pines overlook Slide Peak in the distance.

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “Farewell to 2017 Hike

    1. The dogs probably give me a greater sense of security than is warranted but I can’t help but think most predators would be deterred by them. My biggest fear is that they would be injured trying to protect me. At 55 and 65 pounds, there’s no way I could carry either one of them out if it came to that.

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  1. Another finely constructed wilderness saga, the kind of London-esque story we’ve come to expect from you, where predictably, nobody gets murdered. Nice work. The descriptions remind us very much of Jack London.

    I am serious. You will want to look up “All Gold Canyon” by London as an example, a naturalist story where actually, somebody does get murdered. I believe this would increase your circulation.

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  2. I don’t usually let the truth get in the way of a good story but with such a limited cast of characters, the only one who could be murdered in this saga is ME! That said, I will consider your valid criticism and strive for more murders, although a bodice ripper style rape is more my style.
    Thanks for the Jack London recommendation. I appreciate suggestions to round out my library. I’m currently reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and loving every step of the way.

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  3. Thank you , Judy, to share with us your adventures and your discoveries in the montains , the trees , the bushes, the streams and even the rushing water in the canyon. Mysterious sources. Thanks also to share you emotionsand also your complicity with the dog. Posts like the yours incite to love the wild nature.
    Love ❤
    Michel

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    1. Michelle, I love your description of my relationship with my dogs! “emotion and complicity”. They are fond of me beyond all reason and I find that to be a very endearing quality. I treasure each day of their youth and good health, knowing how short their life span is relative to mine. Anyone who has loved a dog, understands the contract with sorrow we sign when we enter a relationship with them.
      I hope your treatment process is progressing smoothly. Are you beyond the age of consideration for a kidney transplant? If it were a liver you needed, I’m sure all of your blog followers would volunteer to donate a piece of theirs as we have all grown terribly fond of you over the years.

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