This week I’ve been itching to go on a hike. I seriously could not stop thinking about getting into the local mountains and walk amongst the rocky giants. I could already sense the smell of chaparral and oaks filling my nostrils, and a cool mountain chill from the nearby snow on my face. I longed to be back in the mountains, where I could be alone with nature and have her calm any and all thoughts in my mind. It was as if I was a junkie craving their next fix and waiting impatiently for it.
I knew I just wanted to do a local trail, no long trip like my last excursion. I just wanted to be out with the familiar San Gabriel mountains, but where to go? East Fork Trail/Bridge to Nowhere is always crowded. Cucamonga Peak peaked (pun intended) my interest, but if I am doing this solo and if the mountains just received some snow, then it probably would not be in my best interest to do. What was I to do, where should I go? There are so many choices that it is hard to choose. Finally after visiting the Sierra Clubs 100 peaks of California, I stumbled upon a small local peak called Sunset Peak. It looked fantastic! It was nearby, above the smog line, below the snow line, and was often untraveled by hikers. I knew I had found my trail. I jotted down some notes and prepared my day pack, because I was leaving before the sun rise.
Morning broke as I passed Mt. Baldy Village, and headed down Glendora Ridge Rd. I glanced at my notes and read that I needed to travel 5 miles on this road. I put on some music and took to the road. It was a narrow mountain road with patches of snow here and there, mainly in the shadows of the mountain. I stopped on turnouts to capture pictures of the landscape and the rising sun. I was the only one on this road, and it felt amazing. The feeling of being alone out on this road was fantastic, and I knew that when I am doing this next year it was going to be just like this. I couldn’t wait to find my trail, but at the same time I didn’t want this feeling to end.
After sometime, I began to think that I missed the entrance to my trail. I tried to figure out how long I have been driving but I really could not grasp the distance due to the winding of the road. I told my self that I would turn around at the next turnout, and just as I began to do so, the truck died. Just to give you some background information, I had borrowed my roommates SUV, and apparently his gas gauge was malfunctioning, because I went from slightly a full tank to empty in a second. That’s not the worst of it at the moment, you see I didn’t tell anybody where I was going exactly until right before entering the mountains, and as far as I could tell, my text did not go out.
I didn’t panic, I knew I had plenty of water, food, and a fleece for warmth, and I knew which way to walk to get to nearest town, as I had no cell phone signal for them moment. Just as I began to write a note to notify a ranger that I had run out of gas and was walking to the village, my phone beeped. My friend that I informed where I was going replied to my text. I didn’t want to reply back with I ran out of gas, at least not yet. I then heard the sound of an engine coming around the bend. I looked and saw a yellow truck, that looked oddly similar to the “Pussy Wagon” from the Kill Bill movies. I flagged it down, thinking maybe I can hitch into town or at the very least have them notify a Ranger for me. The truck had a couple of bow hunters in it, and they had no room, but said they will tell a Ranger for me, but it could be a couple of hours before a Ranger would show up. I thanked them and they headed off.
Now what should I do? I really can’t set out on foot and try to find a trail to have somewhat of an adventure while I waited, or at least I shouldn’t. I need to stay at last known location in case help arrives. I climbed a small hill that was made from a road cut and as I was at the top, my phone had enough bars to make a call. The closest person to my location was my mom, so I called her, boy was that fun. It really wasn’t that bad I just didn’t want to ask my mom for help, but at the same time I knew my mom would come and rescue me, so I called.
Mom arrived a couple hours later with a gas can and we drove down to the nearest gas station, which is all the way down the mountain. Then we had to drive all the way back to where my friend’s truck was parked. I must admit I did enjoy the time I spent with my mom driving through the winding mountain road. We shared stories of times that we had spent on these roads. It was fun reminiscing with my mom.
When I put gas back into the car, my mom asked if where I was going to now, and I told her I was going straight home. Even though I wanted to find the trail I missed it was now one in the afternoon, and a little late to be starting a seven mile hike in winter.She said good idea, and we went our separate ways. As I drove alone down the mountain again I thought to myself, well I wanted an adventure, but this isn’t what I expected. All and all it wasn’t a bad day. I still got to see the sun rise above the mountain range, and I got some alone time with nature. The best part though, for me, was driving with my mom. I know that might seem a little corny, but it’s true. I’m going to miss my mom very much when I leave. I’m going to miss everyone, to tell the truth. Some more than they will ever know. Yet I can’t let that stop me. I waited a long time for an opportunity like this to arrive, and I had finally made it possible for myself to do it. After all a once in a lifetime experience awaits just beyond the horizon.