Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
(They took photos while I did this.)
Coast camp was 2.8 miles from trailhead parking lot, 200 yards from the beach. The land was rolling California scrub, grass and hardy-leaved low brush, but there was a solitary seventy-plus foot tall eucalyptus tree right where the trail forked to the beach. C called this "home tree."
We stood underneath it for an hour, showing each other moves. O the Roger Rabbit, me the pantomimes for walking, pulling a rope, being trapped in a box. C described workouts and we attempted to recreate them as rain dripped off the leaves onto us.
I wrote S's name in seaweed on the beach; I wished she were there. R and C took arm's-length photos of themselves and attempted handstands. O went to the cliffs and declared them "conglomerate rock," a lesson from her geology class. Later R read aloud from the map: "Standing near or under cliffs invites catastrophe."
Dinner was boiled and served. Night fell before 6 p.m. No one wanted to be out in the dark and the rain, so we passed the time supine, damp and defrosting in our sleeping bags, playing 20 Questions and Botticelli. O's crowning achievement was choosing "breadbox" as her object, to nullfiy the question "Is it bigger than a breadbox?"
A solitary female hiker had been missing for a week. Her car was still in the lot. Authorities said she must have been washed away by the tide. O told vague and terrifying stories while we were drifting off to sleep in our tent: "Now is a bad time to tell you this, but two people were shot in the head while they were sleeping in their tent, and the police never found who did it." We did not find the female hiker. We were not shot in the head while sleeping in our tent.
We walked for six hours on the second day. Twelve miles along the coast, up through the scrub, past occasional piles of gray stone, into the forested hills, then back down a rocky trail to home tree. It was at first overcast, then it was raining. At Arch Rock, I stood on a cliff a hundred feet over the waves and worried that a gust would blow us all into the foam. We ate tuna out of polyethylene bags as rainwater traveled down our necks into our raincoats and spray from the ocean muddied the trail. At the highest points, we walked past foggy meadows surrounded by dense stands of very tall, very straight Douglas fir trees with nothing but dead branches until the tufts of canopy at their very tops. There was light drumming all around. We walked all together, in pairs, and, toward the end of the day, alone, with distance between us.
We sang at times: bluegrass songs, Simon and Garfunkel, Everly Brothers. We played a familiar trail game, where participants take turns singing lyrics containing an agreed-upon key word. O won during the "rain" round. The game degenerated into grousing about Alanis Morrissette during a later round. We ate a container of Alouette cheese spread between lunch and dinner. Mice ate through a bag of nuts, pretzels, and gummy penguins.
I had strange dreams Sunday night. There were many, but I remember only two. In the first, a former best friend and I had reconciled at the local swimming pool. I kissed her, but she became a digital clock connected by flexible metal tubing to other robotic/electronic apparati and two ovoid rubber breasts. Her form did not faze me, but the perceived lack of intimacy did, and I said to the digital clock, "It's hard for me to know what you want me to do, because I can't see your eyes or hear your voice." The time on her face read 12:something. In the second, O drove the four of us down a long, narrow pier, at the end of which dozens of great white sharks thrashed and spasmed. The water level rose and O did not have the driving skill to reverse off the pier without driving us into the water. The water filled the car, and the sharks danced around us. When I told O about this dream, she said, "I love killer whales!" She had misheard me.
Monday we struck camp in a downpour and walked uphill two miles along a fire road-turned-stream to the car. Thousands of annelids swam in the channel. O remembered a mnemonic, Kings Play Chess On Fine Grain Sand, for kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. We drove in a downpour to the city, where the sky was clearer, and brunch was served.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I see it now, nunc pro tunc, as evidence that we were MTB.