A Solo Mt. Laguna Hike
Mt. Laguna is quickly becoming a version of the Gorge for when I was in Portland. The scenery is nowhere near as spectacular as the Gorge, where waterfalls, cliffs, mountains, and forests greet you, but Mt. Laguna does offer a fair number of trails, and it works well in situations where I know I want to go break out the trekking poles, strap on a pack, and walk for a while. There were many occassions like this in Portland, where I didn't have a specific trail in mind, but a quick drive into the Gorge would leave me at some trailhead with some great hiking options.
Today, I basically wandered. The trails around Big Laguna Meadow are numerous, so I just followed them with a path-of-least resistance mentality, without ever really consulting a map. If it looked like a trail had too many people ahead, I would go the opposite direction at a fork. I followed a few trails to dead ends. I followed trails that looked nicer. I tried to create some form of a loop out of this. I wandered quite a bit, in what looks like about 12.5 miles.
Oh, and the rattlesnakes are out.
This was the first rattler that I've seen since moving down to San Diego. It's odd how something seemingly primal stops you dead in your tracks when there is something that is potentially harmful directly in your path. I didn't know exactly what I was looking at for at least a second, but my body came to a complete and sudden stop. My mind attempted to make sense of scales, diamond patterns, a slow movement. I was looking at a rattlesnake, a few feet in front of my on the trail, it's head and tail both obscured on either side of the trail. It took another second before I was convinced that it was a rattlesnake, the proof came as the end of the snake, and it's six rattles cleared the edge of the trail.
I don't like snakes, especially ones that can ruin a perfectly great Sunday afternoon. I find it mildly disoncerting that I was totally aware of him, but he didn't seem aware of me -- taking his sweet time to finish clearing out of my way. I had hoped that my loud stomping, the thwack of trekking poles, would alert any snakes within reasonable distance to either clear the way, or at least give me some warning before I feel the soft feeling of snake flesh under my shoe -- right before feeling the sharp insertion of snake teeth into my shin. This snake did nothing, and I get the feeling that, had I been paying even less attention than I already was, that I could have stepped right on the fella, ruining both of our Sundays.
I looked pretty much at the trail and nothing else for the rest of the hike.
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There were definitely times where I muttered to myself that I would never do this trail again...
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It can be hard to see in these times of stupidity, just how lucky we are...
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