Monday, November 12, 2007

The Great Outdoors

This is procrastination. Just so you know, I've been writing various essays today about how great I am/how great medical schools are and am sick of writing about it. As a release, I'm going to write about something I like.

I like the outdoors. A couple friends and I decided after our poker game (... no comment on this one) that we would go to Anza-Borrego State Park (It's a huge park in the desert east of Temecula). We saddled up in the Expedition at about 2AM Saturday morning and got on the trail at about 3:30AM.

Before we arrived, I got to test out the four-wheel drive before we got to the trailhead. It was amazing; on 35MPH on dark, twisty, sandy trails with no one in sight or sound at 3AM, windows down, with only the sound of the engine and the violent desert wind. It was so much fun.

Anyways, we started hiking at 3:30AM or so, and realized that there was no moon. We lost the trail after about 5 minutes (or rather, we ignored the trail and went where we wanted to go). We hiked for about an hour in very low light, mostly avoiding the choya (sp? It's a very nasty type of cactus that is nicknamed "the jumping cactus" because of it's tendency to 'jump' onto you from trail sides or 'jump' back and stick you a second time after you pull back from getting stuck). We found the jeep trail we were trying to connect to and made camp at the base of a rocky hill (we don't usually use tents in California, so by 'camp' I mean we threw down a tarp and our sleeping bags).

Once on my back, I looked up at the stars and was almost moved to tears. It was glorious. I've never seen stars like there are in the desert. In LA, you can almost count them, but not in the desert. I really felt like I was in the throne room of God; I saw the stars as I had never seen them before. Talk about proof of a Creator.

We were awakened about two hours later by some Boy Scouts who were getting on the trail just after dawn. I walked around and prayed for a bit before waking up my sleepy companions, and we were of. After going over the first hill, we decided the trail was boring and we picked a mountain to conquer. So we started off the trail.

It was a relatively easy hike, but was sometimes challenging to get past all the vegetation (and the CHOYA!). The desert was surprisingly green and even more alive than it usually is. We even saw some Manzaneta, which definitely didn't belong.

We conquered the mountain and decided it was time for lunch. Once we had eaten, we picked the direction that looked like it would take us back to my car, and we started hiking. Another few hours later, we were back at the car. Another fun trail drive later we were on our way back to civilization by about 1PM.

What's the point? I'm not sure. I had a great time. It was a great hike and reminded me how much I really do need to get outside and conquer stuff (like a pile of dirt and rocks, for example; I struck fear into the hearts of other piles of dirt and rocks with the threat of my boots being atop them!). It was a manly 24 hours that was very refreshing. Kind of like a shower is refreshing for cleanliness, dirt and sore muscles are refreshing for manliness. It was long overdue.

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