Monday, August 28, 2000

Burning Man Or Ring Of Fire?

The Surly Bighorn is your friend.

Trespassing Spies In The House of Ultra-Love

BEEF-JERKY SUMMARY:
37 miless in the San Gorgonio Wilderness
Some climbing, a few rocks. Big trees.
Minimal sensory overload from trail-betties.
9-1/2 hrs, more or less, whatever.

FATTED CALF BBQ:

Yes, my ultra-List love monkeys, you've been waiting for this all week. Another istallment of Boldly Glowing Where None Others Have Disregarded Posted Warnings Before. Not mere signs and barbed wire, but pushing out beyond ordinary frontiers of brain-deaded consciousness. You too can shuffle in the footsteps of another high-mileage narrative.

Our mandate from the Mountin' Gawdz was a mere, self-imposed 37mile lollipop of mountain fun. This particular installment was in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. This group consisted of Dr Casino Bingo, Balto the Wonder Dog, Tara Lipinsky, and yours truly Draw Poker. In the words of Don Henley, we four were the New Squids In Town.

San Gorgonio raises its indifferent grey bulk 11,200' above the fleshpots and pleasure domes of Cabazon, gateway to Palm Springs. From the peak you can see it's rival Mt San Jacinto to the south. It too tops 11,000ft. All that separates the two is a yawning gulf, a busy interstate, and the vanishing dreams of the Morongo Casino patrons. But San Jacinto has a tram which makes for more abundant humor references than Gorgonio. Here, we had to make do with a handful who'd found their way to the top with the latest that REI has to offer. I felt nearly naked.

All this was still several hours in the future. Our day began with a multi-switchback warm up out of Forsee Creek for several hours, then followed by some vigorous ridge running. A descent into Dollar Saddle was mere foreplay for the counter-clockwise circumnavigation of Gorgonio, which entailed some climbing. The trails at this point were nearly paved, the switchbacks insignificant, and there were passing lanes for rickshaws as well.

Gorgonio was reached. A taste-test on a 2-week old half-eaten Clif Bar was conducted. Good mouth feel, savory, with flavor bursts alternating with crunchiness. Onward. The circumnavigation continued. Rocky switchbacks, but once again, these were pallid and insignificant, probably not up to spec for other correspondents. We passed the 'must-see' DC-3 wreck, but missed it. It is more for the upwardly damned on this trail, craning to see when will it all end.

Our water bottles were nearly empty. This made for a 22mile interval between car-cooler and first water, as the previously passed springs were whiz-trickles over green rocks. However, because we were lucky Cali squirrels, there was a prevailing cool with periodic cloud cover. We didn't fry our narrow asses. At South Fork we pumped water, I using my special pump that closely resembled a dead squirrel. My companions shot sidelong glances at the evident disproportion of my right arm to my left. When all bottles were filled, I rearranged the squirrel on my head, as it was also my sun hat.

We started climbing...again! Another hour brought us back to Dollar Saddle. Balto had stretched out on a log. He was sleeping, perchance dreaming of a life where he was dancing on MTV. Britney Spears was cooing in his ear, luring him with shallow and transient carnalities. Tara was staring off into space. Our japeries woke him. He shook his head and said "Who's Britney Spears?"

Now it was only a mere 14 Cali miles back to the trailhead.

The last seven miles had all the rocks and roots we had coming up, but were now alert for our passage. Squirrels in trees hurled pinecones at us. Big horn sheep smoked cigarettes, drank beer and popped off rounds just to watch us dance. This was Livin' Large in the Food Chain.

CONCLUSIONS:

Experts have estimated that if this particular run were unkinked and laid out in a flat place, northern Ohio perhaps, it would probably equal 100 miles. But the effort and expense of doing this have stifled this line of empirical enquiry.

At the end of the day it was Just Us, a bucket of teamwork, and nary a naughty thought to distract us from our Higher Purpose. That alone is enough to make a grown man cry. Or a dead man come [thank you, Mick and Keith] depending on your perspective.

yours truly From the VisionKwest [Un]Divided Highway,
--Draw Poker

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