Angeles Nat Forest, above Sierra Madre CA, hothouse of Rose Bowl Queens
Sunday dawned clear and warm. This was the first calendar day of autumn and yet was alive with hundreds of eager, ready and willing tiny bugs that wanted to homestead in any available nostril. That's the glory of love.
Meanwhile, J-Lo was making her final tearful preparations. Bennifer was in the bathroom sulking. Her Inflatable Trail Companions in the form of Dr Casino Bingo, Draw Poker and MC Stumpy-D [shout out to all his homies in the HP!] had gathered at Chantry Flats.
They were to run a short 22 miles to Millard Campground. A three-hour cruise. Butt-kickers and high-knees the whole way. Enough time to review the contents of the latest JoggersWhirld, and then get back to the mall for a smoothie. Ask Dave, I've forgotten her name already.
The climb up Mt Wilson-Phillips passed in a blizzard of splits and statistics. Stumpy-D and Dr Bingo traded whiffleball headers. Draw Poker's head snored inside his special mesh bug-burkha. It had the stylish seam up the back, but no garter belt. Everytime he sneezed, a little green friend expired. The mesh also diffused the view of how big Stumpy-D's ass was getting over the last several months. J-Lo was sniffling and whining about why we weren't paying any attention to her caboose.
Heidi Klum made her conversational debut, and Draw Poker woke up. He'd been having a dream about what his youth was like during the Harding administration. At the top of the Mt WIlson-Phillips Toll Road, the cities were spread out before us. It was a balmy 85 at 9:30 AM.
The next stretch down to IdleHour was sunny, then turned into shade. We were studly, once were fab. The sight of next week's IdleHour Aid Station was silent and expectant of staggering shuffling pre-dawn mutants. We crossed the Winton Bridge and made the first climb before the Descent into The Canyon of Despond.
The alert traveller would have noticed that Mt Rob Lowe was a blinding white massif, which only hinted at the delights ahead. But we were still young and foolish. We passed Idlehour Campground before we realized that the creek trailcrossing was bone-dry. We doubled back to the campground, found the creek and began to pump. Both Bingo and Stumpy-D had their bladders out, hefting them and taking their measure. The party member with the most developed right arm was delegated to pump, and pump he did. J-Lo was petulant that her cel-phone dropped Ben's FU calls in the canyon.
Matters improved when a witless HikerBetty decided to go wading with her doggy just upstream of our pumping. Nothing like stirred up sediments to clear the air. We departed, we could hear Rover's excitement as he buried a bone.
Leaving behind the majority of the Rush Limbaugh Experimental Forest, we began to climb out of the canyon. We left behind the morally debilitating effete low 80s temperatures, and into the manly character-building mid 90's. I regretted not wearing tights and polypro.
Stumpy-D ran ahead up to Sam Merrill. He promised he'd keep an eye out for the glacier, and if not that, Mallory. That left Bingo, Poker, and J-Lo. J-Lo ordered a pizza, but no word on sharing it.
Sam Merrill was waiting for us when we arrived. Stumpy-D had taken a restorative nap. He decided he was having more fun than was possible, and elected to descend to Millard via the Mt Lowe Road. Bingo and Poker, sensing an opportunity for Calvinist Redemption, maintained the One True Course down Echo Mountain. J-Lo's phone came alive, and her hoop earrings flashed in the sunlight at the sound of lies. Thank god for nationwide calling plans.
Bingo and Poker were able to determine that the parabolic mirrors and heating coils embedded in the trail work just fine. It was probably about 100 out there, give or take. A raccoon-skin coat began to sound pretty good. Poker pined for his mukluks. J-Lo whimpered under a white sunhat with a 48" brim. News copters hovered overhead.
The Sunset trail down to Millard was partially shaded. Our lads skipped and danced in the best traditions of Morris Dancers everywhere. Both lads resolutely banished decadent images of cool shimmering supermarkets, walk-in freezers, plunging feet into motel cocktail ice machines, Hawaiian waterfalls, Anna Kournikova stumbling out of a Fijian lagoon, Heidi Klum on a slip-n-slide and any number of other debilitating distractions.
At the finish recovery was enabled by large restorative doses of pickle brine, and a stick of butter.
Such was the day as it was spent yesterday.