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I'm well aware my problems are trivial compared to those of so many other people, so you don't have to tell me that, but a shit day is a shit day.  It began before I woke up, because I was ensconced in an endless dream of being held captive by a cult with magical powers, and every clever plot to escape I came up with ended up being thwarted.  I finally only woke up because the headache I'd gotten from trying to figure out how to beat these bastards finally got too extreme to stay within the dream world.  Then the day just got better and better.

I've been meaning to hike a trail called Barrett-Stoddard Road that faces into the Baldy canyon - you maybe have seen it in some of my earlier nature imagery as a linear scar across a green mountain - but I hadn't gotten around to to, so naturally today I decided to take a stab at it: At least for a scouting run, not the whole thing.  I was gonna take it extra easy because I've been recovering from a cold.  It was just supposed be a leisurely nature hike with some nice scenery.

Unfortunately, it isn't very clear where Barret-Stoddard Road begins.  There's a parking lot attached to it, but different (unlabeled) trails go off in various directions, and ironically the one I was looking for seemed the least likely because it was somewhat hidden behind power structure.  So I just assumed the other one, which was wide and clear and well-paved - at least for the first few meters - must be Barrett-Stoddard.  There were some worthwhile things to see along the way: I got to see a guy rapelling down a sheer rock wall (and even got pretty good a shot of it!

So goes my adventure down the wrong path, to experience scenery that nobody ever wants to see - not to mention being a strenuous hike in parts, broken ground, and rock slide areas, and the ground can serve as a heat mirror focusing the Sun on your body.  So as you're getting disappointment about not seeing the wonders you're expected, you can compound that ruefulness with the realization that this place is kind bad.  Not horrifying bad, just designed to make you feel like an a asshole just being there. Exhibits 1-4:

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To take the edge off realizing what an unknown shithole I'd apparently been hiking, I tried harder to appreciate the few beautiful things that show up, and a few did.  On one again there was a guy rapelling dow a sheer rock wall, and it was interesting to behalf for a few seconds.

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And this stream turned out downright idyllic, so that's one of the few consolations.

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Finally, I after arduously working my way back from this unnamed purgatory, gasping for breath because I was still recovering from a cold, and having to hide in the shade along the way every 30 seconds to avoid feeling like I was being char broiled even in mild weather.  It shouldn't have been that exhausting a trip, but I'd overestimated the energy I would have with my first hike in so many weeks, and recovering from a cold to be.  I also gravely underestimated the vertical aspects of the path, which do and up substantially, all of which has to be corrected for on the return trip.  So I ended up doing my exhaustion strategy - take 50 slow steps, rest 50 seconds, take 50 slow steps, and so on.  Seems to work well enough.

Anyway, once I finally got back to the car, I was so disappointed in my trip, I decided to extend it by driving all the way to top of Mt. Baldy (or at least to the bottom of the sky lifts, whichs pretty close to the top) to get some good scenery.  I'm not entirely sure if I've ever been that high befofe outside an airplane.  It was certainly a lot of help driving up the switchbacks at a time of day when nobody else was on them, pressing you to speed up when you don't want to.  Anyway, here's some of the photos I managed to salvage from the trip once I drove up Baldy:

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And finally, a tree of hope, home, and love amid all the dismal:

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And another big consolaton prize: A music video vinvolving parabolic weightlessness - it's not a Hollywood stunt, there are the sapoeple who offer the ride commercially.  And its a verry compelling song

Originally posted to Troubadour on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 05:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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