Monday, August 29, 2005

The Grotto

When we pulled up early this morning to the Circle X Ranger Station in the Santa Monica Mountains, the sign read "off duty," which I thought was odd for a Sunday. Nonetheless, we read the bulliten board safety info,grabbed a map, and began our descent into The Grotto, a land of giant boulders set deep in the valley. The trail to the destination was blazing (to put it mildly). It felt like walking a treadmill between four opened, preheated ovens. The fact that there was very little sign of other hikers or animals made me wonder if we weren't supposed to be on this trail at this time..

The actual Grotto itself was pleasant. We had to traverse over ridiculously giant rocks that were basically balancing on one another in order to descend down into the dry river bed. Making conversation, Viki asked if there were an earthquake and she suddenly became pinned under a boulder if I would kill her even if she begged me to end her internal and external suffering...

Yeah, Debbie Downer...I know...

"Well, if it were ME, how would you put me out of my misery even if you COULD do it??" I exclaimed.

"I dunno, probably throw rocks at your head I guess..."

Though the Grotto itself was a blast, the return trip was not of equal blast quality. The problem with hiking into a dry valley is that the entire trip back is an sweltering uphill climb. The two rangers - who apparently decided to sleep in on a Sunday - were present upon our return and informed us that a heat advisory was in effect at the time and that the two of them had been recommending that hikers hit the mall. "Good to know," I thought.....

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