Due to circumstances wildly out of our control, our hitch prep was less than ideal. Our truck, “Tiny,” was out of commission; it needed a new transmission pump. Our original plans to go to Vasquez rocks were thwarted by a crazed mountain bike man. While the PCTA scrambled to find alternative plans we remained for three days flexibly inflamingo. Though our best laid plans had gone awry we persevered through the opposition and arrived at San Bernardino National Forest with our heads held high and our bellies full of Jack in the Box.
At Applewhite Campground Greg, our PCTA liaison, greeted us and declared, “Everything you see, from campsites 1 through 14, is yours.” As we surveyed our kingdom, from the grassy knolls to the picnic tables, we felt things were looking pretty good. We had access to running water and flushing toilets, ample food and ample space, and we thought to ourselves, “not bad!” It didn’t feel quite right to have all of these amenities at our fingertips, but we can’t complain.
We spent our first three days slashing through 6,900 feet of trail. We dug treat, busted down berm and removed vegetation. On the fourth day we set two check steps and a water bar like it was our job! Oh wait… it was our job… But either way we rocked it! On St. Patrick’s Day we were lucky enough to be graced by 14 volunteers from Pomona College. The volunteers ventured valiantly to the worksite vanquishing the verminous undergrowth with a vengeance. That day we covered 1,400 feet.
We spent our final days hunting for rock, sending rocks downhill, sliding rocks, rolling rocks, carrying rocks, dancing on rocks, and setting rocks in place; all in an effort to build two rock retaining walls. It rocked! On the last day we laid the finishing rocks of our retaining walls, which stood erected like monuments to our triumphs on the trail. Words cannot describe how we felt at the end of this hitch, so we leave you with five possible farewells. Choose your own adventure!
I.Rather than walk down the trail we soared from peak to peak, de scending like eagles, our wings gilded with triumph and rock bars clenched in our talons for we were the raptors of victory and the mountains were our nest.
II. As we made the long trek down one last time, salty beads poured down my face, whether they were tears or sweat I do not know, but the feelings that welled up inside me were those of a champion. As the moisture saturated my luxuriant mustache I realized that this was the true reward for my labors; the taste was pure like the finest champagne California has to offer.
IV. As the golden orb of the sun set over the mountains, a sense of pride washed over me, the kind that I have not felt since the last time I listened to the styling’s of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. It was in that moment that I realized that I was The Boss and the mountains were my band. Together there was nothing that we couldn’t conquer. We were unstoppable. AMERICA!
V. “It was like the part in the movies, when the hero shows up at the end to receive his hard earned medal, and all of his enemies in the crowd start to shrug off their grudges, as they crack slow smiles, clapping their hands off for him! Yeah!”