Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day Of Adventure

Surfing With Dolphins:

I had arranged to meet Dave Vasquez from work and his friend Alex at the Venice Pier at 7:30am for some surfing. I had never met Alex or his wife/girlfriend Shelagh who was to show up with him. I was introduced to him through another friend, Dave Mah(cue Bruce McCulloch's, These Are The Daves I Know) and thus made contact through Facebook. I saw Alex and Shelagh as I was unloading my board and called out but he failed to realize who I was and just passed by on the other side of the street. We introduced ourselves later on the beach and then headed out into the surf.

I'm happy to say paddling out was much easier. I actually managed to stay on my board and paddle confidently. Only when I had to paddle hard up the face of one four foot wave which just started to break as I hit the top did I get bumped off and to the side of my board. Once out past the break I was seated comfortably atop my board for the first time, balance having suddenly kicked in over night. More than likely it was the accumulated experience of falling off my board ten times the previous day I was out and watching how Alex was sitting on his board and rolling with the waves. In either case, I received kudos from Alex who said I looked like I knew what I was doing so I was stoked that at first glance I no longer appeared like the biggest kook in the line.

Catching waves was a different story. My shoulder has kinda packed it in and is in desperate need of a rest having an old rotator cuff injury. I tried for a couple but between the three of us nobody was catching anything.

Dave Vasquez showed up about forty minutes after we had paddled out and it was evident that the surf had grown in size since we had arrived as it took him a solid ten minutes to get out past the wash. I could see him grinning as he kept getting thumped by the larger waves break towards him and then that grin disappear as he ditched his board and dove through a large one to avoid a crushing.

We chatted while sitting on our boards and then I took off for shore shortly thereafter. Just as I was paddling in Alex or Dave called out my name. I turned around and sat up on my board and looked at where Alex was pointing. "Dolphins" he yelled. There was a pod of Dolphins around seventy to a hundred feet from us playing in the surf. Please allow me to repeat that just in case you missed it, I WAS SURFING WITH FRIGGIN' DOLPHINS!

Nature made my day... again.

The Hike:

Woodsy and I decided on hiking and headed south from Los Angeles to the hills above Lake Elsinore which is located in San Juan Capistrano. After a crappy drive in traffic we arrived in the parking lot and headed to the trail head a short distance away.

It was nice hiking in the twenty five degree warmth and the scrubby bushes of the Californian landscape provided shade for the majority of the walk. We didn't really have a plan where we were headed but we knew we wanted exercise and to hike for a couple of hours so we headed in the general direction of, "up".

As always, plenty of conversation was to be had. Topics covering work, surfing, nature, music, movies, women, family and food were discussed. Healthy portions of fart jokes were mixed in. When we reached a certain flat spot near a certain peak... which one I can't say because like I said we had no idea where we were going, we stopped and ate a granola bar after which we turned and headed back down.

On the way, we met a couple riding horses who were accompanied by four dogs. The cowboy having probably listened to us carry on for the last ten minutes looked at us and asked, "Well, have you solved the world's problems yet?"

At some point we diverged from the path we took up and found ourselves lost. We had plenty of water, food and clothing so we didn't sweat it. We knew the general direction we needed to head in so we continued down the trail and then found that it coughed us out on what appeared to be a sandy service road. We followed that road down towards the main street which we could see miles away and came across a ranch or two. Eventually we hit a large house with a foreboding gate around it, topped with barbed wire. There was an expected no trespassing sign which seemed a moot point considering there was nobody else out there. What gave that sign a little more oomph was the manikin head on a pike which had an arrow shot through it. It was semi-comical and semi-worrisome. Was this the Twilight Zone? While all this was happening a restored P51 Mustang was doing barrel rolls in the sky above us.

We continued down the road to where it emptied into a nice cluster of farms. It kind of appeared commune like. Not in the hippie sense but in the David Koresh, Waco sense. "Nice farms" said Adam. "Yeah, we should be fine so long as none of them are weed farms." I retorted. I had seen a documentary on rogue pot farmers in California who took to shooting anyone who happened to stumble on their grow operations and the thought rushed back to my consciousness right about the time I caught a waft of pot smoke from one of the back yards. We made it through without any problems and back to the car safe and sound.

The Recovery:

Our legs and asses were killing us. No, we didn't run across some hillbillies and get "Deliveranced". The extra hour of unplanned hiking really did us in. Neither one of us wanted to cook so pizza, beer and football on the television it was. This morning is to be followed with the same minus the beer and probably minus the pizza for the first half of the game. The jacuzzi might be in order as well.

One of the subjects we discussed on our hike was making the most of any situation. I think we achieved that. I never thought I would see so much nature when I moved to Los Angeles and I would argue that I've seen more here than in Vancouver.

There is definitely a danger of taking what your home town offers for granted.

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