Leaders: Mars Bonfire, Virgil Popescu
Perhaps the one-eyed Viking fortune teller was right when she prophesied I couldn't lead a cat up a blind alley. Luck of a sort, however, was with us and after endless hours of aimless wandering over terrain that pushed us to the cutting edge of mall walking, we stumbled upon a peak. But what peak? There seemed to be summits all over the place. Fortunately a register revealed the name to be Villager Pk. Hmm. I was familiar with the first part - a mini van by Mercury. But Villager Pk??? A few memory synapses began to fire. Perhaps I had come across this name before. Perhaps in connection with the Sierra Club. On a hunch I rifled through my pack in search of the trip announcement. Luck indeed! This was the very mountain we were supposed to climb. I declared victory and in a burst of enthusiasm attempted to convince my companions that at no time were we lost. I had known our position every step of the way and had just led a highly unique (and never to be repeated) pathfinder to the peak.
A comedian once told me she could distinguish four kinds of laughter. From the experienced and confident regulars I now heard the warm and easy sound of laughter number one. The kind that signifies, "He seems to mean well. Let's just humor him along and perhaps in a decade or two he'll get the hang of this." And from the list obsessed with type triple A personalities, laughter number two - monotone, mechanical, machine gun bursts. The kind that means, "If it weren't for this lobotomized idiot, I would have done both peaks by now and be on my way to Rosa Pt." And from a lone newcomer, laughter number three - high pitched, somewhat out of body, and semi-hysterical, signifying, "I now realize my life is in danger and don't know what else to do but laugh."
Oh, well. We made camp, had a leisurely meal, and got into one of those highly animated and typical Sierra Club discussions about sex, politics, and religion. I'll forego any revelations about the sex part as kids under the age of 55 might get their trembling fingers on this article. As for politics and religion, however, the central concern seemed to be, "Why did God create Ken Starr, Viagra, Salton City, and Pearl Izumi Screaming Yellow!" No one, not even our friends from the religious right, could come up with a satisfactory explanation that simultaneously and economically took care of all four prongs of this conundrum. With my intellectual capacity soon exhausted I headed for my sleeping bag. There's nothing like a night in the mountains to clear the mind and put things into perspective. It quickly worked its magic on me and I descended into slumber with the reassuring realization that gas was low, stocks were high, and the death penalty was back. It just doesn't get any better. My final thought was of the wonderfully delicious fruit flavored compressed sawdust trail bars I would enjoy at day break. And then I awoke ... to the sound of someone complaining that their breakfast looked like freeze dried bear scat. I thoughtfully examined mine and decided to start the day on an empty stomach.
To Big Rabbit! With the summit clearly visible most of the way and with one and only one ridge connecting us to it, I was able to use my highly honed I-level navigation skills to lead us right to the top. (Now that's my kind of mountain. Let's get the stealth peaks off the List.) Returned to camp, packed, and were about a third of the way down when I noticed one of the hikers had strikingly decorated herself in cholla balls, somewhat reminding me of my daughters' tongue studs, nose rings, and other assorted body piercings. I thought what a unique way to express one's individuality and rebellious contempt for bourgeois society. As I drew closer I realized this might not be deliberate. A look of excruciating pain and a silent plea for help were in her eyes. It called forth my best nurturing, caring, empathic qualities and I warmly responded to her plight with the comment, "Welcome to Anza Borrego. Get used to it." and moved on to the cars. Yes, I will be the compassionate leader HPS can be proud of!
And one by one they straggled in - tired and very, very hungry. And that hunger drove us to Big Bubba's Steer and Stein but it was the night of the burger brain beer belly buttheads - big bellies did bulge, greasy lips did drool, thick tongues did talk, heavy minds did think. We fled in horror seeking quieter surroundings where we could meditate on the joys of tree hugging and the idyllic cavorting of Bambi, Thumper, and Smokey. After more raucous disappointments - the night of the pizzatarians, the night of the tacotarians - we settled for a tailgate party at Vons. Why? Because Vons has Guinness. Beer! After making certain Virgil had a sixpack or more I turned serious: "So Virgil, apparently no one died." (I wasn't exactly sure of this for I had neglected to count the number of participants. But there were no irritating questions beginning with 'Hey, whatever happened to...' That was good enough for me.) I then heard laughter number fourth kind that means, "You've got to be kidding!"
On a serious note I'd like to thank my wonderfully capable and enjoyable companions: Sonia Arancibia, Dorothy Danziger, Rich Gnagy, Virgil Popescu, Byron Prinzmetal, Judy Ware, and Jean White. And congratulations to Byron who finished the List on Rabbit!