Home for the Holidays IV: Little Mountains

This is the little mountain at the end of my Perris friends’ road:


I resolved to climb it every day of my stay, to counteract the debilitating effects of too much holiday feasting and revelry. I ended up skipping a hike or two, but not many. After the first couple of days the little mountain didn’t feel like a workout anymore, so I widened my range until I had scaled all of the immediately local peaks, such as they were.






I found this embedded in the top of a random peak. I have no idea what it means or why it’s there.


At one point my uncle came to visit from Phelan, and requested a tour of my little mountain range.

We got a really nice view of the balloons that day.


But most of the time I hiked alone. I really wanted to climb the big (relatively speaking) mountain on the other side of the Expressway next to Lake Perris.


I hadn’t climbed that one since I was in my teens or early twenties, way back in the day. It’s not really a mountain you want to tackle by yourself though. If something went wrong, help would be a while getting to you. On the last hike of my stay, I compromised by setting my sights on a handful of geocaches around its base. I didn’t expect to have time to get to all of them, and in fact I only got to two of the caches and didn’t actually find either one of those. Without a real gps unit it’s really just a guessing game trying to figure out which pile of rocks you’re supposed to be searching under. No regrets though, it was a beautiful hike.






The second geocache that I searched for was supposedly next to this big rock face.


I tried to climb that once, without equipment, in one of my younger and more foolish years. I didn’t get very far. To give a better idea of the scale of this thing, here are some arrows pointing to people who were climbing it when I snapped the pic:


That hike brought back a lot of memories. Two decades ago I used to ride Stormy on those trails.

The next day Steve dropped off Luke and Elizabeth. And if I’m completely honest, I will admit that our reunion was a little disorienting for me.

As I said in an earlier post, this was the longest that the kids and I had ever been apart. The first couple of days, I missed them like hell. I texted them to make sure they were okay, and felt a surge of relief every time Elizabeth posted to Facebook. But they were obviously having a fine time, and so was I, so I stopped worrying and began to enjoy the break. And there I was in this place where I had spent some of my carefree single years, with nothing to do but hike and play with my old friends and act like a kid again, and it was very easy to slip into that old mindset. And then suddenly the kids were with me again, and of course it was great to see them and catch up and everything, but…there was a very small part of me that had a hard time letting go of my rediscovered freedom. It was just…disorienting.

The next morning we headed back to Texas. By the time we arrived in DFW, the weirdness had passed and I was back in parenting mode. We all agreed that, while it was wonderful to see our old friends again, SoCal no longer felt like home. We’re just not desert people; we like trees and grass and rain. We like Texas.

I do kind of miss the mountains, though.

Categories: environment, Family, Friends, Geocaching, Life, Travel | Leave a comment

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