Friday, June 1, 2012

Wandered into Drug Country

I was going backpacking in Los Padres National Forest in California and I show up to the fire station where I'm parking my car. I ask a ranger if I can park there and the first words out of his mouth are "Ya'll lookin' for plantations?" Of course we weren't, and were kind of like 'wtf is he asking us,' so he said "never mind." And we set off.

We did 15 miles basically into desert brushland that day and realized we were about 4 miles off the main trail (poor markings) that evening. We were too tired to turn around and had to camp right there, off the main trail, in possible drug territory. We went to sleep and at some point in the night my buddy and I woke up and kept hearing footsteps around our tent. We were scared shitless. I swear to God it sounded just like footsteps walking around us at about 10 paces. One time it sounded like they walked straight up and stopped on our front flap. I bolted up and said "Hello? What do you want?"

Nobody ever said or did anything outside, and we as hell weren't going to instigate anything, so we eventually fell asleep and got back on trail in the morning. Later, we get off the trail (they were not maintained at all) and end up walking down the middle of a river for 4 days. The first sign of humanity we see is a short road going up to a fucking airstrip in the middle of the mountains. One end ran into a mountain, the other had a dangerously close ridge. We had no choice but to walk up and try to find where the hell we were. As we were on the other side of camp, which looked like a small cluster of military barrack-type cabins, one flying an American flag and one with a military insignia, we had to walk straight down the runway to get there. That was the second time I was scared shitless in 4 days.

We found some guy doing some carpentry who didn't seem to live there, but was visibly distressed with our appearance until we explained ourselves and he told us how to find the road. When we find the gate, it is covered in signs that said stuff like "City justice is kinda iffy, Mountain justice gets it done in a jiffy" with a shotgun in the middle of it. We got the hell outta dodge.

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