Before I say anything else, let me just preface this entry by saying it does have a happy ending. We all got home safe.
It started out with a simple picnic by a stream. A man-made platform made lunch quite comfortable and safe. After our sandwiches, fruit, and chips had disappeared most of the group was ready to head home. But three of us had not quite had our fill of nature for the day and the stream just seemed to be begging us to go exploring. So we waved good-bye to those returning home and set out on our way into the Los Angeles National Forest.
The first leg of our journey was easy enough. Much of the area had been developed for summertime picnic-ers. In the middle of December, we had the place to ourselves. But we were out for adventure and so the paved side of the water held little attraction for us. Ah, but the other side. Now that was a different story.
We must get across. That log ahead seemed pretty safe. It wasn’t until we were about five feet from the opposite bank that we realized it would require a bit of a leap. Having made it that far, we weren’t about to turn back. So leap we did.
And miss we did, at least one of us ended up with soggy shoes. A few minutes later we noticed a much easier crossing and made a mental note for our way back. After all, we were adventurous but not crazy. Well, not too crazy.
There was a path…sort of. I’m not entirely sure it was made by humans or animals, since it did entail crawling over brush and ducking under trees. But the view!!! We were hiking in a valley between mountains and in and out of their massive shadows. Fall lingers in Southern California so the trees still clung to their golden foliage. Snow which had fallen then melted the week before had made all kinds of little green plants come to life on the forest floor. The day really was like some hybrid of spring and autumn. And so on we hiked.
After a while, it really became impossible to go further, the growth around the stream was just too dense. So we cut over and found a road leading to a camp ground. Now, please note what I wrote earlier. We did indeed begin our trek in the Los Angeles National Forest, and all along the way while we were admiring the sights, we saw no other signage. You can imagine our surprise when we started along the road and saw numerous “Keep Out” and “No Trespassing” signs along the side. The road was still public, but evidently we had missed the property line somewhere in the forest.
We knew we had great guardian angels when we saw the hunters’ stand in the tree. Thinking about it from the safety of the road we realized that dressed in our Carmelite habit we would have looked like three brown bears roaming through the brush. One of us cracked the joke, “Good thing there were no hunters today, Sister, because you are such a dear!”
We decided we’d take the road on the way back to the car.