Wild Life Alternatives – Part 3

One small tale from many years ago…

One sunny afternoon, my sweetie & I were hiking up along the summit ridge-line trail on the mountains above Santa Barbara. Lovely day. No one anywhere for miles in all directions. To the west, far down below, the town and the Pacific with the Channel Islands shimmering in the sun. Inland, ripples of hills rolling down from the ridgeline & off away into the distant east.

Suddenly, along the trail, kicking up a back-cloud of dust, comes a slightly beat up little Datsun sedan. Stops. Inside, a lovely 20-25ish hippie chick with her trusty huge Alsatian shepherd dog—both warmly friendly, both wearing bandannas round their necks. She’s in bluejeans, hiking boots, a loose funky sweater. Long, loose hair. She & her dog have been on a back-country car-camping trip alone by themselves.

You two are the first folks we’ve seen in days!” she announces chuckling. They’ve been up here camping in her car for almost a week, following fire-roads and bushwhacking along horse-riding trails. Running low on water, grub, and gas now, though. The ridge summit at this point is only about 15 feet wide, the trail itself only 2-3 feet wide.

How’d you get your car all the way up here?” we ask.

Well, I just haven’t wanted to turn around yet, I guess,” she shrugs “Seems I’ll have to now, though…”

She doesn’t seem the least bit sketch. She’s bright and alert yet relaxed. Affable. She turns the engine off, let’s the dog out for a stretch, then hops out and stretches also.

Long hair, lithe, very toned & fit frame but not particularly athletic-looking, more of a bookworm vibe, clear laughing eyes, sun-kissed face, good smile. She’s very pretty, though somewhat trail dusty & tousle-haired by now, with a few small leaves and wild oat seeds embedded in her hair and sticking to her dusty sweater here and there.

The three of us chat and rest awhile beside her car, her dog calmly happy to make new friends with us. They have no tent. There’s a sleeping bag in the back seat along with a few good books, some literary, some scholarly, well-thumbed, along with full and empty water jugs, nearly-depleted food bags, some for the dog pal, some for herself. We enjoy a good chat before they climb back into the small car.

Then we stand-by to help spot her while she makes an impossibly tight three-point turn-around. The Datsun hangs frighteningly off the ridge, first on one edge then the other, but swivels perfectly somehow with each adroitly tight move. Quite impressively, within a few seconds our gal gets the vehicle securely pointed down the steep trail in the direction they’d come up.

Once they’re good to go, we say goodbye and they’re off. The wildwoman waves and chuckles as the sedan trundles forth, slowly jostling and bumping its way down the narrow mountain trail and on out of sight.

We say to each other, “Wow, now she’s someone we’d like to have along sometime as a backpacking companion…”

Yeah, but all the food for that big dog would be a lot for everyone to help carry.”

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