30 January 2013

Hiking fail/win?

My little sister let me borrow two books on local hikes.  Sweet!  I thumbed through the smaller of the two books and found a hike to the Painted Rock in Carrizo Plains.  I had never been to the Painted Rock but I had driven through Carrizo Plains and been to Soda Lake.  I thought it would be great to go back and hike to the Painted Rock and check out Soda Lake again.  The last time I was out that way was well over 10 years ago, for some reason it seemed like it was a shorter drive there than I anticipated.  Let's just say that total drive time was 4 hours to get there and back home; at least that's what Google Maps says. I think it was much longer since part of the road was not paved and I had to go really slow on Soda Lake Road.

And the real bummer is that I didn't even get to hike out to the Painted Rock.  The guidebook I have says it is dog friendly and that there are no fees or appointments required.  I probably should have double checked that online but I didn't.  So before even heading out I was already failing I just didn't know it yet.  We get out to the Goodwin Education Center and it's closed because it was a federal holiday.  So I call an 800 number in hopes that they will give me the magic gate code to let me into the area where the Painted Rock is.  They tell me that I have to reserve it a day in advance online/over the phone or get the code from the education center, which is closed.  Why couldn't the woman on the line just give me the damn number over the phone?!  What was so hard about gathering my info and giving me the code.  I should have told her I was going tomorrow and gotten a code for then to try out the day I was there.  Whatever!

Did I mention there are NO DOGS ALLOWED posted at the education center.  Double fail!  God damn book lied to me!!!!  My mom, sister and their dogs were along for this trip because it was supposed to be a doggy friendly hike.  So since the dogs had been cooped up for roughly 2 hours, we broke the rules.  We took the dogs out for a wee tinkle and poo break.  Don't worry we came prepared with potty bags.  They did their business and then back in the car, poor things.  (I wrote the book people an e-mail telling them that their information is inaccurate.  And at the very least refer people to the website to check for changes.  I should have done that anyways.)  My  hike was an utter failure!  Or was it?

No it wasn't, I decided to drive onward to get a better view of Soda Lake.  At the very least I could show my mom and sister the lake that looks to be made of cocaine, right?  The last time I visited Soda Lake it actually had some water.  This time it was just the white stuff.  I tasted it, kinda salty (duh, alkali lake).  Here are a few photos of the non-fail part of my trip.

San Andreas Fault runs along that ridge in the distance.

For the next hike, if it is dog friendly I will have to make sure Panda has a fully functioning leash before I offer to take him again.  I feel bad enabling the destruction of nature so unless the leash is on all the time the next time they will have to sit the fun times out.  Though no one was out there, I think if an area has a boardwalk to help prevent the damage of habitat; stick to the boardwalk and stay out of the protected areas.  I am an enabler!  In civilization I hate dogs off of their leads, I should apply that to open desolate places.  Unless otherwise noted, like dog parks or dog beaches.  Plus if I recall I saw rattlesnake signs and no one needs rattlesnake bites, right?

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