So Mabel and I found ourselves without hiking buddies on Saturday night and decided to take the opportunity to find another entrance to our ponds. We've been there before with Bart's mom. As there are only three parking spaces to our regular entry and our pack needs 4 - 6, I thought it would be a good find!
This other entrance provides much more parking but is "hilly." We shimmied down the hillside beside the golf course, under the busy street and in another 50 yards were under the freeway. And that's where it all went wrong. I knew the ponds sat near the freeway so we turned and climbed a steep hill. I realized this was probably wrong...but was thrilled to see a sign on the top of the trail that read "trail to the ponds." And that's when we found something... a big something!
Last year, all the news in town was about a homeless camp that was found by the police. Three men had actually built some sort of house and even used rocks to "lay a tile floor." The only description as to location was "by the ponds." Nice and vague! All of us hikers who know many of the wooded trails over there - and I know more of the back woodsy trails than others - were dumbfounded! No wonder this camp had become so elaborate! Even the regular hikers couldn't find it!
Those are bunk beds behind the picnic table... I was shaking taking these!
As Mabel and I rounded the bushes by the trail sign, I couldn't help but think we had stumbled onto the camp! It had three rooms... a dining room, a bedroom and a library / pantry / supply room. It was disguised by camo cover and old plastic Christmas tree branches! I gave a shout out before exploring it and taking a few photos. I'm still not certain we found the house from last summer as there was no "rock tile patio" and... I thought the police destroyed that one! But still... the ingenuity!
Mabel and I shimmied down another mountainside, me guarding my bad knees and clinging to the freeway fence, and finally were near the ponds... except there was a downed fence and lots of briars and a steep hillside to go down. Sensing we were close, Mabel tried to run ahead but was slowed by the over growth. I knew we had to turn back. We were too close to the freeway and too far from the ponds! I had to climb that mountain again...grrr. And then I realized Mabel was not with me! I called, I yelled... and I finally realized she had gone into the homeless camp..."There might be foodables Mom!"
By the time we found the right trail, my knees were too shot to scale another hillside...this one had nothing to hang on to. Realizing we were too hot, too tired and too lost to continue, we gave up, returned to the car and drove the 1/3 mile to our regular spot. And finally, we found our little slice of heaven!