Dorland, Day 3


A sarcasm-filled excerpt from my journal:

Over my morning coffee, I sat on the front porch sifting through my field guide, identifying some of the flora and fauna I've seen here thus far. On my hike yesterday I saw this bizarre-looking, avocado-sized fruit everywhere that was covered in long spikes and hung on a curly vine. Turns out it's a wild cucumber, also known as manroot. It once had many uses for native americans, including stunning fish, and it's root can weigh up to 100 lbs! Another species that has greeted me on this lovely mountain is the cute-at-first-but-actually-quite-disturbing Coast Horned Lizard. This adorable 5-inch reptile has a crown of horns and can be various colors. But when threatened it can SHOOT BLOOD AT YOU FROM ITS EYEBALLS. I feel very conflicted about this. Nature is kinda terrifying, but also really awesome.

Later in the day, I attempted to hike alone again. Earlier, I had met one of the Dorland board members, and he insisted I was fine on the trails alone if I hiked midday. Not to worry, there hasn't ever been a cougar sighting on the preserve. He suggested the Bee Canyon trail, so I built up some courage and off I went.

Guys. I just want to say here that I'm really trying to be brave, but when you come upon several piles of COUGAR scat, it's really hard, okay? (I googled it. It was definitely cougar scat.)

I know. I've got to pull it together. But this was a lot of poop we're talking about. Mountain lions mark their territory by coming back to the same spot and relieving themselves. It's classy, I'm aware. I guess nature has to do what nature has to do. Anyways, upon realizing I was in some major mountain lion territory, I booked it back to my cottage. Sigh.

Fortunately, when I returned, I discovered I had some hits on a few meet-ups to hike with people in the area. Aha! What a timely and pleasant surprise! I've been concerned because I didn't come all this way to sit in a cottage afraid and since my work is so place-based, I need to be out in this desert seeing it. I'm gonna make this work.

On an up note, I've been painting, reading, writing, playing the piano, watching every sunset, and cooking delicious meals for one. There are so many moments in the day when I'm finding joy in my solitude... But being out in the woods all by yourself is actually kinda hard when you don't really know your environment. That being said, I'm determined to get more comfortable with it.


KATHLEEN

SAUNDERS