I’m not sure what its like where you live, but in our little corner of California dozens and dozens of roads lay hidden all about just waiting to be explored.
While the boys played games on the PS3 and Lynn rested from a crazy couple of Christmas days, my parents and I took a drive to see what we could see. We wound our way into the mountains and as we traveled back toward our valley we noticed a little road that slipped away into the trees. Massive cement barricades guarded the entrance, but nothing kept us from crawling over them to explore.
Something about the road gave me the creeps. Perhaps it was the growing shadows. Perhaps it was the apocalyptic feel. Perhaps it was the aging road sign with a skull and crossbones spray painted across it.
Questions slid across my mind. Why was this road fortified with barricades and a pile of rubble? Where did it lead? Did any psychopathic weirdoes with a Mad Max mentality live in the dense trees that had begun to overhang the road?
We walked around the first corner of the woods and the highway disappeared behind us. Now, I thought, nobody driving by would witness whatever tragic horrors awaited us.
We walked on while the brush and trees began to close in more and more. Did the road simply dead end somewhere ahead of us? Suddenly we heard low voices ahead of us. Maybe a pack of drug-addled bikers used this hidden retreat to get a quick fix on the road. Maybe the cartels buried their headless victims back in the solitude of these haunted trees. Maybe the remains of the Manson gang, still uncaught, gathered just after sun down in the remains of a broken down old mansion. . .
Yeah, my imagination likes to sprint off ahead of me at times.
In reality the voices were an engaged couple that also thought the road would be fun to explore. Just seeing the couple put our minds at ease. If a pack of drug-addled, Manson-gang, cartel-members attacked we merely had to outrun these two love birds to survive.
Eventually the road led to a creepy site indeed. Below the road, stretched across the base of the canyon lay the cement remains of the St. Francis Dam. In 1928 the dam collapsed sending a wall of water down San Francisquito Canyon through town after town eventually killing over 600 people. The flood finally emptied into the waters of the Pacific dozens of miles away in Ventura, California. The dam’s designer, William Mulholland, took full responsibility for the failure and lived under the shadow of the disaster for the remaining few years of his life.
I love that around every corner little pieces of history lie hidden, undiscovered, waiting to be found, seen, heard, and shared with others. I love the beauty and feel of this area. The nuances of the land. The light streaming down into the canyons. The warm sunsets. The thousands of paths and trails that invite us to discover the secrets they hold. I love it.
Here's to another year of exploring the trails and roads less traveled.