National Geographic describes a hill as "easier to climb than mountains. They are less steep and not as high." To which I reply:
Now I am not an outdoorsy type person. Not by a long shot. The sheer volume of geek references I am going to lay down in this post should allay any doubts you might have on that account, but, I can walk up a hill. I've walked up lots of hills. So when I was thinking of an experience that would be wonderful for everyone and close to town (walking distance, in fact!), I thought Cobble Hill would be a great adventure for those looking to really relax. Oh, I had an adventure...
I wasn't paying attention when I started. I really should have been. And I was going alone. I shouldn't have done that.
Kids, learn from Auntie Anne, don't go hiking alone. Cool kids hike in pairs at least.
I've read quite a few blogs about the hike that rave about how lovely it is and how clearly marked it is and how there are two ways up, one is very steep, one is nice and gradual. I must have missed something right at the beginning when I was fidgeting with my keys because 45 minutes later after a very pretty woodland walk I ended up on Mirror Lake Drive. Maybe it wasn't 45 minutes. Regardless, I was clearly in the wrong place so I googled Cobble Hill from the middle of the woods and tried to get myself back on track. What resulted was a comedy of errors I won't soon forget. When I started on the trail I went left. I THINK (I'm still not sure) I should have gone right. Maybe it was because everything was wonderful and moss covered (there is something magical about moss, no?). Maybe it was because I was transfixed by how ancient and remote it felt (it's not remote). Maybe it was because I am an inexperienced, naive and completely not an outdoorsy person because this first walk was charming. Upturned trees, staircases of roots; I was half expecting a unicorn to come charging down the path at me like in the movie Legend.
In short, it was a pretty magical walk. During which, and this is important, I made some friends, when a mom and her two boys were hiking in the other direction looking for the way to Cobble Hill.
I don't know if you're reading this - but, "Hi guys!"
We chatted for a bit about our mutual confusion and went on our separate ways, they in their direction, I in mine, which, I remind you, was Mirror Lake Drive. They would be the last people I would see for about an hour. As I began to near Mirror Lake Drive I realized I was not going in the right direction at all. So I turned around. And I walked for a few yards and stopped. And there, sitting in the middle of the trail, on its side was my red earring. With the back on it.
I still don't know how it fell out of my ear with the back on it.
I'm going to skip ahead from here because I don't want to condone walking down someone's driveway, but let me just say briefly, that is what I did, completely innocently, because I was utterly, and without hope, lost and one of the signs SEEMED to point in that direction (maybe?) so I don't even really know if that wasn't where I was supposed to go.
I ended up walking straight up Mount Whitney Way, found myself in a clearing with what looked like a very clear entrance to the trail. You can choose left, you can choose right. The sign in the center was backwards, I think, but then it also could have been meant for the benefit of the people coming out of the woods, so was it? Don't know! I went left.
That fateful decision deserves a little more weight to get the full effect of what I had just done.
I. Went. Left.
This is what left turns into:
That's what it felt like anyway. I didn't get as far up as to be on Cobble Hill's face because I realized, a little late in the game, that I have lost a little weight and had to keep one hand on my waistband pretty much the whole time to keep my shorts from falling. I can't make this up.
But wait - the hilarity continues!
There are trails ALL OVER Cobble Hill and signs everywhere. They may not be very clear (admittedly, that may well be user error on my part) but by the time I got out I felt like I'd been walking around in MC Escher's "Relativity", half expecting at any moment Jareth, from the movie Labyrinth, to appear and taunt me into giving up or at the very least the Wadi master from Star Trek: Deep Space 9 to pop up and tell me to "Move along! Move along home!" Getting out - not, by the way, where I went in - was in and of itself an experience. Getting back to my car from the Cobble Hill Corn Maze I realize - my car keys are not attached to my key chain.
They are somewhere... in there...
Resigned to my lot as Murphy's Law's plaything I began to hoof it back to Lake House when, similar to when I looked down at the perfect moment and found my earring; I turned around to look back and saw my friends from the beginning of the hike. They'd found their way, too. And when I mentioned I'd lost my keys... we'll they'd seen them. Placed considerately on a felled tree near the entrance to the trail.
So what did I learn?
Besides, pay attention, have a plan, make sure your pants fit, and don't hike alone...
It doesn't matter if you make it to the top. The story is in the getting there.
Would I do it again?
Oh, I plan on it. You and me, Cobble. We've got a date with destiny.