Julia comes face to face with the drug dealers…
Once upon a time, when very few people hiked the wilderness park, it was common to encounter drug dealers. And people having sex but this is not a post about sex. It was common because very few regular people hiked up there– which is why, when I did sneak in with my German shepherd, Louie, (had to sneak in because dogs were not allowed back then and there was no way in hell I’d risk hiking up there alone) I’d often run into the huge female mountain lion, sometimes with a half-grown cub.
Nobody bothered me, not the cougar, not the sex people and not the drug people, because unlike cutie pie Jake, who actually can be aggressive, Louie, who was a pacifist for the most part, looked scarier than shit. He was 110 pounds of solid muscle and he had a set of jaws on him that could snap a grown man’s wrist. Jake’s paltry 85 pounds and his under bite make him a weenie dog in comparison.
So here’s how it went down.
Jake and I headed up the back side, the most isolated section of the park. The area where the mountain lion hunts, the trail where Jake found a mountain lion kill. The slick, steep, rocky, narrow, eroded trail that follows the edge of a cliff. That’s where we were– hiking up my favorite trail in the entire park.
So you get to this crossroads where there is a small depression before the final haul ass to the top. Believe me, it is a haul ass, basically straight up for a quarter mile. As ‘Oscar’ says, it’s about a 15′ grade. Once upon a time some kids managed to drag a picnic table down into this depression. I can’t begin to imagine how they achieved this feat since it’s in the middle of a thick forest, but kids will be kids. On Saturday and Sunday mornings we frequently find the ground around the table littered with beer cans and vodka bottles, maybe the occasional condom which is totally gross. We clean up the garbage, kick dirt over the condoms.
So Jake and I reached this little depression and ran smack dab into a big old drug deal – filled backpacks, big scary dudes, prison gang tattoos, the whole nine yards.
Too late to turn around. I figured if I ran they’d chase me anyway. Never run. Turns you into prey. I learned that from my cougar encounters.
I couldn’t get past them either. To quote the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz— “Not no way. Not no how.”
For a second or two nobody moved. I think Jake’s presence caused them to hesitate.
So Julia decided to play dumb…
“Hi guys. How you doing? Man, there’s a lot of garbage around here. I usually pick up the trash when I hike. You wanna help?”
“See that plastic bag over there?”
“Yeah. Over there. The one right behind you. Hand that to me and I’ll get all these beer cans picked up. Tsk. Tsk. People leave such a mess. At least they left us a useful trash bag.”
The big guy picks up the plastic bag and hands it to me. I start picking up trash. “Hey,” I say to the two shorter guys… “You ever wonder how this table got down here?”
They all look at each other like… This chick is friggin’ loopy. She’s a few cans short of a six pack for sure. “Uh, no.”
“Well, it used to be at the top of the ridge, but then one day it appeared down here like magic. Can’t imagine how anyone carried it down here.” I’m busy picking up torn candy wrappers and cigarette butts.
Two of the younger guys start picking up trash and stuffing it in my plastic bag.
“Hey, thanks, that’s just great. You all see the mountain lion this morning? I was hoping to see the mountain lion.”
The big guy rubs one of the tats on his arm and he says, “There’s not really a mountain lion around here, is there?”
“Oh yeah, sure there is. I saw it right up there just last week. He hunts over here.” I point up the ridge behind them. “And my dog dug up one of it’s kills back there alongside the trail.” Which he seriously did not 20 feet from where we stood.
They all start looking around, all of them on edge now.
“Okay, well thanks for helping me with the trash guys. Littering is a real problem at this park. You all have a great day. See ya.” Jake and I head on past them up the trail.
I hear a commotion behind me but I wait… When I finally glance back they are all hightailing it down the trail like the devil himself is behind them.
I told ‘Oscar’ and he laughed so hard – He said, “They must have thought you had nothing but air between your ears. That you were totally brainless.”
“Well, that was my plan. To seem so ditzy and harmless they wouldn’t like… knife me or something. Heck, they even picked up trash for me. And I figured the mountain lion might make them think twice about coming back up there at dawn to do their drug deals.”
Who knows? Maybe they’ll start collecting litter instead.