Saturday, August 14, 2010

Auburn Trail Part I © 2010

Auburn Trail Part I © 2010

Somewhere in my travels, I came across a tale of the hiking trails which were reported run along the rim of the mountain range from Mexico all the way north, to Canada and beyond. I don’t quite remember the official name of the trail, nor even if there was one, but I will call it The Auburn Trail, because I was able to access the trail from Auburn. Auburn was a sleepy town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range outside of Sacramento, California. Being the thrill seeker that I was, naturally, I was drawn to this new potential new adventure.

I had mentioned to my parents during my trip home for their anniversary that I was thinking of buying a horse and riding across the entire country. As you can imagine, their response was less than favorable or supportive. I am sure they thought it was just one more pipe dream. I even broached them with the concept of loaning me $100 to do so. Now, granted, I had no idea where I would buy a horse for $100 or how I would manage to feed the horse or even take care of myself on this trip. But you see, such is the beauty of naivety. You have all these great ideas, but no worries about the consequences of acting on them. Well, back to my story about The Auburn Trail.

As I try to remember the series of events leading up to this monumental adventure I find myself struggling to fit all the pieces together. The details are really vague… as I sit here, almost 40 years later. However, I will try to recall what I can. To be honest, I am not sure I could have recanted the story in its full details even as they unfolded. Such is the curse of living a life where you spend most of your time dazed and confused, if you get what I mean.

Anyway, I decided to hitchhike to get as close as I could to the trail and determined that Sacramento was my destination. According to the maps, it was the gateway to Auburn. My experiences on the road had taught me that it was always best to start with the larger city to seek information. Small towns just were not that friendly. After all, I wasn’t in Woodstock anymore.

The journey was not uneventful, as you may have already guessed, or it would not be noteworthy. It started with my on the sidewalk in Berkeley with my pack and bedroll at my feet and my thumb raised high to oncoming traffic. I was always lucky to have a great sense of direction, so I knew which way led out of town. I never had to wait long when hitch hiking, I guess it was because I was, as my dad used to say “easy on the eyes”.

A rather non-descript sedan that looked like it belonged in the suburbs, pulled over to the curb. It was not the typical ride I had grown accustomed to, not a hippie-mobile.  It was getting late and in spite of my apprehension, I left my post on the familiar sidewalk of Telegraph Avenue to approach the driver. The middle aged businessman looked like all the others that were driving home after a boring day in the office. My instincts warned me to wait for a ride that had a better vibe, but he assured me he was safe. Famous last words.

I got in the car, and kept my knap-sack and bedroll close at my feet, should the need of a quick escape be necessary. I sure am glad my instincts also told me to reach down and feel the comfort of the hilt of my hunting knife which was wedged between the top of my right knee high leather riding boot and jean leg.

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  1. Was this after you had already been kidnapped? or before? If I may ask.

  2. I have been kidnapped several times.. from a beach party in Florida, at knife point in NYC, by Jesus Freaks in Cincinnati.. this was after those.. I had had enough!