Not Cool, Robert Frost!
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference is why I can't stop scratching my legs"
-Robert Frost, with my help
Anyone that knows me knows I love being outdoors. In the ocean, in the sand, in the woods, or in the mountains, I love it all. I usually spend at least one day each week on a long hike, exploring different areas of Southern California or a surrounding state. I also happen to be a "road less traveled" kinda guy. If I see a rock wall that looks like it can be climbed, I'm going to see what the view from the top looks like. If there's an area off-trail that looks like it can be traversed, that's the route I'm going to take.
Over the years, I've learned that sometimes stepping outside the trails and pathways that everyone else takes leads to some of the best results. The greatest sunsets, the birds eye view from hundreds of feet in the air, and perfect serenity. But sometimes, you go hours off the beaten path, push through dense brush and rocks that just look like a snake's dream home, and all you get for your efforts is the sad realization a few days later that much of that dense brush was poison oak.
So is it better to stay on-path? Or to make your own path? Well, this week, that thought's got me scratching my head. Because there's poison oak on my head. And my arms. And my legs.
On a positive note, I now know that Whiting Ranch, one of my favorite hiking spots in Orange County, CA, has some plants that I need to look out for next time. For the views, the amazing sandstone formations in red rock canyon, and the sunsets from atop the hills, I'll take the poison oak as a fair trade.