Shabbat morning started off as any Shabbat morning with a TBS Shabbat hike – in the parking lot of a local park in Orange County. I was very excited because we were hiking in Santiago Oaks Regional Park. It was looking like we were going to explore another hidden gem that many of us never knew existed in Orange County.
Usually, going to a new place, I like to hike it ahead of time, but this week, I lost all track of time and did not have a moment to hike. But that’s OK, I thought, the other two hikes went off without a hitch, this will be just fine! (she says with sarcasm!)
A nice crowd showed up and I joked, “I can’t get you all in the sanctuary for Shabbat morning but at least I can get you into THIS sanctuary!”
And so it began. I should have known that this might not go as smoothly when I couldn’t find the trail head and made them walk around the turn-around. But I reassured them, “I won’t actually make you walk through the desert for 40 days and nights!” (Famous last words!)
Now, on the right trail and walking through the beautiful woods, we see our signs for Santiago Creek Trail! Whew! All is right in the world! Until, no more signs. Great, here’s a fork in the road! At least there seems to be a nice man sitting on the bench who looks like he knows what’s what. “Excuse me sir, which way to Santiago Creek Trail?” He looks at our group and says, “that way” pointing to our left. “Thank you!” and we’re on our way. (Did I just see a puff of smoke as he disappeared from view?)
Off we walk noticing a slight incline in our step. “Hey Rabbi! Will there be many hills.”
“No, according to my description and maps, this should be a nice walk today.” (more famous last words!)
The hill is getting steeper. Some decide that this is a great time to show off their well trained legs as they decide it’s time to RUN ahead. Yes, run up the hill! Have fun girls! Everyone else, please feel free to go at your pace. It’s not a race…this is Shabbat.
We get to the top of the hill and wait…there’s another hill! Really!?!? this was not in the description. Ah sugar (really, that’s what I say!), I think I turned the wrong way! Keep smiling Heidi, keep up the face that I really know which way I’m going. Nuts, I don’t!
Just one more hill and we’re at the top. We’ve make it and are grateful to the Rangers who come up to help one of our hikers down. But as the Rangers and I are loading her into the truck, I look over to the other hill where the group is making their way down and I notice they are going VERY slow! I call Marla on her cell and ask, “is everything OK over there?”
“Sure, we’re doing fine. Just don’t come this way! It’s really steep and some of us are going down on her tushes! I have to go so I don’t fall.”
Great! I am so in trouble when I get off this hill and they get their hands on me!
I get a text message that everyone is down, the Ranger is leaving and I’m heading down the hill. At the bottom are – I kid you not – three deer! Haven’t I heard this story before? Maybe they are there to tell me that everything’s fine or they’re there to mock me some more.
I meet up with the group in the parking lot and I start apologizing profusely. This is going to be a major al cheit at Yom Kippur. But everyone really does seem fine. They all said they had a great time and are glad that our one rescue is OK. Marla and Juliet offer to go on early morning walks with me to check out new trails so we really know which way to turn. And I’m on Marilyn’s list – but that’s OK, I’m practically family and everyone in the family is usually on the list at some point.
I never did see that man from the fork in the road again…