The Magic of Sheep Canyon

(2/6/06) I'm not really sure why I love Sheep Canyon so much. Considering my initial solo trip there a year and half ago when I slipped down the canyon wall twenty feet, broke a fin off my backpack, ran out of water, sank chest deep into quick sand and lost a brand new gps and digital camera neither of which had their first download, you would think I would hate the place with a passion. Everyone that I have brought to Sheep Canyon since then has bled. Last week's scout trip put a fresh dent on my jeep wrangler as it struggled up the rocky revine, and the South Fork, technically the most difficult hike in San Diego County according to Schad, drew blood yet again from Andy and me.

So what possesses me to keep coming back?

Sheep Canyon speaks to me.

As I'm hopping car-sized boulders, squeezing between cholla and cat's claw, and scrambling the slick canyon walls, I'm transcended into a distant memory of my childhood. Playing with reckless abandon in my favorite playground, an innocent world where there are no worries.

As I lay on a flat rock under the desert night sky for hours, hypnotized by the Ocotillo overhead waving its arms in a dance against the moonlit sky, I'm lowered into a deep sea of meditation. My head rests on a pool of tears as voices from the underworld yearn to reach through the portal.

As I stand on a polished granite outcrop under the hot desert sun, I feel the ancient Cahuilla Indian presence and I daydream of their beautiful life here hundreds of years ago. The sun glistens on the salty sweat on my shoulders as I hear their voices in the wind as they beckon me.

As I stand under the maiden-hair like falls in South Fork, I close my eyes and feel the fine cool mist touch my cheeks, purifying, cleansing...

As I step through the Indian sweat houses carved into the canyon walls, I imagine the ceremonial rite of passage into the next phase of manhood. My rite of passage?

As you step through Sheep and Cougar Canyon, listen.