July 31, 2005
Mansfield Rock Circuit
This was the 8th Edition of this trip, run counterclockwise for the second year. It never gets boring, since there is always a new way to go up, down, and across the rocks, always the opportunity for self-created challenges. Phil arrived at the trailhead in sandals, and I was doubtful about the wisdom of letting him participate. However, he was able to negotiate the rocks, including the short up and down climbs, just as well as anyone in any other kind of footwear.
We ascended to the Chin via Hellbrook, which was a bit wetter than usual; and yet the climate and soil conditions overall are steadily getting drier over the years, as indicated by the moisture-dependent slime mold on a rock about halfway up, which has nearly disappeared. At the start of the North Canyon trail, I walked into the same rock I hit last year. I have to start looking up once in a while! This time, I have a scar to mark the event.
We arrived at the visitor center (upper end of the toll road) quickly, and omitted the usual lunch stop, instead taking a quick sandwich break at the south end of the Cliff trail on the other side of the ridge. Along the way back to the Chin, we discussed Vietnam, Deep Throat, Daniel Ellsberg, neuroscience, bears (including one who learned to open doors), and research into the efficacy of prayer, among many other deep topics.