Several years ago on Father’s Day, my three kids went with to their dad’s for a barbeque, and I went on a late-day hike with my (now ex) boyfriend. He’s one of those guys who doesn’t believe in rules and always thinks his way is the best way.
We took a hike on the west side of town. The Las Trampas ridge is known for its breathtaking views and scenery, but it was hot that day, so we agreed to take the low trail along the creek. I had my miniature Dachshund with me, so shade seemed like a good idea.
We kept picking the lower trail whenever we came to a fork in our path. At one point, the dog was covered in cobwebs, and I realized we were on a trail that hadn’t been used in quite a while.
Suddenly there was a whooshing sound that startled all three of us.
“What was that?” I asked.
I looked up and saw the reason for the whoosh. The trees were filled with vultures. I counted at least a dozen. I grabbed the leash and put it on the dog.
“They must’ve been eating something dead in the creek,” I said.
“Birds don’t eat dead things,” the BF said.
“I know a turkey vulture when I see one,” I said. “It’s nature’s garbage man. It eats carrion.”
The BF kept on with the dog trailing behind him.
“This trail is going to hook up to another one that will loop us back,” he said.
“I don’t think so,” I said.
What could I do? I wanted to get away from the big black birds.
As it got later and the sun was getting lower, I protested.
“We need to turn back,” I said.
“Just a little farther,” he said. “I’m sure this trail will start to climb out of here.”
“We’ve been hiking for ninety minutes,” I said, “which means it will be another ninety minutes back.”
“I thought you didn’t want to go past the vultures again,” he said.
“We have no choice,” I said.
My head knew the vultures wouldn’t bother us, but my stomach thought the huge birds were creepy.
We made plenty of noise on the way back so that we wouldn’t surprise the vultures as we’d done before.
Sure enough, they were up in the trees over our heads when we got back to that part of the trail.
Was it a dead deer? Whatever it was, it must’ve been big for twelve vultures to share it.
The BF had picked up the dog at this point and was carrying out the tired pup. The hike had been too long and too hot for a wiener dog.
By the time we got past the vultures,the sun was slipping away behind the ridge. In the twilight my stomach was knotting up. The pleasant afternoon hike had turned into a sweaty, scary adventure. I brushed the cobwebs off the dog and put him back down to walk the last half mile.
The BF laughed at my revulsion to the hike. I never again took that trail along the creek.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
We should’ve turned back when we saw the vultures and taken a different trail.