Over this blazing hot weekend, my wife and I camped in Silent Valley. A group of us gathered for food, fun, and fellowship. The location of this campground is in Banning, which is way out east of Los Angeles. Two of our friends are members of the Silent Valley Club, so several of us welcomed their generosity. It was hot, but it was quiet. The latter made up for the former. There are days and weeks when it is tough to set aside time to chill from the city noise. Well, this weekend several of us stole away in the desert to enjoy solitude.
The early morning hours turned into a mild adventure for me. My wife and I turned in early last night from sheer exhaustion. I went out faster than a light. It had to have been no later than 9:45pm. Nearly five hours later, I awoke at 2:15am with a strong urge to use the facilities. Off in the distance, I heard the howling of a pack of coyotes. I rummaged through my things for my LED flashlight. I figured that this bright light could shine the way to the men’s room, which was about 50 meters away.
I shone the light this way and that way. There were times I could have sworn to have seen shapes or shadows move past through the trees. Now, let me be clear, nothing happened and I could be exaggerating; however, when I made it to the facilties, I realized that I could shimmy up the urinal and perch myself atop the ledge in the men’s room should a coyote or two burst through the door. I kept thinking about Liam Neeson’s movie from 2012 called The Grey. Of course, wolves behave much differently than coyotes, so I had nothing to fear.
When I made it back to my tent, I enjoyed its warmth and that of my wife. This was a our first adventure into the wild together as a married couple. Last year, we came to this same campground, but we could only stay for a day. Earlier this morning, I rose from an excellent night of sleep to enjoy my quiet time. I showered and clothed myself with my pen and journal in hand. I chose a spot some distance from base camp. It was so peaceful and soothing. I heard the same coyote calls, and spotted another in the brush. Silent Valley is their home not mine. If anything, I am the intruder.