Beyond Gecko's there exists a road that leads south to
San Raphael, as Zac would know, and then San Francisquito. But
we were headed for the south end of Bahia de Los Angeles to
visit new friends staying and looking there for a place to
lease. We took a fork in the road heading east.
As the narrow path to Rincon and La Mona is influenced by tides
and rainstorms there are many roads leading there. As the tides
rise you can take the high road, as someone has named it. During
lower tides you can choose between perhaps a dozen different
routes. Unless you live there it can be confusing and lead to
deep sand or a dead end where it's difficult to turn
around. Sometimes the tidal water seeps across a small berm of
the beach and dampens the muddy sand or a rain at the south end
produces enough water, needed by the surrounding dusty desert,
that you can become stuck in the muck. Not a happy moment as
there is no one to help for miles.
I have traveled these paths for many years and I am still a
relative novice and constantly wonder which route is the best.
Yesterday we were coming home from the south end after visiting
our friends there. Several days before I had made a bad decision
and ended up having to turn around. On the present trip I was
being more careful and trying to learn the most direct route.
As I stared at the various choices I noticed cattle tracks in a
heavily used narrow pathway heading in an east-west direction.
It took me only a moment to realize that on almost a daily basis
the cattle headed out in the morning from the old Diaz cattle
ranch to forage for the day's comestibles only to return
nightly to the ranch. They are creatures of habit for sure.
Aren't we all?
While the cattle's route was most likely the safest and
most direct, there was no road leading in that direction. All
the roads wound off into the desert in other directions. I knew
the cattle were programmed and knew the best way. I was not, nor
were the other humans whose routes I was following.
Evolution had programmed the cattle, or Intelligent Design if
you prefer. It gave me cause to wonder if humans, with so much
brain power, have to work harder to understand some fundamental
truths then what we think of as animals less than human. These
animals accomplish many basic tasks without any conscious
thought because of evolution. I was obliged to look at the
various routes home and wonder.
Maybe I'm not so smart after all.