Welcome to My Big, Wild World!

Well, let me informally introduce myself. I mean obviously it’s not formal, we’re online! You say there are plenty of ways to formally introduce yourself online? I guess you can, to a computer. Resumes and cover letters? Screened by a computer before a human even looks at them. That does not seem formal to me, ha!

I digress… My name is Doug from Orange County, California and my purpose here is to share my fiery awesome experiences with hikes and devilicious hot sauces. These expeditions into adrenaline surged rivers began about a year ago. With my age (though I’m only 28) I’ve developed an appreciation for nature and all things spicy, including conversations! 😉

I enjoyed mild sauces and didn’t enjoy rocking the boat all through my life until recent adult years. The spiciest I got was Tapatio, bottling my emotions, and small nature trails in city parks.

Through working on myself with the help of a mentor, I began developing a sense of my own identity. I started doing things that I wanted to do, but no one else wanted to. I stopped going along with the group just to people please. I traveled near and far (within the southwest, hopefully further soon) and started the self discovery process. Through it all, I began developing a relationship with myself and a power greater than myself.

Cue my first adventure to Big Sur in Northern California.  I decided after Christmas of 2014 that I wanted to go camping. I had received a small tent for Christmas and had all I needed, or so I thought… I drove up December 26th and was immediately in awe of the beauty along highway one as I approached my turn off. From there, started my adventure.

Driving twenty miles or so on a one and a half way road didn’t seem too bad, but I got nervous when I realized I had lost cell phone service. Finally, after driving like a bad ass along mountain roads and admiring the cabins and rural life, I had arrived.

I was welcomed by a gorgeous view of a lush valley in the middle of a huge mountain range, some backpackers getting ready at their cars, and an old mountain man who was in charge of the joint. Their were plenty of campsites available and it was quite chilly. Thank God I had my beanie and sweatshirt!

After setting up my tent and paying the government via metal tube, I made lunch and decided to venture out on a trail.  Mind you, I was not in the best shape and definitely was not acclimated to the elevation.  I charged up the trail, taking selfies every now and then to catch my breath and enjoy the view of the mountains contrasting with the sunbathed ocean off in the distance.

Then, something unexpected happened.  I ran into a group of hunters with big shotguns.  They spoke broken English and they kept popping up.  I almost bumped into one of them because their camouflage worked way too well! Then, I got paranoid that I was going to get shot unexpectedly, with no one around to help.  Thankfully, I wasn’t harmed and was able to continue my adventure.

Coming back from the hike, I talked to the old man in charge.  He joked with me, telling me he didn’t expect me to get winded on such a short trail for being such a young guy.  That hurt, but I laughed it off, knowing I enjoyed myself and that I had to start somewhere.

Around 4 in the afternoon, it started getting dark and cold… I bundled up in my sleeping bag, thinking that wearing a ton of layers would help keep me warm.  I woke up in the middle of the night, freezing and needing to relieve myself.  I tried sleeping it off, but the neighbors camping next to me were half romancing, reminding me that I didn’t have a partner in crime, keeping me awake.  I wanted to join them, for they had fire.  I chose not to, for the sake of not coming off like a creep.

I managed to sleep for a couple more hours until the cold was unbearable.  I would later find out that wearing minimal clothing in a sleeping bag keeps you warmer.  How completely necessary, yet illogical that fact is.  Nevertheless, I got up and embraced the precious seat warmers in my car.  The only problem?  I couldn’t run my engine due to quiet hours.  Two hours later, I go to start my car, and it won’t start.  Shit!  No cell phone, dead battery, and freezing my ass off had me freaking out quite a bit.

Previous experience told me to leave the car alone, and maybe the battery fairies would give me a recharge (it’s science, check it out!).  Low and behold, after packing my tent and loading my car, the engine turned over!  Thank God!  This initial adventure showed me that I was a suburban guy with no experience.  The lessons were valuable, and I have carried them with me since.

Hope you enjoyed this excerpt of my journey.  Since this weekend in December of last year, I have come a long way.  I’ve tried many new hot sauces that would drive most to a glass a milk.  I’ve also pushed my physical and mental limits hiking and can’t wait to share more of these experiences with you all!

Go out there and spice your life up.  It does the soul good!

-Doug

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