Today Kiyash and I discovered (or invented) the comedy trail.
We thought we were hiking the Pine Canyon Loop in and around Castle Rock and Mount Diablo. We weren't.
The comedy trail, as we decided to call it about halfway through the 10 mile trip, could also be known as "the Pine Canyon Loop PLUS." As in, the Pine Canyon loop plus several other dissimulatively Pine Canyon Loopy-looking trails that repeatedly lure you off the actual Pine Canyon Loop. The effect of such multiply and deceptively intersecting trails? You are never sure where you are. Well, except as one horse-riding couple helpfully pointed out to us, "You're not even on your map anymore."
While hiking the comedy trail, Kiyash helpfully entertained the possibility that the Pine Canyon Loop map we were following was, in fact, for a Pine Canyon Loop in Australia or South Africa or Montana... anywhere but California. And thanks to our possibly international map, we found ourselves up to our shins in mud, fording a creek MORE than at least precisely 11 times, and on a perfectly untrampeled path that almost certainly no one else had walked on for months.
Our hike was full of navigating errors (we managed to find and then lose the Pine Canyon Loop 4 times, I think), tactile pleasures (slopping through mud? really?? scrambling up a log?? REALLY?? woo hoo!!) and delightfully unexpected sight lines (Kiyash: "The hiking instructions say that at this point 'the imposing Castle Rocks formation rises high above the trail on the right'." Jane: "Really? What's that big grouping of rocks about 1000 feet below us?" Kiyash: "Castle Rock." [...pause...] Jane: "WHAT??")
It was pure comedy.