If you’re planning a hike to Palomar Mountain in California this fall, give some careful consideration to your outfit. My friend Amy Rouillard and I thought about ours, and we both wore long-sleeve shirts and hats to protect ourselves from the sun.
We didn’t think about wearing blaze orange to protect ourselves from a stray arrow. We were unaware that the day we chose for our hike, 09-06, was also opening day for Archery Deer Hunting Season.
We began our leisurely hike in the Fry Campground area. First we spotted a couple of guys with what we thought were rifles, but they said were BB guns. Then we saw several guys walking around wearing camo. After hiking past a camping area filled with guys hanging out, also covered in camo, we decided it was high time to turn around.
When a Fish and Wildlife truck drove by, we flagged him down. He suggested that instead of hiking in the Cleveland National Forest, where hunting is allowed, we might want to hike in Palomar Mountain State Park, where it is not. Not allowed, hunting, that is.
We discussed the possibility of rogue arrows. Amy and I both remembered the stories in the news about rogue bullets—celebrities such as our former Vice President Dick Cheney, for example, who accidentally shot his friend while quail hunting. His friend ended up in the intensive care unit twice before apologizing to Cheney for getting in the way of Cheney’s wild bullet . . .
Archery season in our region, it turns out, lasts until September 28, then rifle season begins, then it’s archery season again until December 15.
Next time we go for a hike, Amy and I will wear our new blaze orange, aka hunter orange, shirts from Cabelas. But I think we’ll still choose to hike in Palomar Mountain State Park until hunting season is over on December 16.
All photos shot at Palomar Mountain State Park.