On Easter, a friend, his roommate, and myself decided to go hiking since there really wasn't anything else for three Jewish young men to do. My friend's roommate, Oleg, had gone hiking in the Malibu Mountains and suggested we go back there. He did warn us that parts of the trail get a little difficult, but nothing that we couldn't handle. I figured that since I've been working out a decent amount lately, I would be able to battle through any rough spots. Boy, was I friggin wrong! I felt like I was Tom Cruise in "Mission Impossible 2", except without the good looks, athleticism, and coordination. Other than that it was impossible to tell us apart. There were stretches of the trail where I hardly had anything to grab or step onto. At times, I was grabbing onto some flimsy tree branch and stepping onto a rock the size of a Chicken McNugget. (Mmmmmmm.... Chicken McNuggets.....) So we get up to the second waterfall, which truly is a pretty neat view to see. Apparently, Oleg had gone up to the third waterfall, but my friend and I felt we had done enough. I felt all my bruises, scrapes, and bug bites were worth the trouble. Plus, it was going to be enough of a chore to get downhill.
As we started our journey downhill, we encountered an Orthodox Jewish, British guy, probably in his late 20's/early 30's. I never got his name, but for the sake of the story, let's call him Shlomo. Shlomo appeared a bit nervous and did not feel like climbing up any further. So he decided to climb down as well. With Shlomo was an older man, who I assumed to be his father, but the guy literally did not say one word. Shlomo and his mute dad were in front of us, so we were kind of following them by default. I look ahead of us and I see Shlomo's dad going down some sort of tunnel. He looked like the Gopher from Caddyshack burrowing into the ground. It was a very peculiar sight, if I must say. And after that it was if Shlomo's mute dad had vanished. So here we were, left with babysitting Shlomo. At first I thought it was endearing that this nice British Orthodox guy was nervous, but then it frankly was just getting annoying. He was just going so slow and freaking out over every little thing. I was bad enough at this hiking thing, but he made me look like a pro out there. Since Oleg was the most experienced and talented out of everybody, I suggested that maybe he should lead us downhill.
Going downhill was not only difficult because of Shlomo’s antics, but because of how steep this cliff was. The only way to climb down was to literally sit on your ass and scoot down. Kind of like how a dog rubs his butt on the carpet. I remember the first time I saw our family dog do that, it freaked me out because it looked like “The Exorcist” was coming towards me. Anyway, as we were scooting down it kind of occurred to me that there had to be a better route. But my friend and Oleg assured me that this was the only way to get down. Plus, I really had no idea where the hell I was, so I wasn’t going to argue. I look down and see that Oleg is near the bottom of the hill. I think to myself, “Damn that Oleg is good!” About a few seconds later, I look down and see Oleg running out of control by the waterfall. I was hoping that one of the people standing around would be able to stop him. But I think because he was running so fast, nobody really could without the risk of them getting hurt too. Oleg then trips, falls on his back into this mud creek, and hits his head. His face is covered with mud and blood and he is lying on the ground in severe pain. I was in complete shock. I turn to look at my friend with a look of, “Did that really just happen?” Fortunately there were people and some families down there, so they were able to rush to Oleg’s aide. There wasn’t much by buddy and I could do, since we still had half of this friggin cliff to climb down.
I probably could have easily panicked at this point, but there really wasn’t any room to with Shlomo around. Instead of worrying about how Oleg was doing, Shlomo started to freak out and say “You guys are going to help me get down right? I need your help! I can’t do this by myself!” I told Shlomo, first I have to see if I can climb down myself before I can help you. I hate to say it, but Shlomo was not really helping the nervous, wimpy, Jewish stereotype here. My friend quickly gets down, to check on Oleg. He also slipped on his way down too, but was able to prevent himself from falling. I then scoot my ass down and finally reach pavement. It was evident that Oleg was in a lot of pain, so we weren't sure if he had broken anything or not. It was hard for him to talk because he got the wind knocked out of him. Shlomo still hadn’t moved since Oleg’s fall and is crying like a baby. So my buddy had to climb back up and help him get down. I have absolutely no idea where Shlomo’s mute dad is at this point. I have a feeling that Shlomo’s dad became a mute from his son’s constant whining and crying. I walk over to Oleg and there is an older gentleman and two younger girls around my age, helping Oleg out. As much as I do want to help, I’m not really knowledgeable as far as what to do in these type of chaotic situations. Even though I had pretty much lost my faith in society many years ago, it was refreshing to see how many people were helping out.
My friend finally helped Shlomo down the cliff and Shlomo just leaves instead of seeing how Oleg is doing. And just so you know, about six feet to the right of the disastrous cliff we came down, was another path that was a hundred times easier. People were pretty much walking down this path. I thought to myself, “Are you kidding me?” We went through all of this for nothing? I have a feeling had we not bumped into Shlomo, all of this would’ve been avoided and realized the other path to get down. There’s some more drama to the story, but I think I’ve basically have written enough for one blog. In a nutshell, there was some debate amongst the people if we should call for an ambulance or wait and see if we could walk Oleg to the car ourselves. We ended doing a combination of both. We walked/carried Oleg about three quarters of the way back to the parking lot and then some firemen came to put him in an ambulance. I’m proud to say that Oleg is okay. He fortunately did not break anything, but instead had some massive bruises and maybe fractured a rib. This happened on Sunday and the tough son of gun was back to work by Thursday. To make this Easter holiday even stranger, than it already was… While we were waiting in the emergency room, everything started shaking and then I quickly realized that this must be an earthquake. It was a strange one in that it felt like we were on a boat that would not stop swaying. From what I heard, it was the longest earthquake that Los Angeles has had in the past ten years ago.(I don’t have evidence to back up this data, but a friend told me this.) In summary, if you ever plan on going hiking, I would maybe stay away from the Malibu mountains and in addition to any friendly, nerdy, British, Jewish Orthodox, young males.