12 Thursday, April 27, 2017
Coastal View News • Carpinteria, California
The wolf roams Franklin
OrDinary peOple climbing TO new heighTs
Debbie murphy Lobo Guerrero is a stone worker who moved to Carpinteria from Santa Barbara specifically because of the Franklin Trail. He was born in Guerrero, Mexico and works in Montecito and Santa Barbara as a stonemason. He shared that Lobo (the Spanish word for wolf) Guerrero is a spiritual name he has given himself and that his given name is Francisco Alemán. Though Lobo is busy several nights a week taking English classes, I interviewed him in Spanish. I have included some of his phrases and words so you can better hear his voice in the interview. Is it true that you moved here because of the Franklin Trail? A year ago, I broke my hand and could no longer go to the gym to work out. Going to the gym was something I did every day. I was looking for some form of exercise I could do with a cast on my hand that would allow me to stay in good condition, I discovered the trail and have been climbing the mountain now for a year. So I hike up the mountain every day before work at 4:30 or 5 a.m. on weekdays and slightly later on weekends. When you go up the mountain at this time in the morning, it is a very spiritual experience. It is really quiet, I can concentrate better and the hike fills by body with positive energy.
By the time the sun rises, Lobo Guerrero is already high on Franklin Trail. Do you hike alone? I usually go will my friends Olivia Quintero and sometimes Oliva Nava. They go with me because they feel safe with me. Once we heard and saw a bear, and it really surprised them. It was really early in the morning, and as we approached the flat area before Frank’s Bench we could hear the bear growling and see it in the distance. I thought it was making noise because of a cub. I told my friends to relax, that the bear wouldn’t bother them if we didn’t bother the bear. It was growling possibly to warn us that she had a cub. The bear seemed quite upset. She was loud. I told my friends that we couldn’t continue. We gave the bear her space and went back down the mountain. Have you seen other creatures that early in the morning? We have seen many gatitos, mapaches y taquaches (bobcats, raccoons, possums). Once I saw a little zorrillo (skunk) with my headlamp. It was really beautiful. I
always wear a headlamp as there are may stumps and stones in the trail and I don’t want to trip. It just makes it safer. We have also seen two types of snakes, el topo y el cascabel (gopher snakes and rattlesnakes). I have seen huge legartos (lizards) about a foot long. There are always telarañas (spider webs) early in the morning. I lead and hike with my forearm raised so that I can break all the spider webs as we pass through them. When I look at my arm with my headlamp it is covered with spider webs. The animals don’t really seem to be frightened by us. They are just doing their jobs early in the morning. What do you take on the trail? I drink sabila. It is a drink that I make the night before with aloe and water. I peel a small piece of aloe and just drop the pulp in a gallon of water. It processes all night and this is what I drink. I don’t eat before I go, because for me, I function better with just this water. After I hike, I will eat a salad or breakfast before I go to work. You hike every day. Does it get boring? I have a routine. Some days I run. Some days I hike. I change my routine every day. I try not to repeat because the body can better improve by doing something different. I get to use different muscles by changing my routine. I had tried many trails, yet the Franklin Trail is the best. Some days I go Frank’s Bench. Others days I hike to the gate, and other days beyond the gate. This weekend
we hiked to the fourth bench. I don’t let my body get used to any particular routine. I haven’t gone to the top of the third phase, and when I have enough time I will do this. There are days when I hike two or three hours. The higher I get the calmer I get. I go to work every day. I get home from the trail and have a half hour to make my lunch and get ready for work. There is a lot of pressure at work. I get there at 7 every morning and do stone work all day No one is coming down the trail when I am going up. Sometimes we see someone on their way up the trail when we are going down the mountain. Usually we are the first ones up. One can concentrate more early in the morning. A veces me siente como una águila y me siente libre. (At times I feel like an eagle and I feel free.) It is really a beautiful experience. On weekends, I go a little later so I can sleep more. I wake up and go. During the week I use an alarm but not on the weekends. You mentioned that the hike was spiritual for you. Tell me more. Since the first time I walked the trail, I have felt that way. For me the trail is always a spiritual journey. It is the best. In the morning, even if it is cold, if you concentrate on what you are doing, you get warm and everything is just in your mind. Since I was little in Guerrero, Mexico, I have always had a spiritual life. My grandmother was from Sonora and my grandfather from Guerrero. Their lives filled me with a spiritual nature. I was the only one in my family who took up this spiritual life. It is part of my alma (soul) since I was little. I do the hike because it has me feeling really good spiritually. I’m in contact with nature. I wish more young people would turn to hiking instead of other things that they might turn to. It is sad to see young people who turn to drugs or alcohol. When one maintains a sport, it changes one’s life. This is why I post so many photos on the Franklin Trail Blazers Facebook page. I hope that what I do inspires someone else to do the same, to motivate them to get out of bed and go. The mountain makes us happy when we are sad or upset. I love this trail. Anything else you would like to say? It is really important that people don’t smoke on the trail. It’s our responsibility to take care of nature so that we can all enjoy it. Debbie Murphy is an adventurer, real estate broker and community volunteer.