December 14, 2003

By Michael Strickland



"Mahi Mahi!" came the quickly shouted reply. I barely had time to bellow out "Platypus!" before being clobbered with a rolled-up newspaper.

To an outsider, the scene must have resembled a bizarre zoological auction. But in reality, it was a group of creative campers having some fireside fun on another Total Escape adventure.

Most of the 21 "Escapees" on this trip to Guadalupe Canyon joined in the "Animal-Animal" game of tag, in which the player whose animal name was called had to shout out another animal name before being tagged "It." Similarly, most of the campers joined the off-road caravan to see the nearby petroglyphs earlier that day. Despite several vehicles getting stuck in the soft sand, the expedition to see 10,000-year-old rock etchings proved to be an archeologist's and rock climber's delight.

A hike up Guadalupe Canyon took us past giant boulders and monoliths streaked with veins of quartz. Palm trees, reeds and marsh grass lined the rock-strewn path of the creek. Reaching a pair of inviting pools fed by a waterfall, some of us stripped down and braved the bracing water for a refreshing cool-down after the strenuous hike.

But as beautiful as the scenery is in this little-known oasis of Baja California, and as exciting the off-roading and hiking can be, what makes these trips such memorable experiences is the chemistry between the people that Total Escape brings together. Something about the destinations, the company's culture, the attitude of Total Escape's founder—something indefinable—creates a perfect mix of personalities, backgrounds, even ethnicities, on every trip. The result is what keeps me coming back on these trips: a long weekend full of camaraderie, laughter and all-around good times. Who could imagine having so much fun yelling out "armadillo!"?


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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December Columns:

12/31: Happy New Year
12/29: Return of the Oscar King
12/28: The Year in Travel
12/26: Trial by Piranha
12/25: Merry Christmas
12/22: Red Squares
12/21: Havasu Falls
12/20: Last Will & Testament
12/19: Bah Humbug
12/16: Newsworthy
12/15: The "Strick" Dialogues
12/14: Animal-Animal
12/12: Old Memories
12/7: Letters to the Editor
12/5: Greed Strike
12/4: Another Day at the Office
12/3: The "Back" in Quarterback
12/1: Sixty-Four
Previous months in The Archive

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