We follow our chosen trail, turning and twisting, finding footholds in granite boulders to take us further up a sandy small arroyo lined with brush.
It is Saturday and most hikers are still in bed. Deer gnats, fierce this time of year, must have partied late because we hike without their nagging nuisance.
We follow our arroyo up a canyon and stop after a mile. On the way back down, we meet a stranger playing with a miniature battery powered ATV, a small Suburban that he runs up and over rocks. He holds controls loosely in his hands like a surgeon holding a scalpel and turns his body to match the direction his vehicle goes.
” There’s plenty of power with these, ” Rigo tells us as he works his controls. ” I can get parts on the internet. ”
” Nothing to them, ” Charlie adds, looking closer at an engine that is just a battery pack with a computer chip for brains.
” I belong to an off road club, ” he tells us. ” We are going to have a national competition in a couple of weeks. ”
We admire his hobby and then wind back to the parking lot.
What catches our eye,further down, is another enthusiast flying a drone.
Surveillance and weapons are a bigger part of our future than I want to admit and the man flying this one doesn’t seem in full possession of his wits.