Goodbye to Three Sisters

A couple years ago I visited the Three Sisters Waterfalls in the generally empty part of any San Diego map. I only climbed up part way before having to leave with sunset moving faster than I could hike. But I was so close! With unnamed treasures waiting for me at the top of the falls, I left with a bitter taste. That's why I needed a crew. The grocery list began. A gadget man who knows the terrain and satellite links. A heavy hitting man who smokes cigars and ballistics. A gymnastic spy man who can charm the women guards. A vague presence of kung-fu. That Saturday morning our entire crew was destroyed by one man, and that man lead the trail as I hiked up the waterfalls. John was that man.

Clear skies still wicked the lingering rain from grassy mountainside. The passing storms from weeks ago still roared at the bottleneck between the rocky ridges where the waterfalls lie. John found footprints. We'd go up.

We really went up -- and probably over-climbed the path by a couple hundred feet. This was real rock climbing without a harness or ropes. We had to be extra sure that no one was following us. Fortunately, we also had a great view coming down the top of the falls.

We had to answer riddles from Chief Mountain in order to pass. John guessed right. The answer was in Arabic so I'm not even sure how he knew it.

Cool waters at the top of the falls. We made it, but how we missed Kathy right then.

Not many people see this view in person. We hacked our way upstream for a couple hundred feet, but unless we were willing to do some serious bushwacking, the Devil's Punchbowl would have to remain fiction.

Apparently, we weren't alone. The mercenaries must've followed the trail of bodies. We should've been more careful, I agree, but time was not on our side -- like luck, love, and looks. From under the shaded brush we carved wooden spikes and battering rams to spring if followed further. There was no way they were getting the treasure.

John peered out from over the rocks while the mercenaries unwittingly crept below. His left calf was ready to pounce... just in case.

We were safe... for now.

Like any army singularity, John held that unless you're dead there's always time for good reconnaissance.

These photographs would be used to help find the missing P.O.W.s that were relocated before we got there.

Honestly, this was as far over as I could walk before my tennis shoes began to slide down the rock. John had good boots. No need for steel toes when you've already got it in your nerves.

The P.O.W.s were held captive between the lower-two sisters. John cut their ropes and radioed in the rescue team. Unfortunately, there was no response because he had destroyed the rescue team when we were first setting out. He knew that if we fell, no rescue team would make it out alive either. The mission at the time was pretty bleak, so he decided to save them the trouble. Too bad he didn't figure on the hostages.

Instead, the prisoners decided to stay and become an indigenous tribe devoted to the waterfalls. You won't ready about that in the Lonely Planet guide.

John then rescued the scientist and his assistant.

He even stopped a stampede of boulders that had let loose from the high waters. Three orphanages were saved as he steadied the rocks into a watershed dam.

The sun broke through the blue skies and the cloudless crepuscular rays washed over the falls. We had overcome the impossible trek up the waterfalls and made the world a better place.

The path we carved into the mountain made it easy for children and puppies to enjoy the beauty that the canyon and water kept. The orphans ran to thank John for his heroics, but he was gone. Rumors say he was seen eating LandL BBQ, but I know he would never settle on that slop. We may never know what happened to him.

Adventure complete.