Happy girls are the prettiest girls

2.06.2014

Telling stories

The other night at bakery yoga {oh yeah, I do yoga at a bakery every once in awhile, it's awesome and I get free scones after} I happened to listen to a fun story of some shenanigans the bakery chef had gotten into while in high school. You see, she lived in a Texas town that was on the border of Mexico, so as bored teens are wont to do, she would head over and get into trouble. I came into the story when she said she was stumbling out of a bar and got hit by a car. She was awfully humorous about the whole story, so it had me thinking about my own high school stories.

I didn't live near Mexico, or hang out in cornfields drinking to pass my Saturday nights, but I did find other ways to stay entertained, or worked up. I grew up going to church, and spent a lot of time with my youth group. My church was in the Los Gatos hills, on Hicks Road, which has a history that is sordid and scary. Just Google "Hicks Road San Jose" and get lost in the stories. There are many urban legends about witches, satanists, murderers, ghosts, and even an albino colony tucked away in the hills, whose residents will chase trespassers on their property. Who knows what is true exactly, but the people who do live out there like their privacy, and don't like trespassers. Maybe the albino myth stems from the Swedish community of Svedal that is located out there? A lot of pale complexioned people does not make an albino colony, but whatevs.
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A bunch of us were hanging out after youth group one night, when someone suggested the crazy idea that we go "albino hunting". It made sense, to 16 year olds with nothing better to do. We went our separate ways after youth group, somehow the guys "armed up", and we met back at the church. I am sure we would have been in a lot of trouble had we been caught, but the adrenaline was flowing and we thought it was a great idea, at the time. 

I remember riding in the backseat of my friend Steve's Accord, as he and another guy friend tried to reassure me this wasn't a bad idea, and nothing would happen. I was worked up, scared, shaking. Because that's what happens when you start discussing urban myths in the dark, and then decide to go hunting for them. So many things could have gone wrong.

When you are driving on Hicks in the dark, it feels...different. There's a mystery that colors everything sinister and sinks into your psyche. The trees that criss-cross over the road are not pretty so much as they are harbingers of eminent danger. Devil's door, a giant boulder that has been gratified to look like a door, borders the road and gives you the major creeps. People swear they have seen legs hanging out of the trees, like someone was sitting up there, watching. The air feels colder, not fresh, and every sound you hear could be some monstrous, evil being ready to tear your head off. Or that could have been me projecting my teenage fears and the hype we had created.

Of course we made it all the way to the top of Bald Mountain, just under the abandoned radar tower on Mt. Umunhum, without incident. We hiked out to the look out, no longer caring about the albinos we had set out to find. Instead, we found...nothing. It was dark, no nefarious characters were wandering around looking to be found. We had lost our vigor and excitement as we made the drive, calming ourselves down. I think the beautiful view of San Jose lit up below us quickly dispelled any lingering creepiness. We headed back to our cars, and back down the road to the church, all the while laughing about how silly the whole situation was. 
That little box on the hill is Mt. Umunhum, the abandoned radar tower, and the flat hill just below it is Bald Mountain. 

To this day, I am still morbidly fascinated by Hicks road. I loved seeing the radar tower high up on Mt. Umunhum from practically every part of the Silicon Valley, and I have even mentioned it on my blog before here. I never went hunting for urban myths on Hicks after that. I did make the drive a few times, and never liked it. I think some things just stick with you. I don't have the best recollecting memory, but I don't think I will be able to forget what it was like driving along a dark and windy road, looking for albinos with my church friends.

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