Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

The Japatul Fire Station: For Jerry Schad

The thing that keeps hikers going is an insatiable desire to see what is beyond the crest of the next hill. Even late in the afternoon, when we know that we really should be getting back to the car before nightfall, which is the time when hungry mountain lions are most active, we can’t resist the temptation to trudge a little bit farther up to that next crest, just to see what’s on the other side…. In 2004, I went on a short hike -- equipped with nothing but a pocketknife -- at one of the trailheads near the Japatul Fire Station. It was an early afternoon in November and a small rain storm was approaching. With the arrival of the first few drops of rain I started back to my car in the gravel parking lot. When I reached the car, I was surprised to see a hiker who had just arrived, getting ready to start out on the trail. I thought it was a little crazy to start on a hike in such weather, but this guy obviously came prepared: he had a huge backpack that looked like it must have weighed a hundred pounds. He was a tall guy and strong, obviously not hampered by the weight of the pack. He was younger than me – or so I assumed (it turns out he was actually ten years older than me). I greeted him and he said hello back. As my interest in East County hiking trails increased, I got some videos and a book (Afoot and Afield in San Diego County) by Jerry Schad, and in them I recognized the guy with the big backpack, and realized what a dedicated hiker he was. Eventually I started an email exchange with Jerry. He was working on a new edition of his book; I had some questions for him, and he invited me to make suggestions for the new edition.

In 2007 I once again met a stranger at the parking lot near the Japatul Fire Station. I had just finished a morning hike and on returning to the lot, was approached by an old retired guy and his dog. They were getting ready to set out on a hike, just as Jerry had been a few years before. The man was overweight with a big pot belly, clearly no match for Jerry Schad. But I let him approach me as I was about to get into my Civic, and we chatted a bit about the local trails. He seemed to know a lot. I asked him about Bell Bluff, and he told me how to get there from Alpine, and told me that he and his dog had hiked there the long way, from Japatul Road. I was astonished that someone with his body could have done such a thing, but he described the route in convincing detail. Then he asked me if I had been to C………., saying that it was the greatest hike in the area, so great that it should have been a national park. It turns out that he was exaggerating a bit, but after (with much determination) overcoming the man’s wrong directions, my son and I found the place, and in fact it became my favorite place to hike in all San Diego County. I taught a night class for one semester that fall at Mesa College, where, once a week, I would get an amazing gourmet dinner at the little restaurant managed by the Culinary Arts department. One evening I saw Jerry there eating dinner at the next table – Jerry was on the full-time faculty there – and so we launched into a discussion about our favorite topic. And so I asked him why C………. was not mentioned in any of his books; I assumed he would be familiar with the place. He was, and he told me that he hadn’t written about it out of respect for the people living in that quiet community with lots of horses but no marked trailheads or parking lots or geocaches or any of that sort of thing (but, I must say, with its share of off-road motorbikers). I never did buy the last edition of Jerry’s book; by the time it came out I felt like I had hiked San Diego County, and was eyeing Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Arizona for new adventures. And so I didn’t think about Jerry Schad for a while…. The thing that keeps hikers going is an insatiable desire to see what is beyond the crest of the next hill. I wonder where Jerry Schad is now; wherever it is, we can surmise that he’s already over the crest of the nearest hill and moving on to the next, higher one, heavy backpack and all -- and not waiting for us stragglers.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Religion in Christmas movies, Yellow Deli a cult?, San DIego Sikhs, Christmas without Jesus, Hare Krishnas

San Diego spiritual

The thing that keeps hikers going is an insatiable desire to see what is beyond the crest of the next hill. Even late in the afternoon, when we know that we really should be getting back to the car before nightfall, which is the time when hungry mountain lions are most active, we can’t resist the temptation to trudge a little bit farther up to that next crest, just to see what’s on the other side…. In 2004, I went on a short hike -- equipped with nothing but a pocketknife -- at one of the trailheads near the Japatul Fire Station. It was an early afternoon in November and a small rain storm was approaching. With the arrival of the first few drops of rain I started back to my car in the gravel parking lot. When I reached the car, I was surprised to see a hiker who had just arrived, getting ready to start out on the trail. I thought it was a little crazy to start on a hike in such weather, but this guy obviously came prepared: he had a huge backpack that looked like it must have weighed a hundred pounds. He was a tall guy and strong, obviously not hampered by the weight of the pack. He was younger than me – or so I assumed (it turns out he was actually ten years older than me). I greeted him and he said hello back. As my interest in East County hiking trails increased, I got some videos and a book (Afoot and Afield in San Diego County) by Jerry Schad, and in them I recognized the guy with the big backpack, and realized what a dedicated hiker he was. Eventually I started an email exchange with Jerry. He was working on a new edition of his book; I had some questions for him, and he invited me to make suggestions for the new edition.

In 2007 I once again met a stranger at the parking lot near the Japatul Fire Station. I had just finished a morning hike and on returning to the lot, was approached by an old retired guy and his dog. They were getting ready to set out on a hike, just as Jerry had been a few years before. The man was overweight with a big pot belly, clearly no match for Jerry Schad. But I let him approach me as I was about to get into my Civic, and we chatted a bit about the local trails. He seemed to know a lot. I asked him about Bell Bluff, and he told me how to get there from Alpine, and told me that he and his dog had hiked there the long way, from Japatul Road. I was astonished that someone with his body could have done such a thing, but he described the route in convincing detail. Then he asked me if I had been to C………., saying that it was the greatest hike in the area, so great that it should have been a national park. It turns out that he was exaggerating a bit, but after (with much determination) overcoming the man’s wrong directions, my son and I found the place, and in fact it became my favorite place to hike in all San Diego County. I taught a night class for one semester that fall at Mesa College, where, once a week, I would get an amazing gourmet dinner at the little restaurant managed by the Culinary Arts department. One evening I saw Jerry there eating dinner at the next table – Jerry was on the full-time faculty there – and so we launched into a discussion about our favorite topic. And so I asked him why C………. was not mentioned in any of his books; I assumed he would be familiar with the place. He was, and he told me that he hadn’t written about it out of respect for the people living in that quiet community with lots of horses but no marked trailheads or parking lots or geocaches or any of that sort of thing (but, I must say, with its share of off-road motorbikers). I never did buy the last edition of Jerry’s book; by the time it came out I felt like I had hiked San Diego County, and was eyeing Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and Arizona for new adventures. And so I didn’t think about Jerry Schad for a while…. The thing that keeps hikers going is an insatiable desire to see what is beyond the crest of the next hill. I wonder where Jerry Schad is now; wherever it is, we can surmise that he’s already over the crest of the nearest hill and moving on to the next, higher one, heavy backpack and all -- and not waiting for us stragglers.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

La Jolla Elementary alumni

Bruce Robinson, Fred Benedetti, Nickel Creek, Black Licorice, Rob Halford
Next Article

What Beethoven's Fifth is not

An answer to vox.com
Comments
5

this is just so lovely...thank you 4 this wonderful remembrance of Jerry

he is dearly missed by all whether they ever hiked with him or not!!

Nov. 6, 2011

A great tribute to our fallen Reader comrade - thanks for posting!

Nov. 6, 2011

I wish I could have met him, if not only to thank him.

Nov. 6, 2011

Nicely written! Congrats!

Dec. 6, 2011

yeah the guy was a gift to all San Diego hikers everywhere. We were fortunate to have him with us.

March 1, 2012

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close