When I was 10 or 11 and living in Carpinteria, Ca. my friends and I made tentative forays into the mountains above the town. This was the Los Padres National Forest. Not really forest, it was Chapparal habitat. We followed the boulder strewn streams up into the rugged hills and seldom encountered other people.
Those coastal mountains were loaded with wildlife, mysterious caves, and beautiful waterfalls. All this had a profound effect on my young personality. How I grew to love those mountains. They were sacred to me. I felt such a strong connection to them that I thought of them as belonging to me, as I belonged to them.