Boy did I take a wrong turn!
I drove into the Angeles National Forest earlier today and took a hike. To avoid further embarrassment, I'm not going to reveal the actual location. (For someone who's less interested in that side of things and had a much worse time, see this). So, I hiked up, climbed over some rocks, climbed down some rocks, climbed up several more, and eventually reached a nice place we shall call a "Peak." Then, I returned the eastern way, got to the saddle that would put me back onto an undisclosed road several miles up from where I parked my car.
It was only about three miles back to the undisclosed road which we shall call a "Highway." While I have successfully hitchhiked in the past, I decided to go around the north side, which should have looped around said "Peak", eventually leaving me at the saddle on the west side. Taking the trail down from there should have left me at my car.
"Should have." I had never come around the north side before. I ran into two junctions. One I took for a bit, but since I didn't know where it went and it didn't look too popular I eventually backtracked onto the main trail. The other one had a sign there which seemed like it was the one I wanted, but it didn't look like there was much of a trail there, but perhaps that was just because it was going through a sandy area.
So, I continued on the main trail for a few reasons: it was going down, there were footsteps and MTB marks so I knew it went somewhere, it had mile markers and I had passed 3 and 2 and soon passed 1 as well, and I was running out of water and I didn't have enough water and time to backtrack.
Boy was I surprised to end up in a parking lot instead of at a highway. I was actually on the other side of said "Peak", approximately 18 road miles (less as the idiot hikes) from my car. Thankfully I was able to get a ride. I'm a little dehydrated, but I had almost enough equipment to spend a very uncomfortable night in the hills or in the parking lot. I didn't have my water purification tablets, so that might have caused problems should I have had to start drinking green water. And, yes, in the future, I'll remember never to take unfamiliar trails when I'm hiking alone.
Now, let's never speak of this again.