Monday, May 21, 2012

21 May - Day 31 - of Poodle Dog Bush ballet & Roadwalking above LA

Sulphur Spring Camp (Mile 407.1) to Messenger Flats (Mile 430.6)

Total Trail Miles: 23.5

Hi, Sean here. This day HURT. And this entry is brought to you by Dad's Toe Butter--the foot creme my dad has been sending me that I credit with allowing just three blisters to rise on my feet ... All on the little toes. Thanks Pop!

Woke up way cold at Sulphur Springs and hiked hard to warm ourselves up. Didn't take long and we were more than warm enough.

We lunched with other thru-hikers in the shade of a U. S. Forest Service building where we were able to tank up on water, thank goodness.

There was a lot of debate on how to navigate the trail that in many places was overgrown with poodle dog bush. We have heard horror stories about what this leafy plant can do to skin so we avoided it with all efforts, including keeping from brushing our clothes against it. We called our gyrations poodle dog bush ballet as we twisted, turned, jumped and pirouetted to avoid its leaves. It has a strong smell, like the morning after a basement pot party. For all our wariness, we have yet to meet anyone with a PDB rash.

We decided to take a road detour rather than stay on the trail. The road has been closed, I think, since the 2009 Station Fire. We avoided the poodle dog bush, but the road was steep and the climb stinking hot. "This road is ABSURD!" I said to Chris at one point. Every corner we turned seem to reveal another even steeper stretch. Dante could have used it as a model for his Purgatorio. All around us were the charred remains of trees. It must have been a terrible fire with trees crowning as the flames worked their way up to the ridges and met there.

We reached one plateau to find a moving memorial to two firefighters who died in the Station Fire--a cast iron sculpture with two white granite crosses. The cast iron had pegs on it where firefighters from across the u.s. have come to hang hats of the squads in respect. We continued up another rise and found a scene right out of THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy: a complex of cinder block buildings that had been fried in every corner; glass melted in the metal frames, metal melted into curves, a car scorched and now rusted. Quite sobering.

We continued up more upward bends in the road until we reached the tree-oasis of Messenger Flats and camped near Three Bears, Justin, Mark Trail, and Tim.

That's today's blog, brought to you by Dad's Toe Creme--helping turn tenderfoots into Hobbit feet. :-)

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