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JackandBarb - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2011

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Jack and Barb
City: Encinitas
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 17, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Fri, May 20th, 2011
Start: Mile 408 - near Sulfur Springs
End: Mile 430 - Messinger Flats
Daily Distance: 22
Trip Distance: 430.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,575
Journal Visits: 384,598
Guestbook Views: 167,210
Guestbook Entrys: 482

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Pacific Crest Trail Map

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The animals could run, but the trees could only scream.

Burnt Forest

The big Station Fire in the late summer of 2009 was started by an arsonist. It was the biggest fire in the history of California wildfires. We would walk through it for the next two days. Everything was fried, every tree killed, most of the animals, the lizards, the snakes, the rabbits, the coyotes, likely only the birds escaped.

The trail in the fire area was in very poor shape. There were areas with very loose gravel, like landslide areas. When the "herd" comes through here in a week or two, it will be really torn up. We had to go over, under, or around many downed trees. Many times when we went over, our hands were covered with soot.

The shrub and wildflowers are recovering. There is one ubiquitous plant that seems to be everywhere. It grows right on the trail and, at times, you must plow through a thicket of these 3 foot high plants (see pic).

There was a lot of up today, a real 3,744 vertical feet over a true 22 miles. Ughh. But there is nowhere to camp and in fact, the Forest Service requires hikers to camp at only a few spots, one of them being Messinger Flats. That was our destination, mile 430.

Messenger Flats is a very nice campground in the middle of the wilderness. Very flat, lots of pine needles on the ground. Pit toilets and picnic tables. There were five of us camping there this evening.

At about 11 pm we heard some voices calling out "Boris? Are you here, Boris?" Odd, it is so after hiker midnight and here are some dudes calling out someone's name. Woke us up, we yelled back "There is no Boris camping here tonight". They went on.

Turned out that these guys were Search and Rescue people, looking for a lost hiker. At Casa de Luna (on May 23rd) we would get the whole story. Boris and his hiking partner LOL got separated. Boris thought LOL was ahead of him and LOL thought Boris was behind him. So Boris was hiking fast forward while LOL was hanging out, waiting for Boris to show up. Finally, LOL got worried and called 911. Out came the troops, we heard 40 volunteer SAR types plus one helicopter. Boris was discovered the next morning at the ranger station and search was called off - there's a lesson here, we won't get into it.

On another note, one of our journal readers, David L. sent in the info on the "ubiquitous plant" that we saw everywhere in the burn area. Here is his info (Thanks, David! and thanks for helping maintain our trails)

"I thought you might like to know what that "ubiquitous plant that grows everywhere" (ref May 20 entry) is. You have discovered poodle dog bush, Turricula parryi.
Turricula parryi tempts hikers with lush spikes of purple flowers that bloom between June and August. (They have not yet quite begun to bloom.) In favorable locations the leaves cover the stems to the ground, prompting its common name of poodle-dog bush. But touching, even sniffing it causes a delayed rash that sufferers describe as a combination of stinging nettle and poison oak. It is found in burned-over areas in the first few years after a fire. The bush is typically dormant, but what you were seeing has bloomed as a result of the devastating Station Fire. It becomes prevalent after a major disturbance like fire or something that takes the area back to the barren ground. It will blossom, grow, and eventually be replaced by other dominant vegetation until another disturbance occurs. Its prevalence period could last as long as a decade, so we will be seeing it for a while; and I will expect to be cutting it off the trails for a while, too.
Now you know. Avoid it like you do poison oak."

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Jack And Barb Take On The PCT

Sir Edmund Hillary, first to summit Everest (1953) "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." View our trail images here See our uploaded movies here. contact us at JackandBarbPCT@gmail.com

 

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