The trail briefly joins
a dirt road. Purple Poodle
Dog Bush grows thickly in
We thought the Purple P.D. was
worth seeing again. At this
time of year, it was impossible
to avoid once the trail left the
as it was dense and nearly 5
A view north from the ridge just
south of Walker Pass. You could
see the snow-capped Sierras
from here, but they don't show
up in the picture. Just try and
imagine how pretty they look.
Amy reads the historical marker
at Walker Pass.
Once on the trail that morning, we passed by the spur trail to Yellow Jacket Spring that
we now would be able to avoid thanks to the trail angels. It was especially lucky because
there was a note pinned to a trail sign stating that the spring was a mess thanks to cows
I have a particular beef with the presence of cows in wilderness areas. (Please pardon the pun) When we backpacked in the Marble Mountains last year, cows had ripped that lovely place apart too.
According to a recent article, the cattle grazing on public lands account for only 3% of all cows raised for beef. The money that the government spends to repair damage done by these cows far outweighs the money they receive from ranchers for grazing rights. They are one of the only animals [besides humans -Scott] that go to the bathroom in their own water source and spread disease to boot. Why is this allowed then? I'll bet that the people who allow the grazing never see the damage that is done and never are aware of how much is spent cleaning up the mess. Or maybe they just don't care. I think their office water coolers should be filled with warm cow potty water so they could get a first hand taste of one of their policies.
Scott has decided to take a stand by defecating in the next cow trough we run across. (Sadly, the cows wouldn't care) [But it would make me feel better -Scott]
Well, to your great relief, I'm sure, I'll move on. We hiked through several miles of burnt forest. In the aftermath of the blaze, large bushes with big purple flowers called Purple Poodle Dog Bush had grown up in place of the trees and completely covered the hill. The guidebook warned, "Avoid touching these bushes-severe contact dermatitis may result." Well, it appeared we were doomed because there was no way to avoid them, they were so thick and tall. We wondered if we would get Purple Poodle Dog-itis. Only time would tell.
At last, we came to a ridge that overlooked Walker Pass and Highway 178 and gave us views of the high Sierras. They seemed so close, but there were still more dry desert hills looming north of the pass to cross before reaching them.
We walked down the mountain and met up with Mary and Glenn. It was great to see them. They had brought our resupply box and cold weather gear. In the three and one half days since we'd left Mojave, we were in the worst looking and smelling state that we'd been in the entire trip. There hadn't even been enough water to soak a bandana and wash the grime off faces, let alone our bodies. We were coated in a sticky concoction of grime, DEET and sunscreen and were pretty disgusting. They were really nice and said we didn't smell bad at all. We all drove into Ridgecrest and ate at the all-you-can-eat Sizzler salad bar, did laundry, ate ice cream, and slept in a real bed. Oh, I forgot showers--the most important part-especially for other people smelling us.