Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fire, Water, and a Poodle-dog Go-Around

Day 23 - April 28
Mile: 406.5 to 430.5
up/down: 5550/5000

Q: How do you walk 24 miles? A: Walk 2 mph average for 12 hours. And that's pretty much what we did today. And throw in 5000 feet of up and down and you might think we're tired- and you'd be right!  This is a tough water section and we want to get through while the cool weather holds. We left camp this morning having carried water there for 10 miles and still had to go 12 today before our only source for the day at Mill Creek Summit Fire Station. Next stop after the fire station is 24 miles to the town of Acton. It's hard enough to do this in cool weather, I can't imagine how hard it would be if we had to carry even more in hot temperatures. As it was we left there at noon today with 5 liters each. That's a lot of water weight.

Q: What strikes more fear in hikers than icy trails on Fuller Ridge? A: Poodle-dog Bush. The day was spent finishing the western end of the San Gabriel Mountains mostly in old fire areas. Tomorrow we will make the final descent out of this mountain range. Wildfires in chaparral are a normal occurrence and the habitat bounces back relatively quickly. One early succession plant is the poodle-dog bush which can cause severe irritation similar to poison oak.  Not everyone is affected by it but those who are can have serious reaction. An 8 mile section we walked today has been so overgrown with it in the past few year that a road walk bypass was created. But like any early succession species it will eventually give way to other bushes and shrubs. Susan knows she is immune to it. Years ago before we knew what it was she collected some to identify it. No reaction from the handling. I did a test with some on one of our training hikes a while back and brushed it on the back of my hand. Nothing. With little fear and reports that the amount of the plant has diminished we took the regular route. It was a good choice, minimal poodle-dog bush and a nice hike. Best of all, no road walking!


  1. Be careful with poodle dog bush. You can not react and after one too many exposures, come down with the rash. Like poison oak if you see it avoid it.
    The trail seems to level out after Acton or is that wishful thinking on my part?

    1. It's somewhat better grade for a while but still lots of up and down!

  2. Yes, I used to be "immune" to poison oak, but pushed my luck and now have to be careful. Love your travelogue!

  3. We're not foolish, We avoided it completely. It's just that we didn't let the fear push us to another road walk.