|Mike Shields enjoying the natural wonders of Trout Creek.|
Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I just got back from shooting some fish off County Line, which is how I am recovering from this strange odyssey of brush ninja meanderism. Salt water immersion is good for a minor case of poison oak. Nothing from this day is worth a recommendation. Some days are just like that. I contemplated not even posting this one but figured that I could write this as some kind of public service "don't go here" announcement.
|Thorne Point, from above the Sespe.|
|The green line follows this day's wandering weirdness. Don't try to make sense of it.|
The day was initially about a resumption of my exploration of Trout Creek. I have (or had) a reason for this recurrent interest in an otherwise unpleasant drainage. In light of my recent experience there I am still undecided about wether to give up on that particular notion. Mike has his own interest in the area, a lingering and unresolved matter which I'm sure is nagging at him like a toothache. For the time being I'll remain vague about these concerns, hopefully maddeningly vague.
|We pretty much went all over most of the terrain in this photo.|
Back to the day in question, we pounded down the Sespe River Trail out of Rose Valley. Mike had identified an old dozer track that looked like a promising way to access the upper half of Trout, so we kept on truckin' right past where Trout empties into the Sespe. Mike's guess was good, a stout little climb which put us over a ridge and into a scrum of brush which we descended into the middle part of Trout. By the way, Trout Creek is a misnomer... there's no trout there.
We headed up Trout for a bit before climbing out of the west side of the creek to investigate a bouldered flat, didn't find anything of interest, dropped back into the creek and proceeded further upstream. Things got ugly mighty quick. "Ugly", in this case, is a descriptor which I've employed as an understatement. Take the ugliest horse you've ever met, mate it with a triceratops, expose the offspring to gamma radiation while in utero, name the baby Bertha, and then you see the analogy I'm trying to make. Even in this remote and thoroughly fucked up drainage we found a marijuana grow site. It's true. These people have staked a claim in every watershed in our forest that doesn't have a trail running up it.
|Another pot site.|
We traveled far up Trout until we were basically under Thorn Point, not that we could see any of that peak through the jungle we had ensnared ourselves in. By that point we were fed up with vines and sticks and brush and deadwood, and without any real goal for being there we started questioning why this had happened to us in the first place. I mean, we're intermittently nice people! What did we do to deserve this? With that thought we turned it around.
Sadly, descending and escaping from the creek led us in a whole other direction, one which changed the type of brush but not the quantity. I swear, this forest has developed a taste for human blood. So, stupid guys that we are, we worked up this bright idea to pioneer a new route out of this mess and back to the Sespe. We worked eastward up a twisty wash, crawling on hands and knees through numerous brush tunnels, fighting tooth and claw to advance our new found cause. My rich and colorful brush dialect became a monotonous kind of droning, accented by the sounds of lumber snapping and nylon shredding. We escaped from this pernicious gulch, climbed to a saddle, and there before us was a hideous sea of brush. Before continuing we turned back the way we had come and issued a big "Fuck! You!" in that general direction. We dropped off the saddle and in about ten minutes found ourselves reversing the same kind of crap we'd been doing all day. Another inglorious gully. I hung back for a bit and watched Mike struggle with this latest iteration of hell. I have to say it was great entertainment, though Mike didn't appreciate my laughter. Sorry Mike.
Some time later we encountered a deer track that diagonaled up and out of our little Eden. We'd had enough. Follow the deer. This path was better than many of the regular trails in our forest. In short order we topped onto a slender dragon's back ridge which descended steeply into the Sespe. This was easy street and it wasn't long before we turned west on Interstate Sespe headed for home.
|Deer tracks, the handy bypass routes of the SLP.|