Leaders: Julie Rush, Louis Quirarte, Mike Sandford, Bobcat Thompson
This hike was originally scheduled to be led by my friends Charlotte Feitshans and Rodger Maxwell, but Charlotte was in Texas to celebrate her grandmother's 100th birthday, and I was asked to substitute lead. So, I called Louis, Mike & Dottie, and Bobcat to come with me on this easy hike. But of course, I had ulterior motives, as will soon be seen.
Twenty-two hikers arrived at La Cañada to carpool up to the Barley Flats roadhead. We parked close to the open gate of the now defunct correctional facility where we exchanged pleasantries with a passing hunter w/rifle, just returning from a forage in the area, as we signed in. The strangely vacant structure still gives me an eerie feeling as I remember scurrying around the fence years ago and seeing the young men wistfully staring out at me through small windows.
Louis found an easy route through a side gate around the SE side, and we were soon trudging up the slope to find the "high point." Although someone once said that any geographic feature which has the word 'flat' in it shouldn't be considered a peak, on this clear, October day as we walked through head-high rye grass, light golden brown with an interesting seed crown, the name seemed well-suited.
Bobcat helped get us on the roller coaster ridge to Lawlor, where Barry & Suzanne also joined. Late sleepers? Once on top, we took time to admire the view of other near and farby peaks, quizzing nascent peakers to identify them. I was able to get the whole group to point out and recite the names of all the stately front line peaks of the San Gabriels. It was a fine view with pleasant temperature.
Good camaraderie and conversation helped us as we retraced our way back to the cars as it seemed we expended almost as much energy returning as on the ascent. But, promised goodies and a lure to another 'event' spurred us on, and we were back by noon.
We lunched and munched on the lemon cookies, cheese, crackers, fruit and cold drinks I brought along for bait. (It's best to feed unsuspecting, tired hikers, and then they'll do anything!) After we reluctantly said goodbye to those who had to leave, 11 of us stood committed - or should have been.
I quietly began passing out the accoutrements for the First Official Hundred Peaks Litter Clean Up. It took some time for some of us to, install our hard hats' suspension webbing, and of course, no one would read the directions. Thank goodness Barbara Hayashida was there as she quickly assisted our fellow five-thumbers. One other participant brought along his own. About this time, Mike Sandford began rolling his video camera to catch this historical, hysterical moment. (Look for premiere at the HPS Banquet).
Many jokes and pet names I dare not repeat here were bantered around as the group practiced and demonstrated acumen on their trash pickers. Virgin leather glove and Cal Trans orange net vests, a little snug for some, were stylishly fitted. The finale was a group line-kick dance to the off key singing of "New York, New York," which really hyped us for the job ahead.
Onward to Milemarker 51.41; The time, 1:15 p. m...
With Bobcat and myself in the lead Isuzu we commandeered the transformed hikers, who, with bright orange trash begs in hand, moved with professional grace and speed, leap-frogging by cars from turnout to turnout. We were on a search and remove mission along the "Crest." As we passed one another we gave our secret high sign, or stopped to assist and replenish dwindling supplies. The less steep ravines were secured from uncomely items: Louis found a discarded iron bar-b-que complete with stand; Bobcat found a cute little mitten; and we made a hood ornament out of a found motorcycle foot pedal. Along the way, our old friend Bridget O'Sullivan appeared with a reserve of more cold drinks. It was a dirty job, but we were now complete - a Dirty Dozen was scouring the Angeles' Crest.
Onlookers were speechless, although one asked how many hours I had to serve. And some we talked with even picked with us for a while. We soon made a reconnaissance around Clousburst Summit directly past milemarker 56.4 to attack the north flank. At this halfway point the troops worked their way back down.
We reconvened at milemarker 51.74 where we politely stacked the spoils of our commitment. In only one hour and 45 minutes we were finished.
The Angeles Crest Highway is our corridor to great hiking trails in summer and snow fun in winter. We may sometimes take this area for granted. Participation by the HPS in this litter removal project should be commended. We are truly doing something "to make the mountains glad."
So, hard hats off to those I hoodwinked on this first cleanup. They were: Bobcat Thompson (who first helped me decide on the area to propose to CalTrans), Louis Quirarte (for his art work for our soon to be installed sign), Mike and Dottie Sandford, Mike Green, Dan Butler, Barbara Hayashida, Doug Killian, Suzanne and Barry Hardy, & Bridget O'Sullivan. We had fun. I hope more of us will take this project on and keep it going.