Note: We have definitely entered the lair of the infamous Poodle Dog Bush.
We arose at 6am to find that Tamika’s mum had arrived the night before. It was awesome to finally meet Dawn and she bought us fresh yogurt, strawberries 🍓 and bananas to accompany our breakfast. Tamika is spending a couple of days with her so we embark from Buck Horn Campground just the four of us. We have a couple miles to walk to get back onto the PCT but the stroll it down a beautiful river gorge with amazing old growth trees and exposed cliffs. It feels moist and sheltered in the gorge and we realise that in nearly 400 miles this is the first time we have been in this temperate environment and we feel quite at home.
We reach the PCT again at the endangered species trail closure (the PCTA have closed part of the trail due to a rare species of frog). Dave suggests we do a small side trip to Cooper Canyon Waterfall and we are all impressed with its proximity to the desert!
This morning’s walk it very pleasant with gentle ups and downs, quiet a contrast from yesterday which really took the wind out of our sails. We cross highway 2 a couple of times dipping in and out over spurs and ridges. It’s a nice change to find the walking easy and for me (Pine Cone) it been restoring my faith in my legs, we also pass a marker denoting mile 400 which is always encouraging.
As we trek further west we catch glimpses of the LA basin covered in cloud. We are actually very close to Pasadena however the last few days all we have seen is a dense overcast sky. The high desert Angeles National Forest acts as a barrier to that weather system with clouds seeping into the valleys and then being evaporated by the harsh sun. The cloud play today was spectacular and made walking through burn forest far more entertaining.
Just before lunch we dip into a gully and notice the pine forest grow thin and the element of the desert creep back. Parts of the forest are burn and an abundance of Poodle Dog Bush begins to pop up all over. As you may have read about in past posts, Poodle Dog Bush causes a nasty painful rash with swelling and pustules if it makes contact with the skin. It also causes lung problems if the bio-waste is burnt so it has become as very difficult weed to deal with. Funnily enough it is very comedic looking and smells like marajuana. I like to joke that it’s called Poodle Dog Brush, so that it just sounds like you’re talking about a dog brush.
For lunch we find shade near Sulpher Springs. We are all in good spirits from the days ease and spend the hottest out of the day drinking water for our next climb. After lunch the Dog Bush increases again as we climb out of the valley towards the billowing clouds of LA. At one stage our path enters the cloud and we feel it’s cold moist atmosphere on our hot skin. We soon exit the cloud to keep climbing. Our camp is perched on a tall hill with very scenic views north of the desert floor in sunset colours! Overall it has been such a surreal day with bizarre weather and drastic changes in environments.