Section D

Poodle-dog bush clearing is basically complete

By: Jerry Stone
May 15th, 2015

Many hikers are still under the impression that Poodle Dog Bush is an issue in the Station Fire burn area. We found many are still doing or planning to do a road walk. 2 hikers still had info that the trail was closed from Pacifico down to Mill Creek Station. We (Trail Gorillas) have been working continuously to open the trail of PD Bush and trees and at this time it is clear and no PD bush that you can’t step around. It’s a shame we can’t get the hikers back on the trail where they long to be.

Mill Creek Summit to North Fork Station

By: Dave Fleischman
April 6th, 2015

I want to let all hikers know that the PCT from mile 418(Mill Creek Summit) to mile 434(2 miles south of North Fork Station) has been cleared of heavy overgrowth and has had the tread repaired by the Trail Gorillas. There may be some trees down along the way as they keep coming down from the 2009 fire. We have been working extremely hard to open this section and knock back the poodle dog bush. Another project on April 18,19th will attack the 2 mile section from mile 434 to mile 436 at North Fork Station.
Dave Fleischman, Section D Chief, PCTA volunteer

Trail Conditions California Section D March 4 – 15, 2015

By: Seaglass
March 31st, 2015

My husband and I just hiked California Section D.

The trail was snow covered and impassable a mile south of Guffy CG to Blue Ridge. We used the jeep road that parallels the trail and had to use the Blue Ridge Trail down off the mountain.

The northern descent off of Mt Baden Powell is snow covered and impassable. Use the bypass route.

We experienced an issue with a road crew who were clearing Highway 2 just above the start of the Baden Powell bypass (Manzanita Trail). They were clearing rock slides off the highway, but they were dumping the rocks over the side and down onto the trail. We gave them warning that we would be hiking the trail just below where they were working. They continued to dump rocks over the side and we were nearly hit by rolling rocks and debris. My husband climbed the hill up to the road and talked with the crew foreman. He said he knew we were down there, but he didn’t seem to know that the trail is only about 50-100 feet below the highway. The problem now is that there are boulders that need to be removed from the trail and more importantly there may be boulders caught up in the trees and brush above the trail that can still come down on people. Use extreme caution when approaching the first/last 1/2 mile of this bypass.

The Endangered Species Bypass is rough, poorly designed, many wash-outs and trees down. I would not take a horse on this trail.

There are lots of trees down in the Station Fire area. The section from Mt Gleason North is in need of tree and brush removal. The drop from Mt Gleason down to Messenger Flats is very poorly maintained. North of Messenger Flats we were literally bush-whacking our way through the trail. Sometimes the terrain was steep and the trail narrow. We were in danger of stepping off the trail and through the bushes covering it. The descent into the Acton KOA was plagued with washouts. Again, I would not take a horse into this area.

Broken Marker /trail delineation needed at Section D Mile 388

By: Ken Marlow
March 10th, 2015

Trail delineation and replacement of a broken marker are need in Section D near Halfmile’s Mile 388, below the summit of Mt. Williamson, in Angeles National Forest.

My wife and I lost the trail north (west)-bound over a low-visibility Thanksgiving Weekend storm weekend, finding ourselves atop Mt Williamson instead of descending on the PCT in this area.

We approached the same problem area from the opposite direction last weekend and again in an attempt to figure where we went wrong and found ourselves again on a spur trail leading to summit Williamson.

The problem area is associated with a broken fiberglass trail marker (only one-inch appearing from the ground) at a ridgetop junction. Uniquely, because there is no trail tread in this area (the PCT falls away out-of-view downslope on both sides. The hiker only sees what ‘looks’ like PCT tread, but in fact is a spur trail to the summit.

Wife and I are experienced long-distance hikers, it was surreal to find ourselves off-trail from opposite approaches on separate trips.

Ken (Class of ’82) & Debbie Marlow

Endangered Species Detour: Tread is Sliding

By: Thomas Meissner
April 4th, 2014

On March 29, 2014, four of us hiked part of the endangered species detour from Islip Saddle – Devils Punchbowl via South Fork Trail – High Desert NRT, which has now become the official [editor: alternate] PCT route.

Though the new route is very scenic, the tread is faint and has disappeared over wide sections of the South Fork Trail between Islip Saddle and South Fork CG.

The trail, not particularly well designed as it is crossing steep exposed slopes without vegetation has become dangerous in several places with the trail sliding above steep dropoffs. It would need serious stabilization and with more rain, it is likely getting worse. This new route is definitely substandard for the PCT and completely impassable for stock.

The section along the High Desert NRT from South Fork Camp to Devils Punchbowl is in better shape. However, there is one short washed out section near the saddle between South Fork CG and Devils Chair.

I would advise long distance hikers to stay on the old PCT from Islip Saddle to Eagles Roost and then walk a couple miles along Hwy 2 to reconnect to the PCT via the Burkhart Trail rather than taking this long, tedious and risky detour.