September 14, 2002
Carol, Pete and Linda had a delightful one-day trip up to Cabin 40 on Saturday, September 14th. Linda had wanted to stay overnight, but Pete and Carol were concerned about the availability of water, so the one day trip was agreed upon. Pete and Linda arrived at Carol's house on Friday afternoon, enjoyed a swim in her lovely pool and dinner out on the patio.
We arose at 5am on Saturday morning and left Van Nuys by 6:15, having breakfasted and made lunch. We arrived at Chantry Flats by 7:30 or so. There were four or so cars in the pack station lot in addition to Kim's, one belonging to Chris Kasten. We headed down the hill, with the temperature dropping slightly as we went lower down the canyon. We stopped first at Robert's Camp. There was a little bit of water in Winter Creek, enough for the dogs to get a drink, but the level was only up to their ankles. We noted that there was yellow construction tape around the area behind the trashcans, and it looked like some excavation had been done. The tape enclosed an area from the Roberts Camp sign to an oak tree and back to the trashcans.
We headed on, arriving at cabin #26. There was absolutely no water there, some below the dam just below that site though. Even the deeper pools there, against the far side of the stream, were dry. We headed up, noting that there was no water at Bon Accord either. We were relieved that there was water in front of the tiger-lily and naked-lady cabin. Shady spotted the pool right away so Patty, Shady and I went down and the dogs had a nice swim and drink. The water in that pool was still clear and there were some small fish in it. The pool below the dam by Cabin 40 was rather stagnant, with a layer of dust on it. Right in front of our Cabin there is no water flowing, just a little stagnant water in front of the big rock - so shocking to see no water at all!
The Cabin looked good at first glance, but lots of leaves, acorns and twiggy-bits were down. We opened up and were pleased that there was no sign of mouse activity. The counter was completely clean! We made a pot of coffee first thing. To get water for it, Linda went upstream a little ways and found a clear pool where the water was flowing a bit. She noted that there had been a rock fall just upstream from our Cabin, not far beyond the big bay tree. It looked like the side of the hill was just sliding away, and dirt continued to come down as we were there; in fact one group of day hikers was showered with dust. Small rocks had rolled across the trail and the trail is definitely narrowed in that spot.
We were lucky to get our pot of coffee made, as the hose that connects the stove to the propane completely failed! We were lucky to hear (and smell!) it before any problems occurred. Pete ended up drinking lukewarm coffee for his second and third cups and then carried the stove out so that we would be forced to get a new one before the next trip.
We focused on getting the roof cleared off, patio swept and the areas closest to the Cabin and Jericho cleaned. We felt like we had preserved our fire perimeter and were able to do most of that before lunch. We hauled some water for the vinca on the upstream side of the Cabin and for the jade plants and ferns up by Jericho. All the plants that are not directly in the stream bed look very dry.
There were not many day hikers, so we guess that lack of water is keeping them away. Steve Burns (#138), canyon photographer, stopped by, and he was the only Cabin owner that we saw. He said that the Mine spring is still dripping, but the spring up Winter Creek that supplies the cabins just before Hoegee's Camp has gone dry. He also said that the Forest Service is considering closing the road while the threat of fire danger is so high. Evidently the road has been closed during the week and is only open on week-ends. We also saw Kevin Hunt, on a trip in to pick up trash.
We enjoyed our lunch and a rest break. Patty reluctantly shared her lower bunk (with the new doggie quilt that Carol made!) with Carol. Patty wasn't about to stay outside as there were little pesty flies buzzing and biting.
We finished up our raking and sweeping and thought the place looked good. Pete had to dispatch a wounded mouse that Linda found while sweeping ... naturally it gave her quite a start! We headed back up the hill by 4:30pm. We noted on our hike out that there were quite a few places where the hillside was crumbling away, and wondered if there had been an earthquake or just the extreme dryness was allowing the dirt to lose its cohesion. Most of the road was in the shade by then, so while it was still quite warm, it wasn't unbearable. We arrived at the top by 5:30. Kim was there and she filled us in about the excavation at Robert's Camp. The Forest Service is putting bear-proof garbage cans in there at that location. Still no baby for Bonnie, but Kim thinks that should happen in October.
When we reached the bottom of the hill we found that half the gate was closed, with a second barrier there, as if to stop cars going up the hill. But there were no signs or anyone to enforce the closure. We also saw three deer there, browsing in the street and in yards ... poor things were very skinny and one was definitely a fawn from this year.
We arrived back at Carol's by 7pm. Howard made us a lovely dinner of meat loaf and baked potatoes and it was much appreciated! A very good day trip that we all enjoyed!
Love, Linda Lue, Pete, and Carol