After a fine day of bouldering and general forest revelry atop Pine Mountain with Troop 201, the uber-hund and I parted ways with the lady mountaineers and headed into Grade Valley. There, Bardlero Primero (Patron Saint of the 20W15), radio stalwart Perry in the Morning, RSO Jonny, and I all converged at Thorn Meadow from points disparate. This was a rendez-vous of LPNF wanderers conceived by either Rod Serling or Dr. Seuss (we never did really agree on which).
A fine night was spent at the Thorn Meadows (Snedden) campground, going through the beer stores and enjoying the Lagavulin and the dogs gnawing their rations, and when we finally called lights out the stars were the clearest I’d seen in several weeks (since the Chumash).
As the sun broke over the horizon, we packed up the day kits and headed up the unnamed drainage (which for narrative purposes going forward will be known as Thorn Canyon). It was a clear Monday morn, and the air quality was far better than most summer days where views of the Oxnard Plain or the Central Valley usually yield a thick layer of hazy nastiness.
With so many destinations and trips these past few years in the name of recon, somehow the uber-hund and I hadn’t made the hike up to Thorn Point for nearly two years, when Herr Weßen and I enjoyed a memorable night descent from the lookout. I was looking forward to a daylight revisit.
I was pleased to see how heavy the fern cover was in the lowest stretches of the Thorn drainage; in the years post-Day it had often been a traverse of pteridological crispiness.
We stopped frequently — as we are wont to do — to investigate recent trail work, a behemoth pair of conifers on which the local ursine population has clearly been perfecting its climbing prowess, and to take in increasingly impressive views. It was pretty warm, and the drainages dry, but the RSO and I had stocked an extra gallon each for the hounds and so there were no complaints from the ranks.
We enjoyed a brief respite of sardines and other mutt-enticing victuals at the outcrop near the mid-way point, and in short time crossed the Mutau headwaters, deftly dodged some stretches of poodle-dog, and were then standing beneath the shadow of Thorn Point lookout, which in my inconsequential opinion is the greatest of the remaining towers. (See my earlier “Lookout!” entry for a short history.)
Picking around the grounds of the Thorn Point lookout is always a treat; one finds something new each visit. An added bonus this visit was that volunteers had done some serious clean-up inside the cab. A tip of the beards to them.
The descent — especially one as relatively steep as this — was a quick one, and we dropped back into Thorn Meadows for lunch and a well-earned ale. It was great to get out with folks previously known only within the confines of the city limits and/or the interwebs … but woe unto them, as the first shan’t be the last.