Vacation 2009 - Part 7

May 7-8, 2009

This is part 7 of my 2009 vacation. On Thursday May 7th I drove to Paul Campbell's home. Paul is the author of Survival Skills of Native California, ISBN 978-0-87905-921-7. Is it a good book? Well, as my friend Dude McLean once said, "If I had written that book, you wouldn't be allowed to talk to me." This from a man who can be kinda stingy with his praise!

At Paul's home I met his friend Rick Adams. Paul fed us a delicious breakfast on his poolside patio, then we drove up into the San Gabriel mountains to the Devils Canyon trailhead near Chilao. We hiked into the canyon and spent the night there. On Friday morning we hiked out (read: up), then drove to Newcomb's Ranch Inn for some lunch and liquid refreshment.

Total round trip distance about 10 miles. Thanks, Paul and Rick, for a great time!

Paul has created a stream for his pool (so appropriate for the San Gabriel mountains!) and has planted cattail. [01]

Paul and I at the Devils Canyon trailhead. [06]

Devils Canyon is within a designated wilderness area. [07]

Paul on the trail to Devil's Canyon. [08]

Looking down into Devils Canyon. It was beautiful. [09]

Paul and Rick on the Devils Canyon trail. [10]

Hiking the Devils Canyon trail. [11]

Paul on the Devils Canyon trail. [12]

Hiking the Devils Canyon trail. [13]

Hiking the Devils Canyon trail. Every step is down. Tomorrow won't be so pleasant! [14]

Hiking the Devils Canyon trail. [15]

Chia (Salvia columbariae). Paul said this was an important source of protein for the natives. [16]

Chia. Seeds not ready for harvesting yet. [17]

Lupine. [18]

Lupine. [19]

Indian Paintbrush. [20]

Paul is a Marine and Rick is a soldier (LRRP). Both are Vietnam vets. [21]

The stream, just above the "real" campsite. [22]

The stream, just above the "real" campsite. [23]

The stream, just above the "real" campsite. [24]

The stream, just above the "real" campsite. [25]

The "real" Devils Canyon campsite is a large flat area with a fire ring. That's all.... [26]

Rick used his purifier for his first quart of water. Afterwards, we all decided that if the water was pure enough for the large trout we were seeing, then it was probably pure enough for us, and we drank our water untreated thereafter. [27]

Paul Campbell. [28]

The stream at the "real" campsite. [29]

Paul checks his eyelids for holes. Having found none, we continued on. [30]

We decided to continue downstream. We felt confident that we would find other suitable campsites. [31]

There is a nice trail for some distance past the campsite, but the farther you go, the rougher it gets. [32]

Climbing over deadfall. [33]

We settled on a campsite, then hung our packs. There are bears in this canyon. We never saw any, but you never know. Rodents probably pose as big a threat to an unguarded pack. [34]

Traveling lighter. We had hoped to make it to a large waterfall, but the route became more and more difficult to follow, and we had some concerns about losing daylight. [36]

Paul, at 67 years old, is a strong backpacker and incredible outdoorsman. [37]

Rick, at 62 years old, is also a strong backpacker and bicyclist. [38]

I tried my SPOT transmitter at our campsite. It worked. Here's the message:
Bill Qualls check in OK. All is well. No worries. 
ESN:0-7380190  Latitude:34.3001  Longitude:-117.9798 
Nearest Location:not known  Distance:not known  Time:05/07/2009 19:06:03 (US/Central),-117.9798&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1 
I neglected to try for a signal from the "real" campsite. [39]

Paul tried some fishing. The trout showed some interest. Paul was convinced he could have had some with the right flies. [40]

None of us used a tent. I used a "bug hut" because the mosquitos like me so much. [41]

Paul cooking dinner. [42]

Rick looks on and offers sage advice as Paul cooks dinner. [43]

Full moon rising. It was a beautiful night. [44]

Walking out the next morning, we came across this yucca. I knew the heart of yucca is edible, but didn't know how or when. This is about right, up to when the stalk is maybe another foot higher. [45]

Paul CAREFULLY breaks off the stalk. [46]

Peel the stalk until you get to the soft center. [47]

It was surprisingly good. The taste and consistency reminded me of jicama. [48]

The blue-violet flowers scattered within this basket bush plant are brodiaea (also known as blue dicks -- a most unfortunate name.) [49]

Brodiaea flower. [50]

The bulb is eater raw, fried, boiled, or roasted. This was an important food source for California natives. Try it once so you know what you are looking for, but always eat bulbs sparingly except in emergencies. [51]

Only eat those plants with the blue-violet flowers attached. White flowers could be death camas, which often grows in the same area. [52]

Saying good bye to Devils Canyon. [54]

It sure felt good to see the sign indicating we had made it out! [55]

Rick and Paul at Newcomb's Ranch Inn. [56]

Copyright © 2009 by Bill Qualls. Last updated May 8, 2009.
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