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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Maple Springs Road

Saturday, July 6, I headed out the door at about 9:30 am for a Maple Springs hike. The night before, I had calculated that I needed 6 hours for this hike: 1 hour drive each way, plus hiking 2 miles per hour (which is quite slow -- I do more like 3 per hour, sometimes more) for 8 miles adds another 4 hours. 

I always get so many things wrong when I estimate time! It's somewhat amusing -- I think it's becoming my trademark. So, the drive to Silverado is an hour. But there's still more to drive. It takes an additional 30 minutes to get to where Maple Springs Road becomes a dirt road.  Boom -- there's an extra hour added to my 6 hour trip. No problem, I thought, I'll just make sure I march a little faster.

Eventhough we're into the first week of July, and June Gloom has pretty much left us, the weather was still bearable for me in Silverado Canyon. Yes, it was warm, but not quite hot. The gnats were out, and so were the horseflies and bees. But there was a soothing coolish breeze here and there that made everything all right. 

I didn't see any hikers or runners along the way. Other than the few mountain bikers that I saw, everyone else on the mountain was driving. There were quite a few motorcyclists, and there were others in trucks and jeeps. The road wasn't exactly crowded, and there were extended periods of no one in sight. But I would say that the mountain was more travelled than most times I've headed up Maple Springs Road. I even saw a K-9 police suburban drive by. I had not seen that before. 

About a mile shy of Four Corners I stopped to do something with my pack -- I don't recall exactly because at that point I swatted away what I thought was a horsefly on the inside of my arm. That was a mistake because it wasn't a horsefly but instead a bee, and it stung me. She gave me a good stab for sure. And right about that time exacty, my oldest son phoned. I of course answered and as we chatted on the side of the mountain two trucks slowed to a stop next to me and the female passenger yelled out the window about how studly and tremendous she thought I was for hiking that far up. 


I made it to Four Corners in pretty good time. The four corners are: North Main Divide, South Main Divide, Harding Truck Trail and Maple Springs Road. I wandered about Four Corners for quite some time, but that only mattered because the trip up took 5 miles instead of the 4 that I had calculated to come up with my 6 hour adventure. Well, I pretty much chucked that timing out the window when I saw the mileage (remember I also miscalculated the drive!) Therefore, I was able to enjoy myself, taking in views of San Bernardino and Orange Counties without any time constraints.

On the way down Maple Springs Road I began picking up aluminum cans, smashing them and putting them into my pack. It is a shame the amount of trash I see along Maple Springs Road. It's not exacty "trashed", but there's cans here and there and fastfood softdrink cups, etc. It's not difficult at all to pack your trash out. I cannot understand why everyone doesn't pack it out. Sometimes it seems as if they just chuck it out their car windows. 😕

With about a mile remaining, I stepped off the road to visit the ladies room. On my way back to the road I noticed a can in the brush. So, I made my way over to that location, which was off the road still, but down a little out of view from the road. Anyway, I decided not to reach for the can because I'd need to do some bushwhacking and I wasn't much in the mood for bushwhacking. At about that point I noticed a heavy duty, industrial type blanket a couple of feet away. I also immediately noticed a bad odor. An animal decomposing kind of odor with hundreds of flies swarming above the blanket. Well! This could be suspicious. There was no way that I was going to check beneath that blanket. And it seemed like there could have been something beneath the blanket, or it could have just been folds. Did it seem like a body?  No, I don't think so, but perhaps an animal. 

So, that was on my mind for the remainder of this hike, which good thing was over soon. My plan was to check in with the Maple Springs Visitor's center, and if that wasn't open, I'd call the Trabuco Ranger District when I had cell service. I talked a while with the guy working the visitor's center. He said that I wouldn't believe the things that people dump out there. He knew the exact location that I was speaking of (because I knew the exact location I was speaking of). And he said further that he would call to have someone check the blanket out when he had cell service after leaving the canyon. That's all I know about that. It may have been nothing. It seemed supicious. More suspicious than not. Should I have lifted the blanket (with a stick or something) to see what was beneath it? Honestly, just in case it was something terrible, I didn't want to be traumatized. And if it wasn't terrible, it still may have been gross. 

More Wishes!

Turns out, I was only thirty minutes past my 6 hour prediction. Total miles: 10. I didn't get any other stats because it appears that I accidentally deleted the data. I hope that's what happened anyway. Otherwise, I'll have to figure out something software or hardware related again. 😅

I love Maple Springs Road. This however, will probably be the last time I venture up that switchback until the weather cools down. I predict, mid to late fall. Until then, there will be other trails, other places. 😊

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