Let's Make a Deal
Backpacking DATE: 03/18/2017 - 03/19/2017
Trip/Event Location: Los Angeles, CA
Trip Leader(s): CJDGO
Max # People: 6
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: Yes, but only to cover shared expenses, and I too am paying
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
Whenever I hike the hardscrabble country of the Dick Smith Wilderness, I can't help but think of that jarring movie from 2007 "There Will be Blood" in which Daniel Day-Lewis stalks and murders his way across the southern Los Padres wilderness. This is the landscape where that tale would have unfolded: crumbling hills where the desert meets the coast range, gnarled oak trees, quail scurrying in the chaparral, and weird mineral seeps hinting at a bonanza of oil under the ground.
A foray into weird and little-traveled Deal Canyon was forced upon us as a Plan B when we found out that our initial choice on Manzana Creek was inaccessible due to recent landslides. This winter has been a rough one on the Los Padres National Forest, with floods and landslides after years of drought shutting off key campgrounds and trailheads. So our choices have been few and far between lately. We've been overlooking Deal Canyon for years now, so now was the time to make it happen.
But our usual troupe of hikers had a fine new addition in our new friend, Ulric. We teased him along the hike, saying that because he was a "virgin" to our local hiking scene, there would be a blood sacrifice over the campfire that evening. He took our ribbing with a smile, but we soon discovered that our threats were all too accurate. Thanks to the abundant wild roses growing along our trail, we were all lashed with thorns and doing some bloodletting by the time we crawled into camp.
It was all worth it, though, because our reward was so rich: new terrain to explore and new and old friends to enjoy it all with.
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