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One man's trash...

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One man's trash...

Postby balzaccom » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:12 am

We’ve found a lot of things on the trail over the years, from little bits of trash to some pretty expensive equipment. And we don’t always know what to do about it.

The trash is easy. If it is small enough and not a bio-hazard, we’ll just pick up and pack it out. And swear a small curse on the person who left it there. We always get back to the trailhead with some extra trash.

Sometimes the trash is too big to carry, so we have no choice. The curse still holds.

But what if it isn’t trash?

We once found a perfectly packed and very expensive small tent on the side of the trail, half-way up Snow Creek in Yosemite. We were on a day hike, and we left it there on our way up. And it was still there on our way down. We discussed taking back down and turning it in to the lost and found department at the visitor center. That way it might have found its way back to its owners.

But we also considered that someone had left that tent on the trail intentionally, and were planning to come back for it later. There are a lot of climbers in this area, and rock climbers don’t like carrying tent up cliffs unless they have to. So we left it there.

(If it had been us, we would have left it in a more discreet location...so that others wouldn't see it or be confused.)

And last summer we found a very nice sandal on the trail up to second recess above Edison Lake. It was just one sandal, and we once again considered taking it back to the ferry, so that whoever lost it might find it again. In the end, we decided that it was more likely that a hiker would find it by backtracking and checking the trail, rather than the resort on the other side of the lake. So we left the sandal in the middle of the trail, where it was impossible to miss.

And a fellow passenger on the ferry commiserated with us about the fact that she had lost a sandal on that trail. We were able to tell her exactly where it was---but she wasn’t going to go back.

And on the first day of our hike on that same trail, my wife lost her hat. (It was my fault, because I had wedged it into the back of her pack, and it had fallen out.) So on the way back out, we looked everywhere for it. It was a big hat, and hard to miss.But someone had clearly found it, and picked it up.

Now my wife needs a new hat. So if you know anyone who found one in that area...
Balzaccom

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Re: One man's trash...

Postby RoguePhotonic » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:55 pm

I have seen a bag of tent poles, hats, shoes, water filters, sun glasses, bags of weed with pipe, whole piles of Power Bars left on the side of the trail and more. Most of the time I just leave it. Small trash can go out but the big stuff is too much.

When ever I am out there I always make a point to search bear boxes as I have found good stuff in them. I am always amazed by the amount of trash left in them.
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:18 pm

My most unusual find was the packet of maps left at Chasm Lake. I did ponder what to do about them. As it turned out I should have packed them down the Enchanted Gorge with me because at the bottom were the owers of the maps! Had I looked in the packet, I may have been able to figure this out, but I am a stickler for privacy- would never look inside others stuff. I decided to leave them on the rock just in case someone came back to claim them. I did get the address of the owners and did pack out the maps and send them back to the rightful owners. Unfortunately the maps did them little good after the fact.

Here is another unusual find. Alas, the owners were all long ago dead. It really freaked me out though. I worried I would stumble upon bones and skulls. I found this on the morain of a glacier. Later found out the plane hit the mountain above and avalanches had brought down the debris.

Image

Image
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby ndwoods » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:37 pm

Wow! That tops anything anyone else would find!

I found gaiters, sunglasses and pack cover...I packed them out cuz it was waaaayyyyy off trail and looked like they had been there awhile. They were practically new tho. Anybody lose those things?:)
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby quentinc » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:57 am

All of the sunglasses are mine. :)
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby oleander » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:02 pm

WD, are those photos from Mendel Glacier by any chance? If so, Peter Stekel, the author who researched that crash and wrote a book about it, might want to hear from you. The book is a good read, by the way. Stekel keeps in touch with the families of the airmen who crashed, and I believe they want to know what is coming out of the glacier as some bodies are still in there.

I once lost my red mini pocketknife somewhere around Rae Lakes. The next day, I found (and kept) a gray knife (exact same model!) that I found at Baxter Lake.

- Elizabeth
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby dave54 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:08 pm

well, there was an inflate-a-date in the Ishi Wilderness. It had been recently 'used'. So I left it without even touching it. There are some things I just won't pack out...

The best one though, was following the Campbell Fire in the Ishi Wilderness. A crew was mapping burn severity, and the metal parts of a circa 1850 wagon were found, at the bottom of a steep hill along the old Lassen Trail. The wooden parts were long gone, of course, just the metal, long obscured by the brush that was now burned away. The parts are in the Tehama County Museum.
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby TehipiteTom » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:20 pm

Weirdest trash I ever found was a headless rubber chicken in Blackcap Basin. I had to wonder if it was left by some kind of vaudeville Santeria cult...

Most useful "trash" was a copy of Barchester Towers one of my trip members found in the middle of the trail on a trans-Sierra trip in 1995. I had left my book in the shuttle car, and had nothing to read for the 10-day trip (a catastrophe, for someone like me), so I inherited the find. Had never read Trollope before; loved it, and have since read the rest of the Chronicles of Barsetshire as well as a number of others (highly recommend The Way We Live Now). Extremely lucky find all around.
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby Jimr » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:04 pm

Above Dingleberry lake, I was resting and watching a pack team going up trail. When I moved on, I noticed a leather hat one of the pack members had been wearing as they passed near me. I put in on a high rock with a small rock on it to keep it there. Three days later, on my way down, the hat was gone and a little thank you duck was in its place.
What?!
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:57 pm

The plane debris was not in the Sierra - it is on the Downs Glacier in the Wind Rivers in Wyoming.

I just remembered another find! When climbing Mt. Sill my climbing partner had forgotten his rain pants. We were on the way up the technical stuff, and he FINDS a pair of rainpants on a ledge. It was looking like rain. And there was a packet of trail food in the pocket! We ate the goodies and he wore the rain pants on the descent. It rained a few drops, but did not dump rain.
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby BrianF » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:37 am

The oddest and most disturbing trash I have found was on Mt. Shasta. My friend and I arrived in the helen lake area late in the evening in strong winds and whiteout conditions. We found a low rockwall shelter to block some of the wind and quickly set up our tent in it on the foot of new snow inside. As the winds increased overnight we were dismayed to realize that the rock walls weren't blocking much wind and that by setting up in the tent spot we were broadside to the wind. We spent much of that night sitting with our backs against the windward side to keep the tent from blowing down, there were gusts that got under the tent and lifted the tent floor with us on it off the ground. We sat fully dressed ready to bail if the tent blew apart.
The next morning the wind was still howling so we decided to give up the climb and go down. As we were packing up the tent we started seeing stuff sticking up throught the snow that had packed down under our tent. We dug around and found a Sierra Designs mountain tent still staked down with bent poles and torn fabric right under our tent. Further digging produced some bowls of half eaten food and some spoons and cups. Some one had to abandon ship pretty desperately. We hauled all the debris down and took it to the ranger station in case whoever it was was still out there somewhere, but were told that they made it down OK after the wind destroyed their tent
The direction you are moving in is what matters, not the place you happen to be -Colin Fletcher
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Re: One man's trash...

Postby oldranger » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:19 am

I love it how people feel it is ok to abandon their gear when things get tough with no feeling of responsibility to return and retrieve it. ](*,) It happened to me several times as a backcountry ranger.

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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