Burning Up In San Bernardino

I have finally arrived at the famous Sierra Nevada Mountain range. It has been a long 700 mile journey, with a wide variety of suffering and reward.

The Sierra Nevada mountains!
The San Bernardino mountains!
The desert has been thoroughly draining with it’s own set of mental and physical challenges.
I have hiked all night, and seen almost every sunset and sunrise in the pursuit of cooler hiking conditions. I have even hiked 30 miles in one day to reach the Sierra in good time! It comes as a huge relief to no longer be carrying 6+ liters of water at a time.
The San Bernardino Mountain range that lies behind me is home to several snow capped peaks, but in between lie miles of extremely dry desert. This area of California has been host to numerous and devastating wildfires on an annual basis. These fires are fanned by the Diablo and Santa Ana winds which causes the state billions of dollars every year in damages.Throughout my hike, I have had to take two detours because of wildfire danger, and hiked through several areas that were previously burned. The landscape created by these burn zones is completely alien looking, but stunning in its own way. Often in the sub-alpine areas at high elevation, there are towering dead trees that are twisted and charred from heat.
A burned tree touched by wildfire
A burned tree touched by wildfire
These areas aren’t always left lifeless for long, many other plants seize the opportunity to colonize these bare areas that have nutrient-rich soil from ash deposits. One infamous plant that follows fires is called poodle dog bush (Eriodictyon parryi). This has also caused detours on the trail because it secretes a nasty skin irritant. Despite the danger, it has a beautiful flower, and many of the other burn-following plant life have vibrant and fragrant blossoms…such a welcome change from my hiker stench!
Poodle Dog Bush plants in the Sierra Nevada mountains
Poodle Dog Bush plants in the San Bernardino mountains
I can now rest easy as I begin the Sierra, I will have plenty of water and less danger of fire. Soon I’ll be swimming in mountain lakes every day, what an amazing and variable planet!
Until my next update, enjoy the great outdoors!
A beautiful sunset after a long day of hiking
A beautiful sunrise to start a long day of hiking

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