Known as the Poodle Dog Bush this pretty purple flower looks harmless. However if you touch it you will wish you had not. Touching the plant causes irritation and itching. The plant thrives in the Angeles National Forest especially those areas burned by the recent station fire. Stay away from the Poodle Dog Bush. it will ruin your day. See pictures below:
My camp Margarita:
1 1/2 oz premium reposado tequila (100% blue agave)
1 /2 oz premium triple sec
1 oz lime juice
Shake with ice, strain and serve on the rocks or in a shot glass. Garnish with lime. Salt on the rim is optional.
On my last camping trip I made these awesome Chicken and Steak Tacos. I also roasted carrots and radishes on the grill for the veggie fans. The chicken and steak was cooked in a pan, Carrots can be cooked in a pan or directly on the grill if fire is not to intense. For campfire cooking it is recommend to burn the logs down to hot coals to use for cooking. This provides a steady intense heat without the crazy fluctuations of the fire which can burn your food. Sometimes it can take up to an hour or more to prep and create nice coals for cooking but this process is worth it.
I have also cooked Argentine skirt steak or brought empanadas. Se below for my favorite Argentine market in Los Angeles.
I also made homemade guacamole used as a topping for the tacos. I use fresh hass avocados for a nutty taste and reed avocados for a creamer taste. Fuerte avocados also are great for guacamole. Whenever possible it is best to purchase all fruit or veggies from a local farmers market.
To make my guacamole I used fresh ripe avocados, then added hot red spicy salsa, peppers, garlic, and ciliantro to my guacamole. I seasoned it with a little squeeze of lime. See below for my recomendations on where to purchase items for your next camping trip.
Amazing Chicken (pollo asada) or Carne Asada (for tacos), Salsa
Argentine steak and Empanadas (Alex Meat Market)
Cilantro, carrots and radish (La Canada Farmer's Market)
The easiest way to see both of these peaceful falls is via the Buckhart trail. The Buckhart trail is only 3 miles roundtrip with a 700 foot elevation gain. This is a upside down hike so downhill in and mostly uphill on the return trip. This hike is more enjoyable earlier in the day as many parts of the trail are exposed to the sun.
Buckhorn Falls are located at first fork in the trail to your right (a slight detour downhill and off main trail) and Cooper Canyon Falls are located at the bottom of the canyon near yet another fork in the (The trail is not easy to spot the first time) trail. Veer right at the fork and look to your left and you will see the falls. Look for a trail that veers steeply downhill to the left. You will know you are at the right spot because you must climb down a rope. If you continue on the main trail and reach the creek you went to far.
This trailhead is located within the Buckhorn campground which is about 30 miles north of La Canada Flintridge via Highway 2. At the time of this writing the Buckhart trail is open but access through Buckhorn campground is prohibited. I didn't really see this being enforced but several tiny signs inform people that Buckhorn campground is off limits. Parking however was strictly enforced and an Adventure Pass is required. Remember to punch a hole in the appropriate month (the month that you purchased your pass) on the pass. One car was ticketed for not having a pass because they did not punch a hole in the pass.
Signs within the area suggest visitors park at Cloudburst summit parking area or Eagles roost parking area to access the falls. The signs are visible but tough to spot. I would suggest purchasing a map of the area as many trailheads are not clearly marked. One downside is that approaching the falls via Cloudburst or Eagles roost turns a moderate 3 mile hike with 700 foot elevation gain (Buckhart trail) into a more difficult hike of 7 miles with a over 1700 foot elevation gain (Cloudburst).
Whatever route you choose try to follow the many confusing rules of the forest. See below for more details on this hike:
Cooper Canyon Falls via Cloudbuurst (7 miles)
Cooper Canyon Falls and Buckhorn Falls via Buckhart trail (3 miles)
The Station fire destroyed much of the forest and an outdoor enthusiast had to wait for over a year for this highway to reopen. Well hooray! It is now open. I recently took a drive up the crest and the devestation of the fire is very apparent. Some portions of the road are still being repaired and down to only one lane. A large portion of the highway had collasped and was repaired. The road surface looks brand new as much of it was repaved.
Although the highway remains opened many campgrounds and hiking trails are still closed. At the time of this writing Buckhorn campground remains closed although Bandido group camp was opened. Please check with rangers or signs to determine if you are allowed in certain areas. You also must have an adventure pass to park anywhere within the forest.
Now with the highway open this would be a great time to explore.
I camped at Bandido Group Camp over the weekend and made several banana boats. This is probably the most amazing camp dessert and a banana boat is very easy to make. See below:
First place a banana on a medium piece of foil. Next slice the banana down the center. Then stuff the banana with small marshmallows and chocolate (I have also used brownie, blueberries, strawberries, and rum). Last fold the foil around the banana creating a boat shape.
Cook directly in hot coals or on a grill. Bananas are cooked when top of foil is soft. Usually takes between 5-15 minutes depending on the heat of the campfire. I hope you enjoyed making the banana boat. What is your favorite type of banana boat?
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Text and photography copyright 2011 by Brian S White, all rights reserved.