Thursday, September 2, 2021

The $5,000 hike

Ignorance is bliss, right? Or maybe it’s just that not keeping 100 percent up on things means I have less to worry over. Relevant details? Pffff.

I had heard all the National Forests in California were shut down because of fire danger. I thought that meant only no camping. So I researched hikes near me, chose one, and drove to the trailhead. There were two other vehicles there and I met their owners on the trail. Hi, how ya doin’? Beautiful day! What could be wrong?

Parker Lake Trail in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is rated moderate, mostly because the first quarter mile is rather steep. But it levels off somewhat from there to the lake. The open sage area gives way to pine and aspen groves, and the trail meets up with the creek. Very nice.

Then there was the first glimpse of the lake through the trees. Oh, wow! Solitude in a beautiful place, my old body feeling good from the exercise. Is this a great life, or what?

It wasn’t until I was back from the hike that I learned the National Forest ban wasn’t just for camping, it was for everything. 

1. Going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the National Forests listed below. 

2. Being on a National Forest System road within the National Forests listed below. 

3. Being on a National Forest System trail within the National Forests listed below.

Yeah, so nowhere at all. Don’t even think about it, mister. And what if they catch you? 

A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.

So, as soon as I tie up business here, I’ll be heading elsewhere. The Loneliest Road in America might be a workable alternative.


  1. Padre Island National Seashore is a very wild place.

    1. I was down there the winter of 2014. Rain interspersed with wind.