10k Ridge Loop: Possible Marijuana Grow Fish Creek?

Home Forums Trail Conditions 10k Ridge Loop: Possible Marijuana Grow Fish Creek?

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    • #5218
      dave
      Participant

      Careful!  Hi, We did a loop hike up Fish Creek Trail, Cross Country to Grinell, then over to do 10k Ridge traverse. After Hell For Sure Peak we dropped down in to Fish Creek t0 head back to care and about 1/2 way down the creek heading back to intercept Fish Creek Trail again, right about where water started flowing, I spotted a black poly pipe, 1/2″ diameter running from the water for several hundred yards (at least) downstream. We also saw several food packaging items like rice, instant bowls, etc. all in Spanish only wrappers, not English/Spanish, only Spanish and not brands that looked local.  And there was a heavy concentration of the trash.   Also more footprints in sandy areas than I thought I would see.  I did not take any photos as we were nervous in case someone else was out there with us. We kept our eyes down and didn’t want to look around too much because it just felt “weird”.  Somewhere around 8600 and 8200 ft elevation.   I’ have reported this to SBNF.

    • #5219
      stbrnnr
      Participant

      Thanks for the heads-up, Dave as I too tend to roam around the eastern ridges these days.  No doubt as to what you came across–it’s now becoming epidemic throughout the state.  Friends battling this trend in Los Padres NF & The Sespe have alerted us to the common grow site usage of Carbofuran or “pink death” insecticide [all: please look it up and know what we’re up against].  It’s pink like pepto-bismol and often found in cast-aside Gatorade or similar drink bottles (banned in the US, it’s hauled up from Mexico).  If seen–do not touch, report to SBNFS.  One of the most toxic, illegal pesticides in the western hemisphere and if used and discarded adjacent to any wilderness water sources…@#$%!

      • #5221
        dave
        Participant

        Something I didn’t mention in the original post based on what you said about the Carbofuran.  As we were making our way downstream, both my wife and I independently noted the water had a glisteny, oily sheen to it.  She was about 100 yards or so ahead of me at all times and when we popped back out on Fish Creek Trail, we both commented on the “change” in the water as we moved further downstream.

      • #5330
        Alivia
        Participant

        I was planning to head up here on friday (06/11) but this is making me want to reconsider, since I’d be going solo. thoughts?

         

        (also I’m a young woman, which doesn’t help in these types of situations)

      • #5348
        stbrnnr
        Participant

        Alivia, when you say “up here” where exactly do you mean?  The grow mentioned was sighted deep in an off-trail, remote x-country creekbed…no real need to drop into that specific area and easily avoided if you’re targeting 10k Ridge or other nearby peaks.  As to going solo–are you carrying a PLB or InReach locator device?  Perhaps bear spray (more for remotely-possible ‘human wildlife’ encounters)?  Hope you do get up there and report back after!

      • #5350
        Alivia
        Participant

        i was planning on 10k ridge, probably will still go. good tip on the bear spray, too. (i have a plb as well)

        i know I’m probably being overcautious, but i had a bad human wildlife encounter at mt. baldy recently and not looking for a repeat performance.

        will report back!

    • #5220
      brichardsson
      Participant

      there have previously been grow operations reported on both the north ridge and east ridge of grinnell. that entire area is not a place i’d like to spend a lot of time. a shame too, as it was closed for so long.

      • #5222
        dave
        Participant

        Oh Wow. Thanks for the  heads up.  We went cross country to the top of Grinnell, off of Fish Creek Trail on the ridge that leads up by last hard switchback before the trail goes around the mountain to Fish Creek Saddle.

    • #5223
      brichardsson
      Participant

      i’m assuming you mean the short cut down the east ridge as lined out here:

      https://caltopo.com/m/GNN8

      that should be safe – that terrain is too rocky to support a grow operation. the grow operation on the east ridge is down in the same elevation range you mentioned, just over 8k’.

      i reported it back a way but i don’t recall exactly when.

       

      i marked on the map where i vaguely recall it.

      • #5224
        dave
        Participant

        Yep, that’s the ridge we went up.  Agreed, not a candidate for a grow op.

    • #5225
      brichardsson
      Participant

      and the sad thing is, now that the entire west chunk of the sgwa is off limits, the pot farms will take over. because the growers don’t give a crap that the area’s closed. in fact, that’s BETTER for them. that’s what happened on grinnell. i’ve done the north and east ridge multiple times, they were never an issue. after the fires no one was allowed back there, and hey, guess what, criminals don’t care about your stinkin’ rules. i would never travel the north ridge now. and there’s a great snow route on the northeast side that i would likely never do again. such a shame.

      • #5243
        shawnsisler
        Participant

        Pot farms are decreasing in the national forest of California since legalizing of marijuana.

        The illegal grows now days tend to use forest areas that are easier to setup and have water.

        Most of the SGW has little water except in high travel areas or very tough remote places thus there shouldn’t be any further illegal farming activity in SGW. It would be nice if USFS will try to clean up these areas. So if you can provide USFS with GPS coordinates that would be great or you could post them here for all to lookout for and maybe SGWA will try to remove some of the trash.

      • #5244
        dave
        Participant

        Hi shawnsisler, I sent USFS an email back when I wrote this post.

        As far as location of trash, it was somewhere in the 8200-8600 ft elevation range.  Highest concentration of trash was at a bend in Fish Creek at about 8500 ft, GPS: 34.1157, -116.7766.  This is approx. 1 mile from where Fish Creek crosses the Fish Creek Trail.  But the poly pipe starts running from further upstream, maybe another 1/4 to 1/2 mile.  There was hundreds of yards of poly pipe running down the creek, of too the side.  As far as being tough or remote.  It’s remote, but quite easy to get a mile upstream without much trouble, as the walking was fairly easy.  So I would say it’s both remote and easy at the same time.

      • #5245
        dave
        Participant

        p.s. my wife and I always carry out trash when we are hiking and backpacking, but no way I was sticking around that specific area as there was a weird “vibe” there.   We did however pick up, per usual unfortunately, a helium balloon carcass and other debris in the creek and also along 10k ridge route.   I have found those stupid balloons in the most remote areas of the Sierras, in places I frequent where you don’t see another human for days at a time, yet the balloons get there.  That sucks.

      • #5247
        brichardsson
        Participant

        i don’t know whether your claim is anecdotal, or if it’s true. not being argumentative, as i certainly hope it’s true.

        but the grow operation we saw on the east ridge of grinnell was very new. certainly post-legalization. and very complex. they had chicken wire set up around the plants and tubes for irrigation and everything.

    • #5226
      dave
      Participant

      Yep.  My wife and I were talking about how the lack of access (for normal people) is what probably opened it up from criminals over the past few years.  Bummer about the north ridge.  I  have not spent a whole lot of time around San G area off trail so was hoping to get in there on the north side of Grinnell (in winter and summer) but now, I don’t know. People always ask me if I’m afraid of bears and mtn lions when I’m out exploring, and I always say I’m way more afraid of tweakers and other discrepant humans.

    • #5248
      Ed
      Participant

      Second what Dave said about balloons.  They send me off in a way that few things do.  So many end up in places where they are difficult to retrieve, and they are so glaringly out of place.

    • #5335
      BrianD
      Participant

      Balloons, balloons. My son and I have seen them in craziest places. On our last trip he said a good name for a book about our off-trail adventures is “The Land of Lost Balloons.” It seems we can escape footprints and even get far enough out to escape idiotic fire pits left behind. But the damned balloons haunt us.

      Brian

    • #5349
      dave
      Participant

      Alivia, please don’t use my post to keep you from enjoying a hike in the mountains.  I second what stbrnnr stated on “up here”. We were well off an established trail in a creek bed (Fish Creek).  So if you are going up to hike on established trails, or even the 10K ridge (which is generally well ducked, cairns if you are East Coast :)), then you will be well away from where we found the possible grow.  If you stay out of the Fish Creek drainage you will not be near what I originally posted about.   You can see in my post from 5/19 I stated about 1 mile “up” Fish Creek from where trail and creek cross.  Lot’s of other places to explore without going up that particular drainage.

      p.s. agree on beacon/locator comment too.  It is one of those devices you hope you don’t ever need to use, but will be glad when you have it, if needed.  (I use Garmin InReach Mini, but I don’t want to start a discussion here on what is best, that’s just what works for me).

      • #5351
        Alivia
        Participant

        i was initially headed up to the 10k ridge, but i might just stay on fish creek to sky high proper. definitely will be staying out of the way of this, really appreciate your heads up (about the water as well).

         

        between this and the ranger email about bear activity recently i was a little bit worried, but your reply and stbrnnr’s make me feel a bit more at ease. thanks for the reply!

    • #5397
      Rocko
      Participant

      “between this and the ranger email about bear activity recently”

      What was the info on bear activity?

      • #5398
        Alivia
        Participant

        i cant find the email, but it’s long outdated by now. there was bear activity on dollar lake saddle / mineshaft saddle.

    • #5399
      Rocko
      Participant

      Thank you Alivia. Was it many months ago? Going up there next weekend.

      • #5400
        Alivia
        Participant

        it was beginning of june i think – i was up there on Tuesday, no tracks or anything. just be “bear aware” and you should be good

    • #5401
      Rocko
      Participant

      Thank you!

    • #5457
      BrianD
      Participant

      Well, apparently my son and I retraced Dave’s steps exactly in the original post. I remember this post but should have read more carefully. After completing the traverse of the 10 k Ridge, we did the same decent and saw the same crap. I must say that even after knowing it was abandoned, it made me a bit nervous after just having watched the documentary Sasquatch (not about Bigfoot really). This was especially true when we came across a coke can full of bullet holes! My son kept saying “Dad are you worried at all”?

      On the brighter side, we had a great traverse. Saturday night we sat on Lake Peak and had dinner to a beautiful sunset. Sunday a leisurely jaunt down to Hell for Sure Peak where we startled a whole herd of Bighorn. Maybe 15-20 animals. So cool!

      Brian.

    • #5462
      dave
      Participant

      BrianD.  Glad you thought it looked abandoned too.  The food trash we found looked old (maybe last year or older) and poly pipe could be who knows how old.  We did see what looked like other footprints, but of course, duh, could be others like us out there.  But taken as  whole it still was uncomfortable based on what I’ve read has happened at other grow sites around California.

      Cool on the Big Horn!  I’ve seen them in the Sierras but never in SanB mountains so that’s really cool.

    • #5463
      BrianD
      Participant

      My son and I have been in Bighorn territory a lot over the past couple years but haven’t had much luck seeing them. Last year we saw one ewe in the saddle between Pi and the Dragon’s Head. This past weekend, on the day before seeing the big group off the point of Hell for Sure peak, we saw a single large ram running across the side hill on the 10k ridge right near the 10 k ridge peak. It was so impressive how fast he moved across such rough terrain.

      But back at the end of March we spent three days at the confluence of the North and Middle Fork of the Whitewater. We could see their prints all over, like they were taunting us. But we never saw them.

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