Desecration of a Cathedral

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    • #6599
      BrianD
      Participant

      I write with sadness, anger, and wonder.

      Yesterday, Milo and I left Vivian Creek trail head to ascend Mill Creek over the Jump Off. We had planned a new off-trail route to the top of SG. This one made us nervous. We had been thinking of it for a couple years , very uncertain as to whether it goes or not. With a good forecast, helmets loaded, permission (with a very hard time limit) from Mom, we decided we’d give it go. We when left the parking lot, the clock started ticking, we had 10 1/2 hours: go.

      The Mill Creek Jump Off is a special place for us. It was Milo’s first real test in the mountains, successfully making it over when he was 12. Since then, we have been up and down many, many times–sometimes with day packs, other times with full packs for multi-day adventures. For us the Jump Off is like the gateway to a Cathedral.

      We saw the first UJR graffiti not too far past where Vivian Creek trail crosses the wash. It bothered me but it didn’t surprise me so close to the parking lot. But it continued as we ascended, and the messages grew more elaborate. The beautiful waterfall area below the big falls that comes off the south wall from High Creek has now been defaced by this human scum.

      Then we saw his masterpiece! At the bottom of the head wall–dead center of the Jump Off– was his final message. I wanted to cry. I wanted to–well, let’s just say . . . have a little chat with this fellow.

      We moved on with our day, clock was ticking. Suffice to say we successfully completed our mission. It was amazing! Our plan from the summit was to take Vivian Creek trail down back to the car. We had three hours. So we were moving fast. But when we got to the point where the trail bends back down to High Creek–and the interminable switchbacks–we decided we’d had enough of the trial. So we bailed down to the Jump Off. Had a great descent, despite the welling rage after passing the graffiti again.

      And then . . . while picking our way through the gully just below the head wall, we found ourselves standing 20-30 feet from the biggest ram I’ve ever seen–he was the true work of art and masterpiece on the mountain. I took too long fumbling for my phone though and he bolted. So no pic.

      But for us, it was the perfect conclusion to a beautiful service.

      Pics to come of the graffiti.

      Brian

    • #6600
      BrianD
      Participant

      9C577147-11AC-4AF2-ABCD-E56C1211DA64

    • #6601
      BrianD
      Participant

      1C9B6CFD-FD43-4E1A-8816-3E16FB301828

    • #6602
      BrianD
      Participant

      The unfortunate aspect of these pics is that they just don’t show how rugged and wonderful this place is. Or just how steep the head wall really is.

    • #6603
      stbrnnr
      Participant

      I share your sadness on the desecration.  Will have to do some research and make some inquiries on effective/ permitted graffiti removal practices; I recall past SGWA-organized clean-up efforts elsewhere in the forest.

      Nonetheless, great TR and gnarly route–congrats to you both on the successful, speedy XC mission!  (kinda funny how the camera lens distorts the background Jumpoff wall into what appears to be just another mild slope…surprise!)

    • #6605
      MikeH
      Participant

      Hate to see that graffiti…

    • #6618
      Ranger Roxie
      Participant

      Brian,

      Is the graffiti is off trail? I would like to be clear on this before I make a comment on this post.

    • #6623
      BrianD
      Participant

      Yes. It’s off trail. It is in the Mill Creek drainage above where the Vivian Creek Trail crosses Mill Creek at the beginning of the trail. The first graffiti appears about a quarter mile up the wash. Then it appears periodically all the way to the Mill Creek Jump Off. It’s difficult to tell, but the second picture above is of a rock in the center of the Jump Off at just below the beginning of steepest section of the headwall.

      The puzzle of it all is (maybe I’m stereotyping here) my experience is that people tag areas that are easy access and highly visible (see Big Falls). High visible at least–I am often extremely impressed by how some access pretty crazy places in the city. This idiot had to work very hard for something that few will see. I think quite a few people do the water fall hike, but above the falls to the top of the Jump Off — not too many.

      Brian

    • #6624
      BrianD
      Participant

      I guess another point here is that I don’t think this is within the wilderness boundary–perhaps the highest one is.

    • #6625
      Ranger Roxie
      Participant

      SGWA is aware of this graffiti and will remove it as their schedule allows.

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