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June 6, 2006: After a very long closure due to the fires of 2004, Dishpan Springs Trail was finally reopened, so we headed up to Lake Arrowhead. Upon entering the canyon which leads to the trailhead, however, we were shocked to see the damage left by the fires. Empty fireplaces and foundations were surrounded by burnt trees and stumps. Some of the homes were already rebuilt, or in progress.
Arriving at the trailhead, it was more unfamiliar sights. A once lush trail was now barren. The lovely concrete bridge had been rebuilt, and the foliage surrounding the creek was unscathed. We found a bunch of friendly jeepers airing down to prepare for the trail. We crossed the bridge and aired down, stretched our legs, then headed up to the first rock garden. We also met up with some OHV volunteers out talking to people and observing the trail condition. The group behind us had caught up so we didn’t get a good photo of the first rock garden.
Next came the famous waterfall – this is what we’d been waiting for! A group of people were at the top, waiting for the show. Mark and his FJ friends caught up with us at this point too, and started up right behind Rick. As we reached the top, we learned that the trail ahead was blocked by another vehicle. Before heading up to check it out, we made sure everyone made it up ok.
We made our way up to the abandoned and disabled vehicle ahead, which was proudly displaying a giant B.A.M.F. graphic and was shockingly tied to a tree. Mark picked up the broken plastic windshield and returned it to the cab so that the guys would remember to pack out their trash. Rick tried to winch a log so that we might be able to pass, but it was way too big. Soon enough, the owners returned with tools to fix their mess. Some time later we were thrilled to see the vehicle moving again, and then un-thrilled to see it break again before moving out of the way. With a line piling up, everyone was anxious to get on their way, so the guys literally moved it out of the way, just barely enough to pass by.
With that event behind us, the rest of the trail was rather mild and upon passing the gate we headed for home. Thanks to the Dirt Devils and the Forest Service for working to reopen the trail!