Friday, August 8, 2008

Sunbaked Hero

I admit this picture doesn't look like much until you click to enlarge it. I hadn't planned to post it at all, but after reading yesterday's comments I decided to go ahead. I mentioned the man who dug stairs into the path above Las Flores Canyon. Altadenahiker said, "I've been told the stairs were originally dug by the fire fighters several years ago. But my hat is off to the gentleman who is doing this renovation in the heat of summer. Wonder who he is."

I've often seen L.A. County park rangers on the trails with their maintenance equipment. The area trails I know are well-maintained; it must be a constant project to keep them clean and passable for hikers. Most regular hikers are respectful, but I take a small bag when I hike so I can pick up what trash I see. It's worst after a weekend.

The Sam Merrill Trail, which I was hiking when I took this shot, is across the canyon from the stairs in question. That day, the shoveling man and I were the only ones crazy enough to be out in the infernal heat. I could hear the dig and scrape of his shovel. He was working his way uphill.

Who is he? No park ranger uniform. Just a dark T-shirt. No hat. I hope he was wearing sunscreen.

15 comments:

Laurie said...

This qualifies for a Zen Monday shot!

I do wonder who this person is and why he's there. Curiouser and curiouser...

Katie said...

He's one dedicated dude, that's for sure! And I can't imagine working in that heat. I love all the subtly nuanced colors of your photo, especially looking at it enlarged.

USelaine said...

A human figure on the landscape really brings out the scale of the land and vegetation. I can't help but think that the first serious rains this fall will wash all his work away. A bit like rolling a stone uphill.

Coltrane_lives said...

Of course, I did the "dorky" thing and started counting the steps. I counted at least 70...likely more that we can't see. Incredible really! US Elaine may be right. Hard to know how durable these steps will be after the rains. [which it will do eventually, right?] Do love hiking and this would definitely be a place I'd check out.

Petrea said...

Laurie, you've reminded me I need to get to work on something for Monday.

If the man's a trained volunteer, then he's working on a project that will be shored up against erosion. These people know what they're doing. They'll finish it off with stone or wood or something. But if he's on his own, who knows?

Coltrane, I hope you're right and it'll eventually rain. Just looked at the City's monthly newsletter; we'll soon be under mandatory water rationing, as the voluntary thing's not working. Not enough volunteers.

USelaine said...

We were just put on mandatory rationing this week. Violators will have their water supply turned off!

Petrea said...

What does the mandatory rationing entail, Elaine? I assume it's strict on things like watering lawns. Any surprises?

I don't know why we haven't done it yet, but in a way I hope it's soon. I don't think we should play fast and loose with something so precious.

USelaine said...

The City has posted their hopes and regulations here.

USelaine said...

...just got back from Paris. P, have I ever told you how beautiful you are?

altadenahiker said...

I think this picture is great. Little speck of a man amid the wilderness. There's a story here -- gotta mission now.

Petrea said...

Gonna find him, altadenahiker? Mebby I'll come with you.

Elaine, you read my diatribe. I'm glad you liked it. I often rewrite before I hit send.

Jilly said...

Love this photograph. I was drawn to it in the portal - just cos I love, for some reason that I don't know, barren landscapes. Well you wonder what this guy is doing - what about you even higher up?! Now that is hiking!

Great story and photo, Petrea.

Petrea said...

Thanks, Jilly. Interesting how we're each drawn to certain things. I'll confess now that I've saved one of your photos. I love them all, but this one I had to keep to look at again and again. What draws me in is texture: sand, wood, skin. Then the shadows and light. It's almost not a photo of a beautiful young man but of those graphic elements. I love photos like that, which is why I also love monoblog's izmir daily photo. Everyone should check that out. That guy's a genius.

Petrea said...

I started out to give Jilly a compliment and ended up directing everyone to Monoblog!

Jeez. If you haven't checked out Jilly's Monte Carlo Daily Photo and Menton Daily Photo, I recommend you do. It's not just the luck of having beautiful places to photograph. Jilly's a particularly talented portraitist, too. Today's Menton shot is nothing short of brilliant.

(You can also click through to "Riviera Dogs," which I particularly enjoy.)

altadenahiker said...

Yes, please do. It's right up the street from me, so I have a pretty good chance of catching him one of these days.