Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

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justpeachy
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Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by justpeachy » June 4th, 2012, 7:29 am

After our hike at Cape Horn on Saturday, Greg and I stopped by Horsetail and Ponytail Falls to take photos.

Image

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Just before reaching Ponytail, Greg had hiked ahead of me (I'm a slowpoke on those steep parts). A man and woman were hiking up fast behind me, so I stepped aside to let them pass. As I did so, I noticed that the woman had cut the switchback on a very steep scramble trail and was emerging on the main trail about 50 feet ahead of me as the guy walked past me on the trail.

Me: Just so you know, it's illegal to cut the switchbacks.

Guy: It's fine.

Me: No, it's not. It causes erosion.

And then the standard unoriginal reply from all wrongdoers who have been caught red-handed...

Guy: Why don't you mind your own business?

As they moved on with their off-leash dog, the woman turned and mouthed "sorry" to me before catching up to the guy. I'm not sure if she was apologizing for cutting the switchback or for the guy's rude behavior, or both.

Sigh. :(

Looking down the shortcut:
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Looking up from below:
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Maybe next time I speak out against using illegal shortcuts I'll take a different approach. "Ooooh, man. Hope you enjoy that poison oak rash you just gave yourself." Even if there is no poison oak, they'll have to live in doubt for awhile, and it'll make them think twice about cutting a switchback again. :D

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Grannyhiker
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by Grannyhiker » June 4th, 2012, 9:13 am

Good idea! I really think the USFS should plant poison oak (and post signs about it) on every "social trail" where switchbacks have been cut. Certainly the decorative fencing at Multnomah Falls is useless. Maybe razor wire would be better!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey

raftingdog
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by raftingdog » June 4th, 2012, 9:18 am

your picures are always great....please tell me you dont use a point and shot camera...also do you use tri-pod?

justpeachy
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by justpeachy » June 4th, 2012, 9:22 am

raftingdog wrote:your picures are always great....please tell me you dont use a point and shot camera...also do you use tri-pod?
Thanks, raftingdog. I use an SLR, a Nikon D90. And for waterfall shots I do use a tripod.

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drm
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by drm » June 4th, 2012, 10:02 am

Has anybody ever seen or heard of somebody getting ticketed or cited for cutting switchbacks?

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IDratherbehiking
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by IDratherbehiking » June 4th, 2012, 11:43 am

Nice waterfall shots, JP!

I remember seeing a couple of guys maybe in their early twenties going up that same short cut a couple of years ago, they were really tearing it up out there! Oh then as I was heading up the ROA trail, I heard their noisy conversation, looked over across the way and seen them RUNNING UP the Russ Jolly, crazy!

I just wonder what kind of role people's don't care attitude played in this story right here... http://www.komonews.com/news/local/30821874.html

Not that the people injured played a role in triggering the slide, the article doesn't suggest that but, what others before them had done by cutting switchbacks.
Last edited by IDratherbehiking on June 4th, 2012, 3:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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TJ_T
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by TJ_T » June 4th, 2012, 12:09 pm

You can always say that it IS your business as the trails and native flora are there for all to enjoy and that it's harder for you to enjoy it when it's trampled and destroyed. A polite 'I and many others would greatly appreciate your respect for our environment' could be the closing statement.
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rick6003
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by rick6003 » June 4th, 2012, 3:52 pm

The same one I saw 2 kids come up from as I ran by them a few months ago. I didn't say anything cuss I passed by quickly. About 20 feet from where that cut off is a lot of big rock came flying down and across the trail. I stopped and yelled at the kids. They said it was a accident! I wasn't in any danger but the couple with a young daughter were just feet away as the boulders swept by. I told them that some boys had just climbed up through there and had knocked loose some rock that came down after they were at the top. The couple said it was their boys, I just said to give them a good tongue lashing, they could of killed their sister!

Thats why I don't cut switch backs on well used trails, Stuff gets loose and may come down at any time. Now, I gotta say I am guilty at times though, but not on well used trails.

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Splintercat
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by Splintercat » June 4th, 2012, 9:38 pm

@ Grannny: I agree. Years ago, they planted non-native barberry (I believe) plants around Multnomah Falls for this very purpose, so I don't think the concept is unheard of. You'd have to figure out a way to actually plant the stuff, of course...! Very thick, disposable gloves..! :lol:

@ Cheryl: I had an identical reaction from a guy I busted up near Cooper Spur a year or two ago -- maddening. They're like little boys... and forgive me if this isn't PC, but isn't it always GUYS who do this..? Whether machismo of intellectual inferiority, it doesn't speak well for the gender... :lol:

I have this fantasy where I follow this character to the trailhead, get his license plate number, then round up about 20 hikers: we go to his house, and stomp a path across his front lawn, taking special care to really tear up the ground... you know, like he just did on our public lands? Then, when he comes out to ask what we're doing, we say "It's okay. We're just taking a shortcut. No worries."

:)

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retired jerry
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Re: Cutting the switchbacks at Ponytail Falls

Post by retired jerry » June 5th, 2012, 5:54 am

"They're like little boys... and forgive me if this isn't PC, but isn't it always GUYS who do this..? Whether machismo of intellectual inferiority, it doesn't speak well for the gender... "

Have to agree in my experience.

I was above Paradise on Rainier - young men cutting switchbacks to impress young women - I told them it causes soil erosion - then I overheard the young women saying something like "I told you so..."

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