Thursday, June 24, 2004

Poison Oak

Damn-it, I ran into some more. I don't know if it was from my ride on Tuesday, or the ride yesterday up Bald Hill. I tecnu'ed up after each ride, and also used dish soap to wash off any remnants. I scrubbed good and long because my reaction seems to stick around for 3 weeks and I'm tired of it.

Alas, I have a couple of itchy patches. They're pretty small, and hopefully won't spread. But I did everything you're supposed to (other than actually coming into contact with the stuff).

Other than that, the ride up Bald Hill was rather nice. I only gave myself 50 minutes to ride (didn't want Mary to have to wait around for me), and it only took me 45 to ride to the hill and go up it twice.

Last fall they cleared out a bunch of the underbrush. They're trying to restore the vegetation to be more in-tune with the normal vegetation. I forget what has grown there that they don't like, but one of the things is, you guessed it, poison oak. Well, I don't think the brush clearing was very effective at controlling the poison oak - I saw plenty on my ride.

I think it was two years ago that they brought in a herd of goats to nibble the poison oak to death. Turns out that people clearing the stuff by hand is a bad idea because of the reactions, but goats are immune to the oils. Or maybe they just like itchy tongues. According to Sam, they're maddening as hell (itchy tongues, he will not comment on the goats). Anyways, the goats hung out for a month or so and ate a bunch of the underbrush. Later on there were some small controlled burns to get rid of the rest of the undesirable plants. I guess that particular area is looking pretty good and is free of poison oak.

So, if you don't mind the risk of a little poison oak, and are looking for a good introductory ride, head out the Midge Cramer Path and up Bald Hill. There's a section about a hundred yards long that's on the top of my list of favorite single tracks. And don't forget to tecnu.

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