Eaton Canyon Falls and Message to Polluters

Nestled in the foothills of the Angeles National Forest in Altadena is a beautiful waterfall called Eaton Canyon Falls.

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This may not be the tallest or most spectacular waterfall on the planet, but a natural, sacred space all the same. It is important to me that people take notice of this beautiful canyon and waterfall, as my visit was not exactly a pristine and perfect one.

Starting at the trailhead, all seemed normal and natural. The walk along the dry wash at the canyon base was damp from the recent rain, new flowers and green shoots were emerging from the soil, and the scent of early spring filled the air. But as I got deeper into the forest I found more and more trash at every turn. Unfortunately, I couldn’t pick up as much as I would have liked to.

No matter where I hike, there always seems to be trash. Plastic bottles, energy bar wrappers, diapers, you name it – I’ve seen it on the trail, even in remote spots. But I have NEVER seen anything like what I saw this day. My first impression of the waterfall was a mixed one. It was an “Oh!” and “Oh no!” moment all at once, as I noticed the beautiful 40 foot waterfall and the remnants of four Jack in the Box lunches littering the scene. A group had obviously brought this Whopper of a meal to this sacred spot, and left their condiments, napkins, burger wrappers, and the bags they came in. Thanks, people. There was a lot more trash around the area and graffiti on the rocks.

My message to polluters: People! Stop polluting this planet! We have a saying in backpacking: Pack in – Pack out. If you bring it with you, don’t leave it! Bring it back to the parking lot, and throw it away! It’s very simple… when you pollute the earth, you kill it. You’re poisoning yourself. You wouldn’t hit yourself in the face, would you? You wouldn’t purposely drink Windex, would you? I think I’ve made my point.

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