We hiked the Dripping Springs Trail yesterday (01/12/02), having wanted to do it for several years. The trail is in very good condition until almost the top, where it narrows a little in places as the plant life works to reclaim the land, and a couple of locations have dead trees across the trail. Overall though, it is very good, we would say one of the best trails in Southern California; the views are excellent. We had no tick problems at all, though at the top of the trail, by the partially burned Oak at the McGee Truck trail, some kind of flies were buzzing around our heads but not biting.
There is a plant up there which we could not identify. It was near the top of the trail, covers most of the truck trail, grows about 24 to 30 inches high and looks like something out of a science fiction movie, with a strong herbal smell. The strange plant growing near the top of the trail and along the truck trail grows straight up, along the lines of a bottle brush shape. It has elongated lanceolate leaves growing radially from a single stem, the leaves layering over each other similar to the way Palm trees layer as they grow. The leaves looked similar in color and texture to sage. The smell was at first very familiar but after about a mile or so, we started to find it a bit nauseating. If anyone knows what this plant might be, please let us know.
The downed tree is not the same one that blocked the trail on 11/8/00; we recall seeing that one cut away and cleared from the trail. The only tree that gave us any trouble at all, was in the last half mile from the top, it has about one third the amount of limbs of the one in the picture.
One last thing, John McKinney in his description of the trail, states: "If you turn left at the tuck trail and walk yet another mile, you'll reach a primitive campsite, just as the truck trail begins to head west". We did just that, in order to escape the flies and find a nice spot for lunch. We saw no signs of a primitive campsite.