On April 22, Caltrans presented the Topanga Trash Warriors with the Volunteer of the Year award. In June, a blue-ribbon plaque was affixed to their Adopt-A-Highway sign along Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
Another Sunday morning, another big olâ€™ messâ€¦and then, a pristine natural environment for all of us to enjoy. This lasts for a few hours so get out and enjoy it by two oâ€™clock.
One weekâ€™s collection found eight bagged or toweled up human feces, and eight was more than enough for us! Sorry, no photos. Over the last three Sundays, masks and gloves kept their place high on the list of collectables. The all-time winner for I donâ€™t know how many weeks in a row now? Empty containers of alcohol in all shapes, sizes, and materials from plastic to glass to metal. Itâ€™s been a rough year. This Covid thing is really taking a toll on the livers of mankind. By the end of my own jaunt through the refuse, when I found myself looking to see if there was any whiskey left in any bottle I retrieved, I knew it was time to quit and go take a shower.
I felt so forlorn about the state of humanity and our irreverence toward our planet, it was almost overwhelming. This was right around the time I contemplated drinking out of the discarded bottle. As I pulled, tugged and gracefully grunted (or maybe no so gracefully) in an attempt to get my overstuffed Caltrans bag out of the cart I used to wheel it up and down the canyon road, a nice man bicycling up from the valley, stopped and asked me if Iâ€™d like some help. My faith in humanity fully restored, I carried on with the task of cleaning up after the masses. Thank you, bicycle stranger.
The usual car wreck debris was taken care of. Recently, drivers are treating the canyon road as if it were the Daytona 500. Itâ€™s not a big surprise that wreckage litters our roadsides more than usual even though the number of motorists is extremely depressed.
Also, up in numbers are the construction dumps that continue to rise as folks re-carpet their homes in which they are now for the most part hunkered down. Apparently, all that pacing going on as we socially distance from the rest of humanity in our homes has worn the carpets threadbare. We found roll after roll of used carpets and the padding that goes under it. There was disposable everything scattered all around these carpet dumps.
I discovered the â€śTrash Tree,â€ť which used to be rare, but is now popping up all over the place. Trash billows in the breeze from the branches of the tree. Itâ€™s a sight to see, not pleasant. Piles of mail continue to appear on the sides of the Boulevard, along with the usual sauce packets (my personal nemeses), masks and fast food cups found in little piles up and down the roadside. Cigarette butts are everywhere. Just outside of Edelman State Park, we found a used condom and two bright green plastic spoons that had been used to eat the ice cream from cups tossed across the parking lot, away from the other remnants of the eveningâ€™s activities.
For our early-morning efforts over the last three Sundays, we have filled 79 Caltrans bags with trash. There was also a perfectly good large doghouse left in a ditch. At two different locations in the State Park, we found very dry palm fronds and trimmings unloaded there. This is because the park is a good alternative to the dump. This is sarcasm because itâ€™s not a good place to dump trash of any kind.
We had some new blood this past Sunday. Brody and his daughter, Catalina, Bill and his son, Vishwa, joined us along with a recently returned Ric and his family members (who clean later in the morning). It is not easy for teenagers to rise and get out of the house in the wee hours of the morning on a weekday; on a Sunday, it is an act of heroism and tremendous resolve. We thank you. Waking early enough in the morning to hit the Boulevard by 7 a.m. has its upside. The sunrises are magnificent.
Although we experience defeat every week as we watch the trash pile up, sometimes, before the full bags have been removed, we continue to make our way out each Sunday morning to clear the trash that manifests after we have gone.
Come join us in our exercise in futility because it feels good, the hillsides will love you for it, and the relationships forged among the Warriors provide all the fulfillment you could ever need. We also have all of the equipment to get the job done.
Join us at Topanga Post Office, 7 a.m., every Sunday. n