I’ve fallen a little behind on my wilderness balloon reporting. This update adds three to the map, dispersed across a large area of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Balloon 16 was found on July 17, 2017 during an evening run up Josephine Fire Road to Josephine Saddle. It was a black mylar balloon with the words “Happy Birthday” on it, caught up in a manzanita with a view of the summit of Strawberry Peak. I was able to deflate it and carry it in my running vest back out of the forest.

Balloon 16 with Strawberry Peak in the background.

Balloon 17 was found on July 22, 2017 along a fire road just west of West Fork Campground while a number of us trailrunners were driving back out from doing trail work. It was high on a steep road cut and, unfortunately, not retrievable. It was a bright blue mylar balloon and visible from a long distance away.

Balloon 17 west of West Fork.

I found Balloon 18 yesterday while on a run on Islip Ridge in the San Gabriel high country. It was caught in the branches of a downed pine just past a large herd of Bighorn Sheep. It was a VERY large silvery mylar balloon with no markings. It was too large, unfortunately, for me to fit it in my running pack and it wasn’t really feasible for me to carry it while running another 6 or so miles on steep terrain in the mountains. I lashed it securely to a low branch next to the trail in the hopes that a hiker with pack space will retrieve it.

Balloon 18 on Islip Ridge.
Horrid iPhone photo of Bighorn Sheep I saw just prior to Balloon 18. I assume the balloon was not from a Bighorn celebration, but you never know.

About Wilderness Balloons: I see an unbelievable number of balloons in an unbelievable number of wild places during my forays. They are strung from brush and trees in remote wilderness and hanging from the legs of birds. Mylar balloons frequently cause wildfires when caught in power lines. Balloons are destructive trash and should never be released into the environment. For more information from the US Fish and Wildlife Service about this issue, read here (warning: graphic images of dead wildlife).

Map of All Wilderness Balloons

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