Slate has an ongoing feature called What’s That Thing where, as the name would suggest, they get a picture of a strange overlooked object and then explain to the readers exactly what it does.

Their most recent item was a series of strange-looking poles on top of a fire road gate – a mystery which they then fully unraveled.

Although I think most Angeleno hikers would probably be able to figure out what these bars were for, I was surprised to learn that gate-ramming was such a problem on L.A. fire roads! The author was also very kind to include Modern Hiker as the source for more info on L.A.’s “underrated hiking trails.”

Thanks, Slate! I’ll have to keep my eye out for some of the really weird trail stuff for next time …

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