Monday, March 21, 2016

6th Course: Forest Route 6N06 - Chorro Grande Burned

Hiking on Mars!

RAN 6.13 MI ON 3/19/2016

Map Options
Map data ©2016 Google
1 km 
ELEVATION (ft)01.232.453.684.916.1438094102439546884981
4105 FT
4952 FT
*1200 FT

Trailhead - After 10pm!
Follow my Day 517 Link below for driving instructions.  Driving up the 33 in the dark was tiring - fortunately the 11.0 mileage count from my previous post was right on to help make the trailhead an easy find...

Day 517: Chorro Grande Trail:
Sammi - Queen of the Mountain

Midnight Fire!

This was an unplanned, spur of the moment, last minute event.  It started with 1000 Hikes Chris opening an invite up for a hike to Chorro Grande on Sunday.  I had been here twice, including once on my 1000 days, and could not pass up the offer.  However, Ayden and I decided to twist the trip into our own mold.  Anyone up for a Night Hike - Camp and then tackle Reyes Peak the next morning?

Well, no one jumped in, but this didn't stop Ayden and I from packing up and head to the mountains!  We opted to camp at Oak Camp, only 1.8 miles and +500 feet elevation gain from the car.  I hadn't a clue if we would have moonlight or no light - but the moon was great and lit out way like it was day, really!

Taking night pictures could not capture what we saw - at all.  It was like walking on the Moon - yay, like I would know this.  But it's true - the trees were dead and ground was ash.  It was obvious that there had been a fire here since my last visit and the bright white globe in the sky tinted all objects ghostly white.  At certain times the trail was a bit sand lost, since all was open and no natural path, especially through the rock parts, but the CCCC's, I assume, remade the trail right and even left some cairns - not that they were needed because the way was quite obvious.

When we left the car, the temperature was in the upper 40's but by the time we reached the shadows of Oak Camp, the canyon dropped us a good 10 degrees and perhaps a bit more than that by morning.  Starting the fire was not so easy, but once we got it going, well...

Early Morning Defrost
 We over packed the water supply.  What you see on the grill is not even half of what we carried.  My pack was heavy but heck, figured I was set to climb another 3000 feet today.  But, nah, we chose not to.  Instead, there is a cross trail on the map that only goes a little bit in either direction.  So, what the heck is this?  Mission today is to figure it out..

Oak Camp - Continued
 First, we viewed more of Oak Camp, into the woods just a bit and yes it is a nice mighty camp.  We however camped in the not as nice but just as well spot.  --NO WATER, other than a trickle that I wouldn't lick from.  I knew this going in - also knew of the natural spring up top, but figured my store bought items would serve well for this quick escape.

A Gate?
 We are now on the trail, heading in the direction of Chorro Camp.  Thinking, how in the heck did a big old gate get out here?

Trail Junction - In my best estimation at the time
It's obvious the well worn Chorro Grande trail goes straight and to the right, but if you look close, perhaps this is the spot where the cross trail intersects.  Look at the close up Map below which marked our route.  At the time I did not zoom in, figured just hike and take the chance, but as I type this now, looks like I did in fact find it right!

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Map data ©2016 Google
200 m 

Forest Route 6N06

After looking at the map, the road goes all the way out to the 33, in theory.  From the Chorro Grande Trail, the road is merely a hardly seen footpath. but not far into what I thought it was, the identification becomes clear...

The Trail Climbs here

A spot to camp, if you wanted to

Just before the road/trail climbs, there is an open area, as seen above (to the right of the trail).  To the left, it looks like there could be another trail, single track.  We tested that theory after, on our way down, but it ends like a dud.  There are a couple of manmade pipe posts so not sure what this commotion is or was at one point?

Road switchback up the hill

Looking out over Oak Camp and the desolate burn area to the right

King of the Hill

So the truth is, the trail kept going.  Ayden suggested to turn around at this point, which seemed to mark the highest point in the immediate area.  In fact, Ayden was crying because there were animal prints on the road, animal scat, no human prints or tire marks.  He felt like we should not be here and the 12-year-old did not feel safe with his dad.  So, I agreed to climb the hill, look out and turn back...

The Top!

You can see the trail wind back down and around.  According to the map, it should be somewhere around here where the "falls" would exist.  Perhaps in the rain, some system of mountainside would offer the trickle, but I couldn't make it out...

Random Camp under a tree

So, back at the Chorro Trail, we stepped across to explore the otherside, which again in theory should go somewhere.  However, we ran into a tree, the pic below, and within that tree, was a camping spot.  Pretty cool hideout!

Forest Route 6N06 Camp (East) 

Finally, we turned back, picked up the heavy pack from Oak and headed back to our car...

Heading down with day light

The Burn

Sad Hill

The Nothing


Well, look who we ran into!  About 10 minute from the car, we caught Chris searching and discovering a Geo Cache.  He searches for these capsules along the route, and showed me what he found here.

-Wife is Home - this Blogpost is ready to be Published; NOW!!!

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