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Ventana Wilderness Pics

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avatar Ventana Wilderness Pics
May 30, 2015 03:43PM
I had been planning to hike the Vernon/Rancheria loop over Memorial Day, but the pesky upper low hung around...bringing rainy weather to the Sierra while leaving the coastal areas dry and cool. So I replanned at the last minute (hapilly I remembered to replace my sleeping bag with a lighter-weight one). So I hiked up the Big Sur River.

Sykes Hot Spring has been popular since forever, but especially so since the New York Times wrote it up a decade ago. And Barlow Flat has been a nice place to camp away from the crowds and day-hike to the springs, but definately the crowds were present over Memorial Day. One can, of course, camp wherever one wants, the designated camping areas on the map aren't requirements, but relatively flat ground with access to water is extremely rare in the Ventana Wilderness.

No pictures of the springs, because crowds...there are two main tubs, not large but decent, and a two-person tub close to the river.

There is trail damage not far from the trailhead, CA's rainy season was pretty much one month (December), but that one month was especially wet in the Santa Lucia Mountains.



One climbs up to a junction with a trail that leads down to Ventana Camp, where Ventana Creek flows into the Ventana Wilderness. On a warmer weekend the swimming hole here would be awesome, But, one contines...and with coastal fog the view up the Big Sur valley is nice.



It's vital in the Ventana Wilderness to know what western poison oak looks like:



In the fall poison oak is actually gorgeous, the leaves turn color nicely. It's probably a sign of how extreme CA's drought is that I saw "poison oak color" in late May.



There's swimming holes just downstream from Barlow Flat, not as nice as at Ventana, but refreshing.



I did mention the mountains were quite steep...



This area is near the southern end of where Redwoods grow (Silver Creek Wilderness, just south, has the southernmost coastal Redwoods). Here they grow in canyon bottoms (including at Barlow), and in north-facing side canyons.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/2015 03:45PM by ttilley.
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