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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

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Redwood Redux

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Redwood Redux
January 27, 2015 09:29PM
Last week we did the day tour of Redwood Canyon; we returned a week later--with a different crew--to finish a few unexplored trails and check out more of the grove.

Our original "plan" was to hike in an easy three miles to some nice open granite, then exit the next day via the Sugarbowl loop. A last minute change had most of us instead going in via Sugarbowl so that we could check out Big Springs the next day. (OD wisely decided to stick to the original "get to camp early and relax" plan...)

Right from the start, the trail along Redwood Mountain lives up to its name.

We stopped for lunch at the top of the mountain, where there were good views across the Central Valley...

...and of the Great Western Divide. Oddly, there were obvious signs of a well-constructed trail along the top of the mountain--perhaps remains from a previous alignment.

Redwood Mountain Grove may have only a few trees of record size, but it has plenty of large, mature sequoia.

Right before the trail drops into the canyon itself we passed by the Sugarbowl, a dense, almost pure grove of sequoia.

From the ridge we could see our eventual destination--and (with post-trip photo analysis) confirmed visually what we knew from the radios: OD had arrived at camp.

OD is the red dot near the center

We left the Giant Sequoias for much of the trail down, but eventually re-entered the grove and were soon in a recently-burnt out area. In places, the trail passed through thickets of young sequoias.

The hike from Redwood Creek to the campsite was the reverse of last weekend's trip past the Hart Tree and Fallen Goliath*--with even some of the same photo-stops and detours.

We arrived at camp near sunset, but the evening was warm, and once everyone arrived and was set up for the night, we enjoyed dinner together on the open granite.

The night had been mild--warmer than many winter nights in the Sierra--and we enjoyed breakfast while packing for the next day's hike.

Some decided to return to the trailhead and hang out in Grant Village, where they could (in theory) do things like check out the Grant Grove, Big Stump, Panoramic Point, or whatever, while the rest of us headed down to Big Springs.

We retraced our way past the Hart Tree, despite a few obstacles.

Rather than drop down to Redwood Creek only to climb back up, we left the trail above the Fallen Goliath and headed cross-country to the Big Springs trail.

Sequoia forest fairy

This wouldn't be a Chick-on adventure if we didn't stumble across another indication of a previous trail--or rather, road.

Not soon after reaching the Big Springs trail we left the sequoia grove behind. This trail didn't show nearly as many signs of recent maintenance as the main grove trails. While there are still numerous large incense cedars, sugar pines, and even oaks, along this portion of the trail, there are no sequoia--except for a few stragglers near Big Springs. The reason this trail is "maintained" is actually not towering trees but rather something you can see only hints of--underground caverns.

Under Redwood Canyon is Lilburn Cavern, the longest cave in California, with over 17 miles of explored passages. Near the Lilburn Cavern research station the terrain provides a few clues of the wonders below--numerous sinkholes, a few oddly deep holes, and the fact that Redwood Creek's waters, so abundant where the trail crosses it upstream in the grove, are nowhere to be found--it flows through various caves underground.

Eventually we found the creek again, emerging from the underground labyrinth at Big Springs, a small oasis that provided relief from the mid-winter heat.

We enjoyed lunch at Big Springs, where we refilled our water bottles before heading back up canyon.

The return hike was gradual, progress being slowed only by the numerous deadfall across the trail.

We looked forward to returning to the cool patches of snow in the canyon past the cabin, and eagerly returned to the big trees.

Once back at the Redwood Creek crossing we topped off our water, then continued up a familiar trail back to the car, slowed down only by a few minor obstacles.

The others had long ago returned to their car and were safely in Grant Village. We had completed all the trails in the Redwood Canyon area--and stumbled across a few not on the map. The Hart Tree - Sugarbowl loop is definitely worth checking out, and this main loop provides access to most of the grove. The trek down to Big Springs will be most interesting to geologists or spelunkers.

More Pictures

* We had seen the Fallen Goliath sign, but no large fallen tree, last weekend. Afterwards, I stumbled over an article that indicates that there was a fire in the Goliath's hollow log in April of 2014; apparently the Fallen Goliath is no more.
avatar Re: Redwood Redux
January 28, 2015 06:54AM
Tanks Sew Much!

I wonder what a 4 Mile Hike looks like.... wink

My fave-o-right tree was the one with the HUGE knot in it...
(in 3D)

In my mind I was hoping for a BIG SPRING. Still very very neat...
But ... a weee bit smaller than the Big Spring near Yellowstone.
Found a faux toe of Z boss n my pappi there ... smiling smiley

It's here:

Tanks Agin

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Redwood Redux
January 28, 2015 11:04PM
How I envy you all being able to hike to such beautiful places. Thank you for letting me live vicariously through your trip posts.
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