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Re: Road Trip

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Road Trip
April 19, 2016 08:02PM
My destination for Friday night was an old stop on the Old Wawona Road: Fort Monroe. The advance party had arrived via a different path, but I started from Tunnel View, quickly leaving most of the crowds--but not views--behind.



I passed a few people who had been visiting unmarked Inspiration Point (hope they found it, or at least inspiration...), then continued along the old road towards Fort Monroe. Of course the advance party wouldn't be camping in the forest near the road when there was open granite not too far away.



The views from the campsite were perhaps not as good as those from Inspiration Point, but we really couldn't complain.



The evening was spoiled a bit by a chilly breeze, but we still enjoyed dinner outside on open granite--a luxury that has been rare since winter began. Not long after dinner, we were treated to a nice sunset and a night of rest.





We experienced an epic gear failure the next morning: we were lacking both pancake syrup and a spatula. Fortunately, we had an alternate breakfast that required neither, but we would have to acquire said missing gear for the next morning. (Oatmeal really wasn't an option...)

The morning sun soon lit up Cascade Falls below us.



We chose to exit towards the advance party's car instead of mine, since I hadn't been in that direction yet.



Our route took us through some tricky deadfall, but also past some nice old trees.


Two meters in diameter

After we emerged from the forest we were on a nice open granite dome with a few interesting erratics and some nice views.



We daled around on this dome for a bit before we returned to the car.



We had planned on hitting the valley store to acquire the missing breakfast stuff, but as we approached Bridalveil Fall it became apparent that pretty much everyone was in Yosemite this weekend, so we instead circled back towards our next destination--Foresta--passing by Crane Flat first to acquire syrup (success) and a spatula (epic fail).



The next destination was a short TrailQuest segment of the Foresta Road to the park boundary. But first we had to cross a bridge.


Two closed bridges

It's become very apparent recently that Google and Apple like to send 50' motorhomes up Old Priest Grade; similarly, I think they like to route people from 120 to El Portal via either the Foresta or Coulterville Roads.



After passing the old park boundary and entering the McCauley Ranch Addition, we took a side trip to check out some old foundations we saw. We saw an old steam contraption in the distance, but decided to defer checking it out until later.



Instead, we daled around the meadow surrounding the old ranch, enjoying the views of the precipitous Foresta Road far below us.



We approached a nice waterfall on Foresta Creek, which would normally not be a problem since we wanted to return via the road...



...but the bridge across the creek had been damaged in a recent fire.



The descent to the wrong side of the road was straightforward... but we were still on the wrong side of the not-really-a-bridge-any-more.



Anyway, we managed to cross the creek with some careful I-beam butt-scootching action, although we were still a bit shaken after the crossing. It was best to ignore the water below the not-bridge.



Anyway, we took one last look at the falls before heading back up along the road to Forests.



The wildflowers were out in full force, making what would normally be a hot slog a pleasant walk.



Upper Foresta Falls fortunately had an intact bridge below it.



The recently-burnt hillsides we walked past were covered with flowers...



...and more flowers.



We returned to the steam contraption, but it didn't hit us until a bit later that it had been a sawmill.



The shed had burned in a 1990 fire, but most of the metal and concrete parts were still in place, including various rails and clamps to guide long planks past the blade.



Many parts in this historical photo are still in place.



We checked out a few other former structures before leaving the old ranch behind.



From Foresta, we braved the traffic to hit the Valley store to get a spatula. Every possible place you could stop a car had one parked in it, and we did manage to acquire a passable spatula before heading to our final destination.



Once more we were on the Old Wawona Road, a pleasant stroll interrupted by only a few instances of uncut deadfall.



The occupant of our destination ceded it to us as we arrived.



There was enough light to locate a nice campsite before it got dark. After pitching our tent we settled in for dinner and rest.





The night had been very mild, and the morning sun soon warmed us and the meadow near where we had been camping.



After breakfast--in which we determined that smaller pancakes can be flipped with a spoon--we headed off to locate yet another boundary marker. We found the boundary, but despite an extensive search, we found no marker.



We returned to our campsite, packed up, and left our meadow to return to the Old Wawona Road.



The road--still maintained as a "Fire Motorway", was mostly clear of deadfall.



We in fact continued along it until the new highway obscured it.





Before heading home, we had one more short hike along another old road.



The bottom few hundred feet of the Old Coulterville Road are obscured by very large talus from recent rockfalls, requiring climbing up, down, and around very large boulders.



Past this area, the road is mostly intact...





The views back towards the valley were nice, but those arriving via the Old Big Oak Flat or Wawona roads definitely had better views as they descended to the valley floor.



The rockwork was also not as well-crafted as that of the Big Oak Flat Road, and in general wasn't holding up as well.



In a few places washouts have reduced the width of the road to less than a foot...



...and in others manzanita has all but obscured the roadbed.



The Coulterville Road had been the steepest way into the valley--even its only switchback had a good incline.



We reached the dumpsters at the top of the road--a rather unceremonious end to another Trail Quest segment.



We mostly walked along old, abandoned roads this weekend, but we also encountered no one along any of these roads during a very crowded weekend--yet we were still able to see several wonderful waterfalls.



More Pictures



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2016 09:45PM by basilbop.
Re: Road Trip
April 19, 2016 08:39PM
Just can't say enough how much I loved this weekend.. We had a rough idea of what to do, but the details kept changing.. And that is so not the way I used to backpack. But it was fabulous!

Thoughts:
  • Sometimes you find it... Last fall, we tried to find Monument 40. We spent a lot of time walking along a barbed wire fence with no luck. Chick-on even went over the fence and poked around. The border and the corner were obvious, but no marker! Very frustrating. I was fighting hay fever because the weeds were so high and plentiful and spewing pollens and dust as we walked through. Sigh... But this time, after winter had hit the plants and squashed them down, within minutes of walking the fence, Chick-on hollered he'd found it! It was in what had obviously been a mass of weeds and shrub, but at this point in the year, everything was still dead around it, so we could see it! What a difference a little time and change of conditions makes! Yay!!! Mind you, we'd spent an awful lot of time working our way to getting back to the area. Though the Forest Service roads were all officially open as of April 15, it didn't mean they had cleared them! We finally got stymied by a tree too big to move/cut/work around... So we had to walk the final bit as opposed to driving it as we had in the fall. Beware of road conditions, those of you intent on taking the FS dirt roads!
  • Vadered... Again... Later in the day, as we were working our way to camp, though I'd been told we'd probably just stop at the first good campsite... When we actually saw a good campsite and kept going past it into shrub and steep terrain... I got a bit whiny. Even though we were following a use trail. But, the end result was an even better campsite!
  • Roles reversed.. Normally, Chick-on vaders the trip and we often go through shrub of some sort or another. I've gotten used to it (mostly). On the way to the car in the morning, I made sure Chick-on didn't give any hints to Basilbop. And though Basilbop did a masterful job finding a less steep route back to the car, what he didn't realize he was getting into was a morass of tree detritus and shrub.. I actually told Chick-on if I ever groused at him again about taking a messy path, to remind me of this.. I think it made Chick-on's trip to hear that!
  • Foresta Falls.Flowers.Fun.Fear. We all thought this would be a simple road walk, nothing special, but needed for the Trail Quest, with a decent display from Foresta Falls, which we'd spied on a previous trip. It turned out the flowers were fabulous, the colors superb, the weather perfect. So we wandered... Surprise, surprise! And ended up at that bridge which I'd firmly said a week or so ago "no way in h*** am I going over I-beams over rushing water!"... I never should have said that. Because that's exactly what we did. Basilbop mentioned a technique that is solid, and Chick-on immediately crawled over the other side. I get pretty bad vertigo with rushing water. I'd have been fine if the i-beam had been over solid ground. But that rushing white water. And it was worse on the far side. But the far side was the road I had to walk. And the challenge. So, after I got Chick-on back to my side... I told him I wanted him in front, Basilbop behind me. And the three of us butt-scootched across. There were a couple of places where we had to lift our legs to get over horizontal bars, but overall, by either staring at Chick-on's backpack or closing my eyes, I was across. And then the hormones hit and I could barely crawl from the I-beam onto the ground. Once on actual dirt, I really couldn't stand up. I think 10 minutes passed before I was able to walk. That was as scared as I've ever been. Would I do it again? Yes. It was a solid I-beam! Do I want to do it again? Oddly, I kinda do. For practice. You can read wherever's post and see what Chick-on looked like on his first out and back over the bridge! Sadly, because I was so scared and the guys were helping me, we have no good photos of our trip across!
  • Enjoying Old Wawona The old Wawona road bits we've been doing.. I've really grown to love them. What a lovely way to end a very beautiful and exciting day!
  • Sometimes you don't find it. After that second morning, we took off XC to try to find another marker. And we searched hard. And no luck. Sometimes, you don't find them. Frustrating.. But happens. But Chick-on is over 100 found markers now! Awesome!
  • Brushy, but fun! By the time we finished the marker hunt, gathered our things and gotten out (with the added bonus of finding and following a section of old road that Chick-on had yet to walk, it was mid afternoon. But we went for the Old Coulterville road, and I'm glad we did! Any earlier and the sun would have been beating on us. As it was, it was plenty warm. Downright humid in many places because it was so lush. I would have enjoyed the walk so much more if the black flies and the poison oak hadn't been so prevalent. But it was still lovely... And Basilbop educated me on the history of the road as we were walking it. I'll probably remember the story better now, having experienced it first-hand!

Thanks to both of the guys and Old Dude (mrcondron) for all their support and camaraderie as I work towards finishing the Trail Quest.

Special thanks to Old Dude for the mocha when we dropped by on our way home! I was a zombie and still had another hour to drive home! I needed that caffeine!
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 19, 2016 10:23PM
No?



Vadering does not mean shrub. Plus really... is it vadering if I was planning it from the get-go?
It's not my fault you can't read my mind.

At least now you can't keep telling me you never have seen a Quail in Yosemite:


And it was indeed a Alligator Lizard. Thanks!
smiling smiley

As always.... thanks for the great trip and willingness to go without knowing..
knowing it will be fun.. and we will have fun regardless.

Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Road Trip
April 19, 2016 10:35PM
You daredevils you! Glad you guys had fun though! Thanks for sharing the report!
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 06:40AM
We always have fun. smiling smiley



Here is Foresta Falls (lower portion... from afar) :


(JKW, this was taken in 2009... not when we went looking for (and finding!) #9)

Thx!

(and sorry about the syrup... and spatchoola) (def. not sorry about the shrub)
(or the delicious route that blop picked back to car) (epic awesome)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 09:08AM
Great trip report from the 3 Musketeers (or should be 'The 3 Chick-on-teers' ?) , thank you for sharing.
Isn't this the 2nd time now in the past few months you folks have forgotten the pancake syrup? tongue sticking out smiley
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 09:52AM
Quote
PineCone
Great trip report from the 3 Musketeers (or should be 'The 3 Chick-on-teers' ?) , thank you for sharing.
Isn't this the 2nd time now in the past few months you folks have forgotten the pancake syrup? tongue sticking out smiley

By you folks... you mean Chick-on is looking at you!

And yes, you are right... forgot syrup twice now...
The skillet pan once...
and The Pizza another time...

ooops...

But if you look at it with pink coloured glasses... that's only about a 1% forget rate.
Pretty soon I can play the old chick-on card...

tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 10:19AM
Quote
PineCone
Great trip report from the 3 Musketeers (or should be 'The 3 Chick-on-teers' ?) , thank you for sharing.
Isn't this the 2nd time now in the past few months you folks have forgotten the pancake syrup? tongue sticking out smiley

You are most welcome! We've been so busy, haven't been able to get all the trip reports out. I think we missed one weekend in April in recent memory. We have been going out, even if we haven't been able to get the story up... sigh...

As for "isn't this the second time 'you guys' forgot the pancake syrup"... Well, Chick-on is responsible for the syrup and our favored pan and spatula... and since the first incident, I make it a point to double-check with him that he's packed it. And he said "yes" for this trip... which made it so much funnier!!! But in working around the lack of a decent spatula... we found that we prefer little pancakes that are easily flipped with our trusty spoons... which means less to carry and yummy little bites to munch!
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 11:21AM
Copy That...



(seriously it takes time to do TRs)

(and I one lazee Chick-on is looking at you!) (so I let z ol stick n fedders do dem)

Thanks



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 11:31AM
Quote
JustKeepWalking

... we found that we prefer little pancakes that are easily flipped with our trusty spoons... which means less to carry and yummy little bites to munch!


You mean like the ones Jack-in-the-Box serves:


http://www.jackinthebox.com/food/breakfast/mini-pancakes


Feed ME!



Leave No Trace
Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 08:46PM
I can't be sure of the size, but it looks right.. And tasty!

What used to be called "dollar" pancakes, I think.

Sooo tasty and cute! I took some pics with my cell phone, but haven't uploaded and linked yet... Sigh... And leaving again tomorrow. Just not enough time..
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 10:10PM
The Jack in the Box in Oakdale is open 24/7. You could pick some up on your way through (and ask for some extra syrup packets that you could use the next day). wink



Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 21, 2016 07:31AM
Because he's probably going to forget to bring it again!
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 21, 2016 07:54AM
Next I'll be told that you need a difffooozer plate to cook pancakes properly....

grrrr

sheesh... forget something 12 times... and you never hear the end of it.

tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 21, 2016 09:12AM
Quote
chick-on
Next I'll be told that you need a difffooozer plate to cook pancakes properly....

grrrr

sheesh... forget something 12 times... and you never hear the end of it.

tongue sticking out smiley

You need a diffuser to cook pancakes properly. I guess I'll just have to bring mine, Oh, and a backup spatula, Oh, and another Oh; syrup.



Old Dude
Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 10:25AM
Quote
chick-on
<snip>

Vadering does not mean shrub. Plus really... is it vadering if I was planning it from the get-go?
It's not my fault you can't read my mind.

At least now you can't keep telling me you never have seen a Quail in Yosemite:
<snip>

And it was indeed a Alligator Lizard. Thanks!
smiling smiley

As always.... thanks for the great trip and willingness to go without knowing..
knowing it will be fun.. and we will have fun regardless.

Chick-on is looking at you!

Vadering almost always involves going off-trail. Which almost invariably means some shrub. But yah, technically, vadering would only indicate a change in "plans"... spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

And did you notice the quail (your personal nemesis, by the way you talk about them startling you) didn't startle? You gotta talk to them! Coo to them. smiling smiley

Yah, glad you checked. I thought it might be an alligator lizard.. I haven't seen one in a while. Love the lizards we have around here.. Thanks for spotting it!

Always fun! Dancing GIrl



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2016 10:27AM by JustKeepWalking.
Re: Road Trip
April 19, 2016 08:47PM
Enjoyed the read and the photos. Thank you.
Re: Road Trip
April 19, 2016 09:03PM
Thanks for sharing another great trip report.
Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 05:33PM
Those photos & trip report are among the most enjoyable that
I've seen on this forum. Fabulous work.
Re: Road Trip
April 20, 2016 07:57PM
Glad you enjoyed the report! It's hard to tell how interested people will be in reports concerning some of the less popular parts of the park, such as the logged, dammed, and otherwise abused western parts.
avatar Re: Road Trip
April 23, 2016 12:48PM
We're interested! We're interested!
Re: Road Trip
April 24, 2016 02:54PM
Great trip report! Those are some of our favorite places. I was in the park for several days this week, with the kids and grandkids. Having previously taken them on the Old Wawona Road, from Inspiration Point to Bridalveil Falls, and also down the Old Coulterville Road, we settled for more touristy stuff. For example, they opened Galcier Point Road on Tuesday, so we did the eight mile trail via Ililouette Falls, Nevada Falls, and Vernal Falls on Wednesday. The Mist Trail is especially fun with the water being so high. On Friday we drove home via the Calaveras Big Trees State Park and hiked there in the rain, sleet, and hail. No tourists at all. Wonderful place.

The burned out bridge is definitely not for grade school kids, unless you have a rope. Slipping off that beam is certain death.

Winter is not completely gone...Heavenly reported 14 inches of new snow in their morning report the next day. But I guess that the old skis will have to be put away for the summer soon.
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