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Re: Birds Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time

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Birds Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time
January 22, 2017 07:05PM
(This is another report from the backlog. This trip took place in early December 2016. Current conditions may be different.)

One of the first TrailQuest 2016 hikes we did was the North Mountain trail from Miguel Meadow to the park boundary. The reasoning was that the trail was poorly maintained in the best of times; in the wake of the Rim Fire, it could very well become impassable after the undergrowth had a few more years to recover.

At the end of 2016 we found ourselves returning to North Mountain via an alternate trail for a different reason: the search for Boundary Marker 45.

We started the hike on a spur road that lead from the Cherry Lake Road. Past its gate it would continue to the Canyon Tunnel's western adit and taillings, but we parked at the gate and started up the trail. We had gone this way a few years ago with Bearproof and had been surprised to find a trail. This time, it was much better maintained, but it still had its fair share of poison oak and various logs and branches that had fallen across the trail. Thus, we decided to bring Sven and Cyndi.

Sven was the Pink One's handy portable saw, useful for poorly-maintained trails and roads. Cyndi* was a lightweight compound bypass lopper that I brought to take care of smaller branches and poison oak shoots.

As we followed the trail to the top of the ridge, we cleared as much as we could. From the top, we were greeted with views into the lower Tuolumne Canyon.

A cold storm had dumped some low-elevation snow on the ridge, and we were soon walking through a few inches of fresh snow. At least we would be able to melt some for water if we didn't find any running water.

Eventually our trail became a road--the western extension of the old North Mountain road.

Near the summit, the snow cover was nearly 100% and was several inches deep.

We climbed as high as we could up the lookout tower at the summit. From there we could see Cherry Lake, Lake Eleanor, the various domes around Hetch Hetchy, and far away many high peaks in and around Yosemite.

Since Marker 45 was several hundred feet below the summit, we dropped down from the summit to find a place to camp. We stopped as the snow started to get scarce--we needed some for water. We set up our tent and prepared for the evening as the sun set.

The next morning, the Pink One and I decided we would go marker hunting while JKW would stay at camp. The location had been scouted earlier in the year and was known to be infested with poison oak. We filled up our water bottles, grabbed Cyndi, and headed down while JKW melted more snow for water.

The drop down the side of the canyon was steep, but it was mostly open so we had great views of the Preston Falls area and the cliffs above the Poopenaut Gorge area.

Eventually we reached the elevation of the marker then started traversing to where it was supposed to be. Unfortunately, it was located in the middle of a rather active talus field that was in fact infested with poison oak shoots. Cyndi wasn't much help, unfortunately, We looked around for probably an hour or so, but failed to locate the marker. Given the very recent signs of rockfall and the generally loose rock, the post could easily be buried. Or, it could have been in the middle of a shrub we couldn't get close to due to the poison oak.

Apparently due to the terrain the boundary surveyors left some markings on a east-facing cliff. We saw a few candidates for said cliff, but didn't see any lettering. After giving up our search, we headed back up the steep hill.

Back at the campsite, we packed the tent and other gear we had left there and headed back the way we came with JKW, except bypassing the summit of the mountain itself.

From the mountain the return hike was almost all downhill and made for a nice late-season stroll.

Our return trip was a fair bit easier since we had cleared much of the poison oak encroaching on the trail on the way up.

As we were driving from the trailhead, we noticed an aqueduct below the road we were on. Since we had some extra time, we decided to check it out.

It was the Lower Cherry Aqueduct, and we followed a road that went along it until it abruptly ended. However, a trail seemed to continue, so after backing up carefully to a parking area, we walked back to the trail.

The trail passed a few gated adits that had very recently been spray-painted--the paint fumes were still fresh. Apparently the tunnels had been modified so that they could be used by bats.

The trail was well-built--not surprising since it had most likely been constructed to facilitate the construction of the Lower Cherry Aqueduct, which with the Lake Eleanor dam were among the first components of the Hetch Hetchy system that were built.

Those legs look a little short for those jeans...

We followed it a bit farther, but eventually had to turn around and start heading home. Although we had been unsuccessful in finding the boundary marker, it had still been a great late-season trip.

* Yes: Cyndi Lopper.
avatar Re: Birds Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time
January 22, 2017 08:38PM
Whew... at least those jeans donut make my butte look big...
Do they?

Truth is... I soooooo wanted to put a water bottle on top of 45...
But.. sigh... I couldn't find it..

In May...

Here's my May 2016 set... kinda bummed
a) we didn't find 45
b) we didn't have enough time to explore like I did in May

Hopefully that works... it's a nice area when the flowers are blooming...

For December... it's not THAT steep...

Pretty sure 45 is in this... if not then 48 for sure is tongue sticking out smiley

And for the 3D lubbers (if there are any) (besides me)
From May:

Have fun

(and thanks for the TR) (and trip) (and helping trying to find 45)

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Birds Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time
January 23, 2017 06:07AM
Thanks for the report. I know it's time consuming to do these and for those of us who live far, far away it's much appreciated.

"Cyndi Lopper"....I love it smiling smiley
avatar Re: Birds Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time
January 23, 2017 08:43AM
Bummer that you didn't find #45!

Love the flower pics from your May album!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/23/2017 08:44AM by Bearproof.
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