Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jamison Creek Trail, Plumas National Forest, October 12, 2016

Fall is here in the mountains and the perfect time for hiking and the leaves are turning and the crowds are gone.  A huge storm is looming so I figured I'd better get out and gets some miles on my boots.

Jamison Creek Trail head is located in Plumas National Forest, but the trailhead is located in Plumas-Eureka State Park and is part of an eighty miles trails system in the Lakes Basin. It's just outside of Graeagle and about a 20 minutes drive from where my trailer is parked.

The first 1/2 mile  ascends over some huge steps that seem to never end and once the trail levels out you skirt the beautiful Grass Lake about another mile up the trail.  The trail continues on towards Jamison Lake and eventually intersects with the Pacific Crest Trail in about 3 1/2 miles.

 Look at all the red berries.

Just off the trail one can view Jamison Falls.

Grass lake

The Smith Lake Trail is another trail that forks off the Jamison  Creek Trail.  Fall or Spring is the best time to hike  this as it is out in the open with an elevation gain of over 200 the first mile over very rocky terrain full of tree roots.  Once you get to the top you traverse down to Smith Lake.

Looking down at Smith Lake

 Tara and Hyde (Jason's dog) Enjoy cooling off in the clear water of Smith Lake.
 Dispersed camping is allowed at Smith Lake, and there is even a bear box provided.
 Views of Plumas National Forest and Mohawk Valley  from the ridge above Smith Lake.
Camping is allowed at Smith Lake, Grass Lake, along with Wade and Jamison Lake in Lake Basin while camping is only permitted is designated camp sites at the other lakes in this area.  Its a wonderful place for short overnight back packing.  While hiking I encountered a very large group of back packers.  All looked college age and were too clean to have been through hiking the PCT so I asked one of them where they had been.  They had packed in about 3 1/2 miles near the PCT for the weekend. They were part of a Chico State course on how to back pack.  Your tax dollars at work.

Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, San Benito, CA September 25-October 1, 2016

From 2005-2007 I volunteered with a group called "Wilderness Volunteers".  It's a service group which works with BLM, Park Service, and Forest Service, to organize service projects which typically include trail maintenance, trailing building, eradication of invasive species, building maintenance just to name of few.  The organization is loosely modeled after Sierra Club trips but are all volunteer and less expensive. After I purchased my motor home in 2007, I seemed to be too busy traveling and the service projects didn't seem to jive with my schedule and itineraries, or were in areas I wasn't interested in.

A new service trip was being offered in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area south of Hollister, California and Pinnacles National Park. I didn't even know the area existed and it sounded interesting, so I signed up for it. Hollister isn't that far from my home town, Pacific Grove, and late September seem like the perfect time to car camp in the area due to warm days and cool nights.  Also my friend Sandi wanted to do another service trip so she also signed up for it  and decided to drive her Road Trek which she could camp in.

Sandi was able to park her Road Trek on a pad but we set up tents for sleeping and stowing most of the gear.

Our project was working with BLM  to "brush" about 10 miles of trails to make it more appealing to hikers and mountain bikers. "Brushing the trail" is lopping vegetation that is overhanging over or in the middle of the trail.  Generally, Wilderness Volunteer groups number about 12, but our group was small...only 8 which I found really nice.  My experience has been that a group of 12 tends to break into small cliquey groups of 4, but our group seem to stick really close together despite the age differences.  

A major heat wave occurred during the week. Temps that were usually in the 80's were in the high 90's (mostly 95-97) which made hiking and working on the trail challenging...actually brutal.....especially carrying enough water and Gatorade. Also due to the immense amounts of poison oak we were required to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants.  Ugh! (Even with precautions, I did get a small patch of poison oak rash on my arm which took nearly a weak to clear up).

If you look closely you can sees the trail at the bottom of the photo.  Yes, we did have to hike to the top where I took this photo!.

 The crew hard at work.  We are cutting back scrub oak.

I think our group did a great job cleaning up the trail given the tools we had to work with and the very hot days.  Due to the major drought in the area, the Laguna Falls were not flowing so our group didn't even attempt hike down to the falls on our day off.

Break time under a nice shady tree. 
 Evening were spent relaxing. Elaine brought her Yuke and some sheet music
 Danny was the youngest member of the group (20), from Minnesota and had never been to California  much less volunteered for anything like our project.  What a great kid!
This little guy decided he/she wanted to join us.

Typically, the group works Monday and Tuesday with Wednesday off for exploring and then back to work on Thursday and Friday.  On our day off we headed over to Pinnacles Nation Park for a hike on the Peaks Trail.  It was very hot...95 degrees (it seemed like 100) so I personally did not hike the whole Peaks Trails.  I hiked to a nice overlooked, turned around, and headed to the  cool Bear Caves.


The Peaks Trail was hot and long.  This was about as far as I made it before turning around. 

 Elaine and I sought refuge in the cool caves.  Elaine is a retired science teacher and what a great asset to the group.  I felt like we had our own private naturalist.

The group.  

Steve, our co leader and cook extraordinaire.  The gourmet meals included French Toast for breakfast and Quinoa with nuts and fruit for dinner and Haystacks for dessert, just to name a few. 

Leader Steve singing along with friend Sandi.

On Saturday, we  broke camp and my friend Sandi and I headed over to the Pinnacles for a quick over night stay and to repeat the hikes I did on Wednesday.  RV camping is limited at the park and reservations are a must if you want hook ups.  There is one large loop that is for tent camping and which could accommodate Sandi's small Road Trek.  Fortunately, it was slightly cooler.

We headed back towards Reno to hopefully some cooler temperatures.  Yep, we got cooler temperatures snowed as we drove over the pass, but the clouds parted are we approached Reno.  My body is going what the...100 degree weather to 32 degrees in one day!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Lakes Basin and Round Lake Trail, August 28, 2016

I've been staying at my property in Portola, California, which is just a few minutes from from the Lakes Basin Area.  As the name suggests there are many small alpine likes and trails to hike.

The day was perfect...temps in the mid-70s and crystal blue skies.  My son Jeremy said he wouldn't "mind " hiking with me since he had not hiked on the Round Lake Trail.  It's a short  loop trail, about 4 miles long, which not only goes to Round Lake but meanders by several other lakes including Little Bear Cub and Silver Lake. Once you arrive at Round Lake the trail forks and continues to intersect with the PCT.

Round Lake

Jeremy, enjoying the view

Note how clear the water is
Typical Alpine Trail
Long Lake off in the distance

Click on the link for a map of the Lakes Basin.