Video: LABC 4th of July to Chicken Spring Lake

Come along on another overnight trip to Chicken Spring Lake. This time it is a group of folks from LABC who head out. Enjoy the views and clear skies from their 4th of July trip this past season.

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Video: Overnight to Chicken Spring Lake

Catherine and Julie head out to do an overnight trip to Chicken Spring Lake. The trip was early August, so you will get to see some of the smoke haze from the Ferguson Fire. Don’t let that stop you from watching this 18 minute video. A surprise weather makes the second day even better!

Note: There is one quiet “A” word used at 7:30. Otherwise clean.

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Poll: Drones

Do you think drones should be allowed in the wilderness? Many see it as mechanical use by a small machine. The noise level takes away from the wilderness experience. Others say they should be allowed because they are no different then a battery powered device that makes noise (i.e. smart phone, music player). What is your take and why?

 

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Video: Day Hike to Kern Peak

About an 8 minute video showing a solo day hike up to Kern Peak and back from the Black Rock Trailhead. The guy walked 27 miles! Curious what he saw along the way to the peak? Check it out!

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Trail Report: Summit Trail

User Shane and company went on a recent pack trip to Maggie Lakes. He was surprised at what he found. Here is what he had to report about the condition of the trail.

Trees falling across the trail in such high numbers that it is difficult to impossible to find the trail again. Dead trees ready to fall very close to the trail and in one area where the trail crosses a cliff if the trees fall and block the trail people with stock animals will not be able to turn around putting their lives at risk.

After Griswold Meadow the trail conditions become so bad that it becomes easier to blaze our own trail but someone who is inexperienced would try that and get lost. Many side trails and branches are unmarked showing no indication of which way to go. The few locations where there are markers or signs they are either in such poor condition that they cannot be read or they are simply signs laying on the ground. And the worst part of all is the rocks. In some places the rocks are so bad that there is no Trail. The only indication are the stacks of rocks that hikers leave behind indicating which way to go.

Once we got to lower Maggie we stopped because our horses had been through hell.

Yikes! Sounds like the trail needs a lot of work. If there are any volunteer trips ahead to help clear this popular trail, it will be shared. Thanks for the update!

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Trip Report: Casa Vieja to Big Dry Meadow Loop

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Photo by Dan Hall

User Dan Hall headed out for a loop on the eastern side of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Curious how it all went? Check out the story below along with a link to his photos. Thanks for sharing again Dan!

This was an easy, seasonal backpacking trip, with a base camp and interesting dayhike. For those who find the September temps of Horseshoe Meadow getting too cold and the temps along the Kern and Little Kern Rivers still too hot, and are seeking a place for an easy and seasonal backpacking trip with a nice dayhike, consider replicating this one that is between the elevations of those other two areas.

I started at the Blackrock Trailhead (8,960′) and hiked down 2 miles to Casa Vieja Meadow (8,310′). It was a gentle forested downslope with easy acclimatization to the elevation. My camp was in the wooded north side of the meadow for two nights.

On the layover day I did a 7 mile loop hike that had a maximum elevation gain of about 450 feet, and that was gradual. I hiked from Casa Vieja Meadow, through the rock formations and thick forest, to the creekside trail junction in Long Canyon. Then I went up Long Canyon by the creek to the trail junction at a meadow and private inholding (8,590′). Long Canyon Creek was the last water source on this hike.

From there my trail went south to Big Dry Meadow (8,720′) and, after crossing the meadow, I found my final trail junction a short way into the trees. From there I headed west on the final leg of the loop back down to Casa Vieja Meadow. The next morning, I did the 2 miles and 650 feet of gain back up to the trailhead.

All the trails were easy to follow and the junctions well marked. Range cattle were near or at all water sources and so water treatment is essential. There is more detail in the captioned photos at http://tinyurl.com/yd4fydwt

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Sherman Pass Temporary Closure

Now that the date is only 10 days away, here is an important news update regarding the Sherman Pass road. If you plan to do some fall backpacking in the Golden Trout Wilderness and will be using the Sherman Pass road, please make adjustments as necessary due to the road closure. Details below in the official news release.

The Kern River Ranger District plans to temporarily close a section of the Sherman Pass Road No. 22S05, this fall to through traffic. The planned closure is due to contracted road, culvert, and bridge work near Fish Creek Campground on the Kern Plateau.

The Sherman Pass Road stretches west from the Upper Kern River and east to Highway 395. The closure and bridge installation is planned for September 10 through December 15, 2018. The project site is just east of the Fish Creek campground.  Contractors will be removing an undersized pipe (culvert) and replacing it with a bridge requiring the closure of both lanes.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions:

Where will the Sherman Pass Road be closed and signed?

On the west side, a sign is posted at the intersection of Mountain Road 99 and Sherman Pass (below Johnsondale Bridge), reading “WARNING – Road Closed 36 miles ahead at Fish Creek Campground – September 10 – December 15, 2018.”

On the east side, a sign is posted near the South Fork Bridge/Forest Service boundary, reading “WARNING – Road Closed 9 miles ahead at Jackass Road No. 21S01, September 10 – December 15, 2018,”

The actual road closure is located just east of Fish Creek Campground to the intersection of the Sherman Pass Road and Jackass Road.

Will there be other closures in the area?

The entrance to Jackass Road No. 21S01 will be closed to all traffic during contractor work hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday).  The Jackass Road will be open to all traffic outside of contractor work hours.

Are deer hunting zones being affected?

All hunting zones will remain accessible. However, hunters may need to familiarize themselves with the road closure area before their trip.  Depending on the area, some destinations may require additional driving time.

Will there still be access to the Inyo National Forest?

The public will be able to access the Inyo National Forest. Monache and Powell Meadow will remain accessible through the west side of Sherman Pass Road and its junction with Mountain Road 99.

How will Smith Mountain area be accessed?

Access to the north area of Smith Mountain is through the west side of Sherman Pass Road (Kernville) using Smith Road No. 21S36 and Smith Meadow Road No. 20S39.  Access will be from the top down to Smith Meadow Road and exits will require using the same route.

Access to the south area of Smith Mountain is from the southeast using the Jackass Road No. 21S01 (with the contractor work hour’s closure described above) and the Smith Mountain Road No. 21S37.  Access will be from the bottom up to Smith Mountain Road and exits will require using the same routes.

How will we provide Medical or Fire Emergency Response? 

All emergency traffic will respond as normal.

Will Fish Creek Campground remain open to the public?

Fish Creek Campground will remain open to the public. The closure is located just east of Fish Creek Campground.  Access to Fish Creek Campground will be from the west side of Sherman Pass (Kernville).

To lessen the impacts, all forest visitors/users are encouraged to plan ahead and call the Kernville Ranger Station for assistance in getting to your destinations. This temporary closure may add several hours to your trip, depending on your chosen route.  Plan accordingly and have a safe trip.

For more information, please call the Kernville Ranger Station, open 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (760) 376-3781. Closed on weekends commencing Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018

 

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Video: Search for Volcano Creek Golden Trout

A couple people headed out into the Golden Trout Wilderness to search for the pure strand of Golden Trout in Volcano Creek (Golden Trout Creek is another name too). Come along and see how Matthew Chenoweth and company did on the 3 night and 25 mile hike.

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Video: California Golden Trout’s Long Journey Home

Due to historical drought conditions, CDFW rescues several dozen pure strand Golden Trout fish from Golden Trout Creek. One year later they are returned back to their habitat.

 

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Video: Maggie Lakes 2018

A short video showing how this group of people enjoyed Maggie Lakes this summer season. Looks like they camped near the lower lake and enjoyed swimming in the middle one. Did they climb Maggie Mtn near the end? Better watch to find out.

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