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Buckeye Trail

Buckeye Trail

Postby mikesplain on Thu May 28, 2009 6:23 pm

Date Hiked: May 18, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

reported by: brad

Difficult hike with a lot of great views of the coastline and southern mountains. Many ticks along the way, especially near the beginning of the trail. There is still decent water available at the 2 mile mark where the stream cascades down the mountain. Several spots past the stream on the trail are covered by some rockslides and some spots are overgrown by small brush. The Buckeye campsite is well worth the hike and a perfect place to rest and either hike back or continue on. The picnic table is still there and in ok condition and the spring still has the hose and a good flow. The large canopy provides wonderful shaded area for hikers, campers and FLIES!! There were flies EVERYWHERE....take a head net if you want to enjoy the campsite! Some good suggestions for gear on this hike include plenty of water, sunscreen, head net, pants for ticks, water filter if you dont like to carry a lot of water and of course a camera! This hike should take an experienced hiker about 4-5 hours.
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Buckeye Trail

Postby mikesplain on Wed May 27, 2009 6:57 pm

Date Hiked: May 3, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Tim
Specific = Evidence of recent clearing in the first mile. From the 2 mile mark on, the trail can sometimes give way with loose dirt and significant drops, so watch your step! Hiking this trail requires packing lightly. Carrying a 65LB pack up this trail was a mistake. Incredible amounts of poison oak to watch for at foot and face level. Spectacular coastal views make this hike worth it. This intermediate hiker averaged 1 hr per mile with a 65Lb pack in tow. Enjoy!
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2/19/09 Report by William Salmon

Postby Site Administrator on Thu May 07, 2009 2:47 pm

Date Hiked: February 19, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Specific = (Second part of report from Salmon Crk Trail)19-20 Feb 2009. Two days of uphill to our car on S. Coast Rd., and 3,000 ft to climb, parts of trails are Difficult! Lower Buckeye needs brushing, one bad slide with small tree and roots we climbed over. Some narrow 'goat-track' trails looking out over the Pacific. Some wild flowers are out, poison oak beginning to leaf out. We camped out on the rim, didn't quite make it to Buckeye Camp, we climbed over 2,000 ft elevation. I heated water for dinner, took in the views of Big Sur Coast, watched the sun go down with a 'green-flash' doesn't get much better than that. Next day we found water from piped spring at a very spacious Buckeye Camp. The guidebook said look for two Oak Trees not two Pine Trees, we got turned around for a minute. Hiked to Upper Cruikshank camp, (signs are good in this area). A moderate uphill hike to Silver Camp, good spring water from the pipe; lots of water from small tributaries. More goat tracks, mud & gravel slides below exfoliated rocks, one downed tree but passable. Trail is clear to Silver Peak jeep road, with a gradual climb all day. Cooler on the north side of Silver Peak. A white picket to mark Silver Peak trail from the jeep road. Walked past Lion's Den and out to the car. Access Rd from Highway 1 is good in dry weather, not too many signs, but good driving for 4 wheel drive. I would recommend this trip in late Winter or Spring, the temperatures are comfortable. Watch the rainstorms, wait for the water levels to go down if there is a fast and deep creek to ford.
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Buckeye Trail Conditions 2000 - 2008

Postby Site Administrator on Thu May 07, 2009 2:43 pm

Date Hiked: May 3, 2008
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Conditions reported by: Ben
Survey date: 3-MAY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Upper Cruickshank Camp to Buckeye Camp - Passable

Starting from the Upper Cruickshank camp, the trail ascends fairly steeply, but is open and fine. When you reach the ridge after climbing 750 feet, stop to admire the breathtaking view -- and then make sure to watch the trail carefully! There is an apparently new trail that breaks off from Buckeye and heads up the ridge to the left; if you plan to go to Buckeye camp or beyond, you want to stay right, and down, and you should start snaking down and around the hillside. (***By the way, if you do go up the ridge, be warned: the trail ends without warning in the midst of thick chapparal, AND we encountered a very large rattlesnake that was non too pleased to see us.***)

If you stay on the Buckeye, heading toward Buckeye camp, be advised the trail is not always visible and there is a danger of slippage. Nothing to sweat too much about but forget any thoughts of bringing children up here (as our guidebook suggested).

Section: Buckeye Camp to Coast Highway (Salmon Creek Trailhead) - Passable

The trail is clear until the final 250 feet of descent (some minor overgrowth and watch for poison oak!)
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Conditions reported by: Pablo
Survey date: 26-JANUARY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Tread half-mile in from Salmon Creek Station is rather brushed over (little poison oak) but can be followed. Rest of the tread to Buckeye camp is passable with caution (and hiking poles). In many areas the tread is narrow, on a down hill cant, and with numerous slip-outs or wash-outs. No deadfalls encountered. Buckeye camp still has the table and firepit intact. The Sierra Club Trail Guide to LPNF describes the trail and camp as 'suitable for families with young children'. Until the trail gets re-worked I would not recommend taking children on this route.
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Conditions reported by: Greg M
Survey date: 6-APRIL-2007
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Salmon Creek Station to Cruickshank Trail - Clear

The trail is clear, with sections nearing Wilderness Freeway status. The only caveat being that some sections suffer from erosion, and the sheer topography demands that the hiker pay close attention to the trail, and not get distracted by the awesome views. On a trail such as this, it's better to stop periodically to admire the view instead of looking into the distance while walking. A carelessly placed footfall can mean a big tumble down a steep hillside.

Buckeye Camp was in fine shape, with the meadow still green from winter rains, and a good hose installed in the spring, with water flow steady and clear. Either this hose is newly installed, or I just didn't notice it when I hiked this stretch last July. (That certainly is possible, considering the heat last July!) The table and fire ring at the main camp are in good shape, and the fire ring and log seating remain intact at the secondary camp site.
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Conditions reported by: Gary Felsman
Survey date: 20-JANUARY-2007
General: CLEAR
Specific:

General:

15 of us hiked the Cruickshank and Buckeye Trails to Alder Camp last Saturday, the weather was great. A few flowers were out, shooting stars, peony, and milk maids.

Very few ticks this day.

Section: Cruickshank Camp to Villa Creek Camp - Clear

The Villa Creek crossing is easy at this time.

Section: Villa Creek Camp to Alder Camp - Clear

The tread in good shape since the rebuild a few years ago. Two downed trees along the way. One about 1/4 mile past Villa Creek Camp, and one closer to Alder Creek Camp.
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Conditions reported by: Greg Minter
Survey date: 1-JULY-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Salmon Creek Station to Villa Creek Camp - Clear

The trail is in excellent shape and easy to follow, with no major obstacles and good tread. Not quite a Wilderness Freeway, but close. The spring-fed creek at Buckeye Camp was getting a little slow. Expect your water filter to pick up some silt due to the shallow stream. The creeklet at Upper Cruickshank was flowing better, with an 8" deep, silt-free pool from which to filter water. Upper Cruickshank Camp was inviting and in good shape. Villa Creek is still roaring away, with no sign of slowing in the recent future.
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Conditions reported by: Lee Kenyon
Survey date: 30-APRIL-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Upper Cruikshank Camp to Salmon Creek

The trail was "clear" in the sense that it was easy to navigate and did not have any serious brush or deadfalls. It was "passable" in the sense that it goes through a number of grassy areas in which the grass has overgrown the trail. There were a few places where I needed to be careful about staying on route. It was quite straightforward when I did it, but I can imagine that another season of growth might make the task more difficult.
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Conditions reported by: Myron and Carina Nickerson
Survey date: 19-APRIL-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Alder Creek to Upper Cruickshank Camp - Passable

Hiked Buckeye between Upper Cruickshank and Alder Creek Camp while staying at Villa Creek Camp. Villa Creek is roaring! Wet crossing or log balancing required. Wilderness Hwy until past Villa Creek Camp, then a pair of deadfall tree that required climbing over. Fairly clear until getting over divide. Some brush and minor deadfall presented no problems to Alder Creek, which is running strong. Some deadfall trees between creek and Alder Creek Camp, but all are passable.

A lot of ticks in Villa Creek region! But water is running on two sides of Villa Creek Camp and trickling on a third.

We had four days and three nights of beautiful weather. Thanks Mama Nature.
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Conditions reported by: Jean LeBlanc
Survey date: 6-JANUARY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Overall

The trail is relatively clear, with tread well defined, other than as noted below. That is good news given the severity of the Central Coast storm that hit on 1/1/06-1/2/06.

Note: Much of this trail contours some steep hillsides and is carpeted with slippery leaves, so a hiking stick or hiking poles are highly recommended.

Section: Salmon Creek Station to first saddle (about the first 1/2 mile) - Passable

This section is overgrown and definitely needs to be visited by a clipper-armed crew. I cut through one particularly heavy patch but time didn't allow me to do anything more. Despite the overgrown brush, the tread is well evident.

Section: first saddle to Soda Springs Trail junction - Clear

Section: Soda Springs Trail junction to Buckeye Camp - Clear to Passable

The trail is generally clear. There are a couple of small landslides that look like they have been there for a bit just at the first (or possibly the second) stream crossing. There is what appears to be a new landslide just after the Soda Springs stream crossing--it is passable but the trail has been completely buried and you need to exercise caution.

Section: Buckeye Camp to Cruikshank Trail junction - Clear

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Conditions reported by: Gary Felsman
Survey date: 9-JULY-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Highway 1 to

Section: Cruickshank Camp to Buckeye Camp - Clear

The trail is easy to follow and last year's work has paid off for those that take this trail. As one climbs to the ridge there is plenty of encroaching brush, and grass along the way. Once at the ridge you are offered great views of the coast. One can see the valley where Buckeye Camp is located.

To Buckeye Camp, the heavy winters allowed plenty of spring grass to grow, with lots of burrs. The tread was in fair condition, but slumping in several places. It could use a once over to smooth it out to improve footing and correct compaction for this rebuilt trail.

Section: Buckeye Camp to Soda Springs Trail Junction - Clear

Encroaching brush and all the washouts have been repaired thanks to the VWA Trail Crew. One large oak did fall across the trail betwen Soda Springs Creek and the Soda Springs Trail junction, it can be climbed over or under.
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Conditions reported by: Gary Felsman
Survey date: 22-FEB-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Cruickshank Camp to Buckeye Camp : Clear

Good tread, some poison oak. Most interesting note is that at Buckeye Camp, there appears to be enough grazing animals around (besides the cattle that have been long since removed) to remove all the old grass on the Buckeye Camp meadow.

Section: Buckeye Camp to Soda Springs Trail Junction : Clear

Encroaching brush and all the washouts have been repaired thanks to the VWA Crew. One large oak did fall across the trail betwen Soda Springs Creek and the Soda Springs Trail junction, it can be climbed over or under.
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Conditions reported by: Tom M.
Survey date: 05-JULY-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Cruikshank Trail Junction to Villa Creek

Recent brush clearing in some sections of the trail, with the "flower garden" area overgrowing the trail somewhat. Tread was good in all areas. Bees were swarming around a hive in the hollow of an oak tree on the left side of the trail going in, about 1/4 mile past the first Redwood grove. Villa Camp was in good condition and is a great, small out-of-the-way camp next to Villa Creek.
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Conditions reported by: Kelley Ristau
Survey date: 29-MAY-2004
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Salmon Creek GS north......

While waiting for friends at the Salmon Creek guard station parking lot, I witnessed three separate groups of hikers start out on Buckeye Trail only to return approximately 10 minutes later, complaining of a severely overgrown trail which they did not feel like battling.

If you are looking to get to Buckeye camp, starting out from the Soda Springs or Cruikshank trailheads may be better options.
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Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 09-APRIL-2004
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Salmon Creek GS to Cruikshank Camp

From Salmon Creek guard station to Soda Spring intersection, encroaching head-high brush makes for minor annoyance- ticks could be a real problem after a mild rain; but the trail is easy to follow.

From Soda Spring to Buckeye Camp the brush subsides but poison oak is the most common shrub- wear long pants!

Buckeye Camp to Cruikshank Camp- Hats off to the altruistic individuals who've put in the time to make this trail a real joy to hike! Excellent tread, clear of brush, outstanding views; a classic trail in the heart of Silver Peak Wilderness now restored to it's former glory.
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Conditions reported by: Gary Auth
Survey date: 3-MAR-2004
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Cruickshank Camp to Alder Creek Camp

Congrats and kudos to the individuals (ED. note: actually this work was done by a USFS trail crew) who have recently worked on this section of the Buckeye trail. The tread is clear and passable the entire 4 mile length; in fact, it is a wilderness freeway, free of encroaching branches and/or snags of any sort. We had heard stories of what a mess Alder Creek camp was, littered with garbage and beer bottles. When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised with the pristine condition of the camp. Not a speck of trash anywhere and new shoots of grass carpeting the level areas like an opulent Persian rug; a great place to have lunch before turning around for the leisurely downhill back to Cruickshank. Adrian and I took this hike on a fine day in the beginning of March. You will be challenged to find a more representative hike in the Silver Peak Wilderness: giant redwood groves, open meadows with ocean views, sun-drenched chaparral, shady tanbark and madrone forests, babbling brooks and streams with numerous waterfalls -- this hike has it all.
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Conditions reported by: Mike ?
Survey date: 8-AUG-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Hwy. 1/Soda Springs trailhead to Buckeye Camp

Trail conditions are mostly clear but there is some erosion and bushes starting to encroach over trail. There are two deadfalls near the start of the trail at Soda Springs. Soda Springs still had water as well as the spring at Buckeye. The easterly camp site near the spring was in good shape. The westerly camp site is in poor condition. People have taken about half the boards from the table to use as benches around the fire pit. Appears little used given the encroachment of wild grasses and poison oak. Lots of dove, quail and about 30 head of deer were seen. Also encountered two rattlesnakes at the last flat area just before dropping into camp. Views, all the way to Piedras Blancas lighthouse were spectacular. Saw numerous whales.
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Conditions reported by: Kelley Ristau
Survey date: 25-MAY-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Salmon Creek Station to Buckeye Camp

This trail report is from our trip over Memorial Day weekend, so it is a bit dated, but maybe it will be of some use. Our original plan was to do a large loop, taking the Buckeye Trail to the Cruickshank, to South Coast Range Road, and finally down Salmon Creek Trail to the falls. Because of a late start, we ended up just making a leisurely journey to Buckeye Camp and back down. I have posted pictures from the trip here: http://community.webshots.com/user/kelleyrenae

We started out at the trailhead near the old ranger station. There were several cars parked there, but we didn¹t see another soul for the entirety of our trip. How lovely, especially on a holiday weekend! The initial ascent of the trail, which I would term moderately steep, was wildly overgrown, with thistles, shrubs, poison oak, and wildflowers. I would definitely recommend wearing long pants and possibly a long sleeve shirt on this trail. I am not quite sure of all the types of wildflowers in bloom, but there were poppies, Indian paintbrush, lupine, and morning glories, as well as peach-colored flowers. Watch out for the many holes in the ground made by burrowing creatures.

Reaching the top of the first hill and a large grassy meadow, the view out over the Pacific was incredible. Throughout the entire hike to and from Buckeye Camp, the scenery took my breath away. At this point, the trail was much easier to follow, as the vegetation is low shrubs and grass. The wildflowers and yucca were in bloom all over. Again, I would recommend long pants, as the shrubs and yucca are no less forgiving than thistles on ones legs.

Traveling through this middle portion of the trail, the trail is eroded in several locations, making for loose footing. As long as one is sure to step carefully, there should be no problems, however. As noted in earlier trail reports, probably the largest concern on the Buckeye Trail is a portion between about a mile and a mile and a half up (?? my sense of distance is not very good) where wayward hikers have created a secondary path that is, in fact, almost more clear than the true path. As a rule of thumb, I would say stay to the right during your hike up the Buckeye Trail if at any point in time you are unsure which way to go. Taking the trail to the left at this point leads to heavy brush and a scramble up a steep and rocky point which is especially precarious with a sizable pack on.

Hiking higher up into wooded area, the trail becomes more distinct and with a more stable tread. In some places, an abundance of oak and bay leaves makes for slippery footing, so be a bit careful. A nice creek and waterfall makes for a great rest stop along the way.

Buckeye Camp is a lovely site with a couple nice areas to settle down for the night, complete with picnic tables, fire rings, and running spring water. One site can be found under oak trees immediately to the right upon entering Buckeye Camp. The other nice spot is further along towards the Cruickshank trail, keep to the left (West) and walk across the meadow. While flies had not been much of an issue during the hike up, they definitely were more intense at the camp, and I was thankful for having read previous recommendations to bring DEET. Once the sun set, the flies and mosquitoes settled down, though.

I cannot give adequate justice to how breathtaking the Buckeye trail and camp is. Poison oak and flies are definitely a consideration (one of my fellow hikers got a bad enough case of PO to require prescription medication, but the rest of us got none at all). Wear long pants, consider a long shirt, and bring along 100% DEET or Jungle Juice or something of the sort.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to keeping this trail maintained so we may enjoy it!
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Conditions reported by: Jean LeBlanc and Karen Kurciska
Survey date: 17-MAY-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Salmon Creek Station to Buckeye Camp

1. Salmon Creek Station to Soda Springs Trail Junction. The first part of this section (the climb up the canyon behind the Salmon Creek Station-about 1/2 mile) is passable but somewhat overgrown (including on the tread) and there is poison oak. Once you reach the top of this canyon, you are in for a visual treat as the next 1/2 mile of this hike, to the Soda Springs Trail Junction, is along a ridge directly over Highway 1 and the ocean, and on a clear day the 180 degree ocean views are spectacular. This part of the trail is in excellent shape.

2. Soda Springs Trail Junction to Buckeye Camp. LONG PANTS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED ON THIS SECTION! Tread is generally visible but there are several places where you can lose it and you need to do a "walk around" to find it again. The trail is overgrown to knee level in a lot of places. Beau coup poison oak along the route, also. The trail on some of the shaded hillsides is a little slippery from loose rocks that have fallen from above and from leaves. And finally, ticks and chiggers are well represented on this section. But as this trail parallels the ocean as it steadily climbs to the high point of about 2,250 feet (before descending to Buckeye Camp at 2,140 feet), you are treated to some absolutely magnificent ocean views throughout the hike.
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Conditions reported by: Gary Felsman
Survey date: 31-AUG.-2003
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Cruickshank Camp jct. to Villa Creek Camp

Darlene and I had the opportunity to hike the Lower Cruickshank Trail to Upper Cruickshank Camp, then down to Villa Creek Camp along the Buckeye Trail. All the way up the Cruickshank Trail, we saw the flagging from the trail crew marking the Buckwheat for the Blue smith Butterfly(I think?).

Along the way we removed an old oak tree that had fallen across the trail.

Upon reaching Upper Cruickshank Camp, we found the Trail Crew camped here, who have been working all over the Silver Peak Wilderness this summer.

We headed down towards Villa creek camp, picked up our tools to work a section of trail just below, and to our surprise the Trail Crew was working on it already.

We talked to them for awhile, and they told us they had just finished rebuilding the trail to Alder Creek Camp and hope to finish working on the Lower section of Cruickshank Trail shortly.

With that in mind Darlene and I headed to Villa Creek Camp for lunch. We then spent some time repairing the entrance into the Camp, removing a downed tree, and minor trail construction. The camp it self is clean and well used.

After this minor bit of work Darlene and I headed up toward Alder Creek Camp. We only made it to the ridge, but the trail was in great shape. Sure there were a few rough spots. But other than that what a joy it was to hike this trail again.
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Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: 19-APRIL-00
General: PASSABLE W/ DIFFICULT SPOTS
Specific:

This portion of the Buckeye trail begins directly across from Cruikshank Camp, actually the water source trail for the camp. It descends steeply thru Redwoods reaching Villa Creek. It crosses to the north side and follows the creek a short distance downstream to a trail fork at a seasonal side drainage. The left fork drops steeply and quickly to Villa Creek Camp. The right fork crosses the seasonal steam and begins a climb up and west out of the Villa Creek canyon. It passes thru coastal chaparral, and poison oak, with frequent clumps of Lotus in the trail. Reaching a dry wash, the tread has been eroded away, follow the flagging (and a deer trail) to a group of small Bay trees where the tread again becomes more distinct.

Continuing up, the trail passes a gushing spring with willows and Pampas grass, skirts a grassy meadow on its west side, then passes thru serpentine outcrops on the divide between Villa Creek and Alder Creek.

The trail enters the Alder Creek drainage a short distance, then switchbacks abruptly to re-enter the upper Villa Creek slopes. Passing thru a Ceanothus forest and curving left to again gain a grassy ridge between the drainages. On the grassy ridge walk along it for a couple of hundred feet to were the tread definitely enters Alder Creek. This last part of this trail is short but the most difficult to locate. Flags were hung in April 2000.

Traversing along the upper slopes of Alder Creek, the well graded trail climbs thru Oak - Ceanothus forests, with some overhanging growth, and grasslands. In some places the tread is faint, a good eye and patience is needed. It reaches a spur ridge and begins a decent to a crossing of Villa Creek, about 1/2 mile downstream of Alder Camp. The trail between the crossing and the camp is easily followed.
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Buckeye Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:58 am

* USFS trail #5E09
* Parking: Highway 1 at Salmon Creek Guard Station , Soda Springs Trailhead , Alder Creek Camp
* Watersheds: Various coastal
* Junctions: Soda Springs Trail, Cruickshank Trail
* Connects: Salmon Creek Guard Station with Alder Creek Camp
* Camps: Buckeye Flat Camp, Cruickshank Camps, Villa Creek Camp, Alder Creek Car Camp
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