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San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Re: San Carpóforo Trail Spruce Creek Slide

Postby gfelsman on Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:21 am

Date Hiked: November 28, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

To all:

I wanted to pass along the Ventana Wilderness Alliance, USFS and Volunteer Rangers are working on a solution to help get pass the slide. Some work has been done identifying best route to take. The route will be closer to the original line that was established in 1997. Stay tuned for more information. It may take a few months to complete.

Some people are getting across with great care and skill. Error on the side of caution if attempting to cross the slide.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby gfelsman on Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:53 pm

Date Hiked: September 16, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This is just a quick note.

The slide near Spruce Creek about a mile up from the Salmon Creek junction has gotten much worse. For some it may be impassable, from my friends description it looks like a third large tree has come down on the trail and a good portion of the hill has also come down. We talked to two other individuals, one scrambled across it with great difficulty, the other said it was to dangerous to even try. Two groups of hiking friends looked at the slide and decided not to cross. Risk was just too great. I hope to get some pictures in the near future.

Be safe when traversing through the wilderness.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby Forestkeeper on Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:29 pm

Date Hiked: June 13, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Spruce Creek Trail is generally speaking a "wilderness highway" but there has been a fallen tree that has been blocking the trail at a steep embankment that is a bit too dangerous for the average hiker, so thus why I'm reporting this. To me, passing the log is an adventure, but I can see how it would easily become a show stopper for a group of merry hikers. The log is to be found near where the trail itself runs close to the creek. This would be about midway up the trail between Salmon Creek Trail and the saddle that separates Salmon Creek/Spruce Creek watershed from the Dutra watershed. There is a particular slope that has had lots of slides in the past and that is exactly where this log is. The surrounding foliage is mostly thimbleberries. The log has a decent girth to it so that one must climb over the log to pass. Over the past few months the passage of hikers has really worn most of the roots that held together the hillside. At the most precarious place someone could easily lose his or her step and fall into the creek after a few glancing blows of boulders on the way to the bottom. If there was a good reason for bringing a crew out with a saw, this would be that time.
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San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby jbl on Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:34 am

Date Hiked: April 25, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

THIS REPORT COVERS THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE TRAIL OTHER THAN THE SECTION FROM THE FIRST BIG MEADOW BELOW TURKEY SPRINGS CAMP AND WHERE THE TRAIL HITS THE BALDWIN RANCH ROAD (WE BYPASSED THAT SECTION ON A CROSS-COUNTRY ROUTE)

MY "CLEAR" REPORT IS AN AVERAGE REFLECTING THAT IT'S WILDERNESS FREEWAY MOST OF THE LENGTH BUT ONLY RATED PASSABLE IN THE AREA NEAR SAN CARPOFORO CAMP

Water Report:

1. the pipe at Dutra Flat was flowing slowly but steadily
2. water was flowing strongly at Turkey Springs Camp
3. water is still flowing moderately through San Carpoforo Camp

Section: Salmon Creek Trail to Dutra Flat Camp: Wilderness Freeway; the historic slide area before the first (very small) switchback has gotten worse with a new ~3' tree having slid down across it, so the new workaround requires you to drop about 15' below the tree

Section: Dutra Flat Camp to Turkey Springs Camp: Wilderness Freeway; however, on some of the large meadow crossings the tread becomes faint and/or indistinguishable from animal tracks so it helps to have a GPS track to guide you across

Section: Turkey Springs Camp to first big meadow area about .3 miles below: Wilderness Freeway but the track in the meadow becomes faint

[we used a bypass from the end of the meadow which drops 200' directly down to the Baldwin Ranch Road]

Section: where trail leaves Baldwin Ranch Road to San Carpoforo Camp: Passable. This historically tricky section is problematic because there's so much growth down in the flat area near SC Camp. You need to leave the BRR at a meadow on your right and head to a sign where the brush starts, which is where the trail goes through that brush and crosses San Carpoforo Creek (which was virtually dry at this location; it was flowing moderately when I was there on 3/14/15), you then go along a narrow meadow for several hundred feet before the trail goes into the brush on your right and that brush is pretty thick and always growing in so you've got to push your way into that and the actual route to where the trail officially recrosses the creek isn't that clear; right near the creek crossing there is a log and some rocks so you can make it across dry (otherwise your going to get wet because it's about 2' deep) and you then need to make your way out onto a large meadow and again the routing gets confusing as to where you cut into the brush on your left to get to the "official" San Carpoforo Camp (where the fire pit/grill is under an oak tree on an large, permanent sandbar/island between a typically dry branch of San Carpoforo Creek (which you cross as you get to camp) and the flowing branch on the other side). My advice: the actual trail (reflected on the Big Sur Trailmaps track) goes through a very thick section of PO, so it is better to continue through the big meadow staying close to the brush on your left and when you almost are at the end of the meadow there's a track into the brush on your left that's clear and shorter and that will take you to San Carpoforo Camp without the need to rub on a bunch of PO.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby jjj on Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:29 pm

Date Hiked: March 30, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

On the last day of a four day trip, we hiked from Dutra Flat to the Salmon Creek trail head on PCH. The fields surrounding Dutra Flat were green and there were many small purple flowers. There were very small amounts of encroaching poison oak on the final wooded descent to the Salmon Creek trail, otherwise this entire section was very clear.

The spring near the Dutra Flat camp was only a trickle when we arrived in the afternoon of the previous day, but it was flowing by evening.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:50 pm

Date Hiked: March 18, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Section: San Carpoforo Camp to Dutra Camp

On the 17th I hiked from the Baldwin Ranch Road to San Carpoforo Camp (after having come down from Lottie Potrero) and spent the night there. On the 18th I hiked from San Carpoforo to Turkey Springs (after a dayhike to Elk Camp) and spent the night at that camp. On the 19th I headed up to Dutra (and then up the Three Peaks Trail). I’ve flagged this as difficult, in the same spirit as Jack Glendening’s June 19, 2013 post, because of route finding and faint tread issues, mainly between the Baldwin Ranch Road and Turkey Spring Camp. Except for those – manageable via a GPS – this would rate on the high side of passable.

Baldwin Ranch Road to San Carpoforo Camp. Since jbl just wrote up this, let me add my own comments on this section first. This very short section has its challenges. As jbl noted, this section has two river crossings. The first I could do on rocks. The second was a wet-foot crossing. That last fraction of a mile north of the second crossing is through a mix of ferns, poison oak, stinging nettle, milk thistle, and poison hemlock (Conium maculatum). Great combination. How bad it gets depends on the details of where you walk. When I came in on the 17th, I followed a path that cut down to the river at its first opportunity, crossed, and then followed the river bank downstream about 200’. There I found a well-trod trail that led up the bank to a big grassy meadow on a bench above and well back from the river. I followed that clear trail almost to the far (south) end the meadow, overshooting San Carpoforo camp by several hundred feet, and turned left (east) where I saw a break in the brush lining the meadow. That short path (with a bit of poison oak to dodge) led to a lower open-woodland bench, still well back from the river. I then walked through that bench’s open woods north to camp. That’s not quite Dr. Jack’s track, but it offered few problems. On the way out I tried to follow the GPS route more precisely. I had more poison oak going north from San Carpoforo Camp. The route eventually did pop back up to the bench and its grassy meadow before dropping down to the crossing. Rather than walk the 200’ north along the creek, I took a path that went right up the east bank into the verdancy. This too matches Dr. Jack’s track. I hit the stinging nettles. Nice potent ones too. I eventually got back to the route by which I came. But all told, I did better on the route the first day than I did on the second. So, at least this time of year, it seems best to use the GPS mapping as a guide to the area but to poke around for alternatives so as to avoid the nasties.

San Carpoforo Camp is spacious with a stove (but no table) under three huge trees: a bay, a maple, and a sycamore. Rocks and roots provide nice places sit. The 100 feet or so between the camp and the river is a field of rocks. A very noisy woodpecker is available to guarantee you don’t oversleep.

Baldwin Ranch Road to Turkey Springs Camp. This mixes open woodland and grassy areas. The route is mostly easy to follow in the woodland but can be very sketchy in the grasslands. Some poison oak and brush incursion in the woodlands. There's one short but rather precipitous climb, with poison oak all around, coming out of a little creek basin about 3/4 north the Baldwin Ranch Road.

Turkey Springs Camp was very nice. It’s a small camp under bays and oaks next to a small stream. The remnants of an old picnic table have been cannibalized into a few handy benches to sit on. Many iris. Just beyond is an open field that offers excellent star gazing.

Turkey Spring Camp to Dutra Flat. This must get a little more use than the stretch down to the Baldwin Ranch Road. Even through the grassy fields, there was generally enough faint tread to follow without having to ask the GPS. Once again, occasional poison oak and brush incursions in the wooded sections. One spectacular field of lupines.

Jim Ringland

(Added note 3/21: After reviewing my GPS tracks, it appears that at the second San Carpoforo Creek crossing on the 17th, I did not walk 200 feet downstream, but rather climbed to the higher grassy bench right away. So it looks like there are at least two different paths from the river up the 25 or so vertical feet from river level to the grassy bench.)
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San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby jbl on Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:33 pm

Date Hiked: March 14, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

THIS REPORT ONLY COVERS THE SHORT SECTION OF TRAIL BETWEEN THE TURNOFF FROM THE BALDWIN RANCH ROAD TO SAN CARPOFORO CAMP ITSELF--I WANTED ANYONE HEADED DOWN THERE TO KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.

From the signed turnoff from the Baldwin Ranch Road to San Carpoforo Camp it is approximately .5 miles.

In that distance, first you go maybe .15 miles across open grass or a wide grassy path through brush (and a crossing of San Carpoforo Creek); but then there's a ~.15 mile push through some heavy verdant vines/brush/poison oak where the "tread" is somewhat visible but for the most part from thigh level down you are in brush until you come to a second crossing of San Carpoforo Creek); from there you come out into a small narrow and the track continues for about .10 miles before you encounter some more brush that needs pushing through and from there you can follow along a dry creekbed to the camp itself (this is the route that Jack Glendening shows in his maps) or exit into a meadow to your right that parallels the creekbed where the trail is shown until you are about parallel to the camp and then turn left and go over to the camp from there; I STRONGLY ADVISE ANYONE GOING DOWN THERE TO REFER TO JACK GLENDENING'S ONLINE TRAIL MAPS AND TO TAKE WITH THEM A SCREENSHOT OF THE SAN CARPOFORO CAMP AREA TO ASSIST IN ORIENTATION DOWN THERE.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby pantilat on Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:52 pm

Date Hiked: January 3, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Dutra Flats spring is flowing and the meadows are turning green. Some cows were brought into the area and they have done a good job tearing up the trail near Dutra Flats Camp and south. We accessed Dutra Flats via County Line Ridge/Mount Mars taking the Baldwin Ranch Shortcut part way down and then a different use path that crosses Baldwin Ranch Road and goes directly down to Dutra Creek, the site of a Lost Ventana Camp. There is an old shed/cabin structure near where we left the Baldwin Ranch Shortcut located in some Monterey Cypress with some not-so-old trash strewn about. The Baldwin Ranch Shortcut spring is flowing well. The use path down to Dutra Creek is easy to follow but also torn up by the cows. On the opposite side of Dutra Creek (east side) the use path heads uphill through pine and oak forest but then peters when it reaches the grassy hillside. Travel is easy enough up the grassy slopes and the old use path reappears as it curves around the east side of Point 1890 to the Dutra Flats Trail at the southeast end of the flats near a large Ponderosa Pine. The trail is in good condition heading down the Spruce Creek drainage to the Salmon Creek Trail with only a couple minor step-overs. I noticed some Santa Lucia Firs growing high in the upper Spruce Creek drainage, likely one of the southernmost groves of Abies bracteata.

dutra.jpg
Green hilllsides near Dutra Flats


dutra2.jpg
Approaching the saddle between Dutra Creek and Spruce Creek; Silver Peak beyond


dutra3.jpg
Climbing grassy slopes above Dutra Creek


dutra4.jpg
Excellent views down the Dutra Creek drainage


mars.jpg
Heading up Mount Mars in the morning
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby mgdigger on Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:46 pm

Date Hiked: October 18, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Did a two night trip to Turkey springs camp over the weekend. As reported earlier the spring at Durta Flats is dry. There is a good flow of water a half mile past there right on the trail. I camped above Turkey springs camp just as it starts down hill to camp and found some non moving pools of water that were ok to filter. Walked down to Turkey springs camp and found water running in Dutra Creek and a nice flow at the camp site. Over all the trails and camps were in good shape. The toilet paper gardens are getting a little out of hand tho. I cleaned up some behind Dutra Flats camp YUCK.
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water on trail 1/2 mile past Durta Flats camp
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Dutra Flats spring
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby gfelsman on Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:31 pm

Date Hiked: September 27, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Ten of us hiked this trail today. As reported before the weather was perfect, with on a few bugs.

The trail is generally clear to the saddle with plenty encroaching brush along the way. Some work has been done on this trail knocking down a lot of the Poison Oak, and made the Spruce Creek slide area easier to pass. A few trees are across the trail. Easily stepped over. Once at the saddle we found a bunch of trash left from a previous camper. Looks like they also used the fire ring despite restrictions being in place. Dutra Flat Camp was clean. Found only a few cigarette butts. The fire ring had also been used recently.

We packed out all the trash at the Dutra Saddle.

Note: There is no water at Dutra Flat. The pipe was not running and the trough was completely empty.
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