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Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Jim Ringland on Sun May 15, 2016 6:17 pm

Date Hiked: May 12, 2016
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Up top, the Coulter pine is still there. The marble/limestone rock is gone. The LBH2 marker is gone. It’s still pretty clear about where to start. But then …

Having hiked this trail before, I knew what to look for and, with a lot of pushing, made it through that first very brushy 75 feet. (See my 2013 trail report below.) Some of it was an act of faith since the brush had really closed in. Branches of the shrubs were interlacing at chest level. There was some open ground at foot level on the old trail but it didn't always look much different from places off-trail. (And, for that matter, I couldn't always even see down to my feet.) Then, once on the little ridge, I found conditions only just a little more grown up than they were three years ago. I had no trouble working my way down to Upper Bee Camp. So for me, with my experience on this trail, “Impassible (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)” isn’t right. But for someone who has never been on this trail and didn’t know the moves, including that hard right turn 30 feet in, “Impassible” might be the only reasonable description. Hence my rating above.

Somebody has cleaned up the camp since I was there last. You can get to Big Creek without dealing with poison oak. It was flowing nicely. The old icemaker stove is gone. Unfortunately, the flies are still there. I got water but camped on a flat almost at the top.

Back up top, I thought I saw tracks in various spots where folks had tried to bushwhack down into the draw that drops directly out from the Coulter pine area. Once down, it’s more open and it’s not hard to work one's way up to the ridge at the left. But I didn’t see any route into the draw that avoided nasty chaparral on the way.

By the way, that draw was full of blooming Our Lords Candles. As the sun dropped and they were back lit, it was an amazing, glowing sight. Candles indeed.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby mikesplain on Fri May 24, 2013 11:11 am

Date Hiked: May 20, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

It's not difficult to get to Upper Bee Camp if you pay attention.
Jim's directions (below) are excellent and the lone Coulter pine along the Coast Ridge Trail is a dead giveaway.
The white limestone rock was easy to spot as well, but when you reach it, turn to face the coast,
then look left for a narrow passageway through the chamise.
Follow this for a short distance and you'll reach to a wide dozer cut atop a minor ridge.
Descend this ridge to the canyon bottom, and follow a narrow trail down to the camp.
Upper Bee Camp is a rather dismal place and the water was little more than a few murky puddles
on the other side of a dense stand of poison oak;
it's good to know about in case of emergency, but certainly not a destination in its own right.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri May 10, 2013 9:32 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

After the reading the earlier posts about this trail, I was expecting difficulties. I had none, although I was usefully guided by Dr. Jack's accurate GPS tracks (http://bigsurtrailmap.net/). Still, even without that assistance I don't think this would be all that hard. I wonder if someone has done a little judicious pruning since the previous reports.

The first step is to find the junction between the Coast Ridge Trail and the Bee Camp Trail. It's not marked. About 1/2 mile south from its terminus at the North Coast Ridge Road (NCRR), the Coast Ridge Trail starts to contour around a hill while a firebreak goes right over the top. The yellow diamond LBH2 marker (not LB2U) mentioned by ldrucker in his 2011 report is near where the firebreak and trail rejoin at the south end of the hill. The Bee Camp Trail junction is about half way between the two trail/firebreak junctions. The Coast Ridge Trail makes a gentle jog there. There is a solitary pine on the north side of the trail (left when coming from the NCRR). Opposite the pine, on the south (right) side, the rock cairn shown in ldrucker's picture is gone, but the lowest rock, a marble boulder about a foot on a side, remains.

If you look straight out south from the trail at this point, you can see Big Creek making its way to the sea to the left in the distance. In the foreground there is a small low ridge with two shallow channels flanking it. Farther left from the left-hand channel is another small rise. The Bee Camp Trail goes down that rise. It looks open on top. That is the road-like trail ldrucker mentions.

It's all trail between the Coast Ridge Trail Junction and that ridge. No cross-country bushwhacking through the chaparral is needed. So the next step is to find the portal into the chaparral that marks the beginning of the trail. At the far left (again as one looks out south across the Big Creek valley), there are a couple of taller shrubs/small trees just off the Coast Ridge Trail which you can see at the far left in ldrucker's picture. Ten to twenty feet to the right of these is the opening in the chemise that marks the portal to the Bee Camp Trail. Today, of course, everything is bigger and fuller than in the 2011 picture. The chemise is now over head height. There is sort of a path from the marble rock over to the opening (a distance of maybe 20 feet) through what's mostly small yerba santa. I did my best to scuff it up a bit more. Past that portal there is an obvious path. It's fairly wide at foot level, less so higher up as branches reach in. There was always at least some open gap although my shoulders were scraping branches as I went through. About 30 feet in, the path makes a hard right turn. The trail then progressively opens up and after maybe another 75 feet it reaches the wide-open top of the little ridge. From there's it's clear sailing down to camp.

Upper Bee Camp had a gentle flow of water. I could hear a more energetic flow in the distance although stream-side poison oak deterred casual exploration. An old broken-down rusty stove is still there. Bedsites look only fair. Even though it was only May, the flies were out. Dr. Jack's map identifies the location for Upper Bee Camp as an estimate. However, his location agrees almost exactly with where my GPS placed it.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby wavejumper on Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:08 am

Date Hiked: June 14, 2012
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

I was disappointed, having read this forum, that when it came time to find Bee Camp, I couldn't - and I needed the water, too :roll: I did find the small rock cairn but the "low bushes" they mention seem to have grown. I found myself pushing through very tall and thickly-grown coyotobrush and ceonathus and who knows what all - it was getting dark, given, but I wasn't able to find my way through and finally gave up in frustration and just continued north on the Coast Ridge; was luckily able to get some water from some neighbors.
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Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby ldrucker on Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:23 am

Date Hiked: July 1, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The campsite is in good condition with good water source, BUT....
It is extremely difficult to find the trail to the campsite. We restacked the rock marker on the Old Coast Trail. After the road ends the Old Coast Trail begins (Jeep Trail with overgrown brush) go around the hill then the entrance to the Upper Bee trail is on the right. Note where my friend is standing is the entrance to the trail.
2011-07-02_10-22-04_653.jpg
Entrance to Upper Bee Trail from Old Coast Trail
If you see a yellow diamond marker with LB2U you have gone too far. Push through the brush at the stone marker. In less than 50 ft it will open up into a jeep path. Down to a gully, then 125 feet turn right into another gully. Go under fallen Oak then to left. Campsite is flat. H2O is plentiful. We heard ring-tailed Cats in the night. Never saw them but they were LOUD! Flies during the day and bees in the morning inspired us to break camp and get back on the trail.
We made the mistake of just going down the first gully we found rather than the trail. We found water flowing after hard bushwacking but no good campsites. Following the trail is a MUST!
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Upper Bee Camp Trail Conditions Report

Postby Site Administrator on Thu May 07, 2009 4:07 pm

Date Hiked: December 22, 2006
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 22-DECEMBER-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Coast Ridge to Upper Bee Camp - Clear

Bee Camp Trail begins at a rock cairn, winds through low brush (the only tricky section) then joins an old firebreak which descends to the seasonal stream. No major obstacles.
===========
Conditions reported by: J Doelman
Survey date: 1-OCTOBER-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

The turn off to Lower Bee Camp is reasonably well marked at the top of a dry creek-bed. The marker is a metal band labeled 'lower bee' wrapped around a football size rock. The going gets tougher from there. We looked for the 'burnt chaparral' and the flags but didn't find either. We followed a trail which turned into a sort of tunnel trail as it tunneled steeply down toward the Lower Bee Camp. The trail seemed to dead-end in a small clearing with ferns and grass about 100 ft north and above the gurgling Lower Bee Camp creek. This was about 1/4 mile from the North Fork of Big Creek. A short bushwhack gets you to the North Fork of Big Creek in the vicinity of the Lower Bee Camp. I never saw it.
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Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Site Administrator on Thu May 07, 2009 4:05 pm

* USFS trail #-
* Parking:
* Watersheds: Big Creek
* Junctions: Coast Ridge Trail
* Connect: The Coast Ridge Trail with the Bee Camps
* Camps: Upper Bee Camp, Lower Bee Camp
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