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Little Sur Trail

Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby K Vandevere on Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:27 am

Date Hiked: June 11, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Old Coast Rd. to 2nd switchback beyond Geer Homestead (first 3.5 - or so - miles of trail)

The walk to Pico Public Camp used to be one of the most popular in the Ventana and, although we did meet one couple on the trail, the route now looks nearly abandoned. There are numerous downfalls, encroaching vegetation, and deteriorating tread pretty much everywhere. Poison oak is abundant, but not so thick that a truly vigilant and determined person would be unable to avoid it. In spite of the trail's deterioration, we did not find any places where the route was difficult to discern (although we didn't go far enough to reach the section described a year ago as "completely missing"). The trail across the .8 mile slide has not seen any improvement since the VWA's "short-term solution" of 2007, but it is not difficult to cross. The ford was knee deep. This is an exceptionally beautiful canyon and trail and it was a rare pleasure to visit an area that, in spite of trail problems, has not yet been defaced with brightly colored plastic trash.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby rt1 on Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:24 pm

Those big deadfalls have been there for a few years. I'll be out there to do some trailwork soon in preparation for the summer camp season.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Dan Gearhart on Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:20 pm

Date Hiked: June 2, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

A few images from our hike on the Little Sur Trail from Bottchers Gap to the Pico Blanco Public Campsite. Trail report below. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dan_gearha ... 775359547/
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Dan Gearhart on Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:26 pm

Date Hiked: June 2, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Although I rated this as Difficult, some internal determination and a sense of adventure makes the route Passable. Started out from Bottchers Gap for an overnight stay at Pico Blanco Public Campsite. The 3.5 walk down the road to the Boyscout Camp was just that, a walk down the road. However, we were not looking forward to a 3.5 mile climb back up the road the next day. About a third of the way down the sign to the Little Sur Campsite is still in place and the landslide blocking the road as you near the camp has been cleared.

As we entered the camp we forged the river at the vehicle crossing and followed the trail signs past the front of the Dining Hall to the left. A trail sign then pointed us up a dirt road behind the building. A short distance up the road a trail sign points to the right off the road. This trail heads to the right and then back to the left just above three large water tanks. A short distance later, you are at the sign post that shows Jackson Camp to the left and Pico Blanco Camp to the right. This is the start of the trail up to the saddle at Launtz Ridge. The trail from here to the top is evident but with numerous deadfalls that must crossed or maneuvered around. Several re-routes have been made that makes for some up-slope scrambling that can be a little challenging when carrying a full pack. After passing through the “oak flat” area, which is a welcomed relief from the steady climb, the trail heads up to the left and makes the ridge at a nice flat; a good place for a break. At the ridge clearing, a faint use trail heads off to the right towards the Pico Blanco summit ridge, but the proper trail is to the left over a dead log that follows the ridge to the south. Following the trial through thick vegetation for a few hundred yards, you come across the Mount Manuel trail sign laying on the ground since the post has burned away. The Mt. Manuel trail is to the left and the Little Sur Trail continues to the southwest down to the Dubeneck’s Hole area.

The trail from here down to the “Hole” is littered with deadfalls and re-routes that can be challenging but still manageable. At times, it is difficult to tell the difference between the re-routes and the actual trail. The good news is that it’s only about a ¼ mile or less to the gulley below. Just at the entrance to Dubeneck’s Hole, you must either crawl under the large fallen redwood, or take the re-route to the left around the broken base of the tree. Either way puts you directly at the old cabin site which is now a debris field. The trail continues up the other side directly behind the stone remains of the cabin’s fireplace.

From here to Tic Meadow, the trail is easy to follow but can be thin in a few places. Towards the south end of Tic Meadow, a faint path leads to the west and connects to the old abandoned road. Heading up from the old road is a favored route to the summit. The main trail continues south exiting the meadow heading generally downward through encroaching vegetation with plenty of rocks along the path. At the gulley, an unmarked trial directly to the left is the path down to the Pico Blanco Campsite. The Little Sur Trail continues south after crossing the stream in the gulley.

The campsite is about 200 yards to the southeast in the open meadow. The two main sites are in generally good shape and the picnic tables were a pleasant surprise. The waterfall was a wonderful site. During our stay, we found an abandoned tent set up at one of the sites. According to some hikers we met on the way in, the tent has been there for several weeks.

Since we made it there and back with overnight backpacks, the trail is passable if not challenging. We did some trail clearing with our hand saws along the way but the majority of the obstructions require larger equipment. From an earlier post by "Guest" on August 9, 2010, "Guest" sums it pretty good by saying "... the trip is not for the easily discouraged."
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby K Vandevere on Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:13 am

Date Hiked: November 13, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Scout Camp to North Fork/South Fork Divide

Lots of deadfalls, both old and new, but none that are difficult or dangerous to get around. Surprisingly little encroachment from post-fire growth. Tread well-defined, although falling apart in places. Tons of Douglas Iris growing. Should be an amazing display in the spring.
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Re: Little Sur Trail (North Fork)

Postby rt1 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:27 pm

Date Hiked: August 1, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This trail report details conditions between the scout camp and the first circular pool.

Conditions remain more or less unchanged from last year. There are still some downed old growth redwoods on the way to fish camp just past the hairpin trun at the creek. Fish Camp is in great condition.

Beyond the crossing at Fish Camp, the trail still has some medium sized down oaks (twice the size of your wrist) and some poison oak. The large tree across the river that you could walk on the Jackson camp washed away last winter.

From Jackson to Fox and beyond, the trail has some medium sized deadfalls and a few patches of major poison oak but if you ever don't like the trail take the river. You'll already be wet as there are many river crossings.
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Re: Little Sur Trail (South Fork)

Postby rt1 on Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:22 pm

Date Hiked: August 29, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report covers the hike form the scout camp to Pico Public.

The trail is passable if you follow certain reroutes and don't get disoriented in a few places. It is possible to make it to the saddle without crawling underneath any trees. There is a large redwood down early on above the water tanks with a reroute that can be a little difficult. Higher up, before the first major switchback, a few tan oaks were down but we have cleared them (someone made a reroute that goes straight up; please don't take this or make one like this in the future as it is asking for erosione). Up where the massive old growth is down between 1/2 and 2/3 of the way to the saddle, a reroute has been cut that parallels the log and then climbs over the fractured end of it where it rejoins the main trail. The only poison oak that really would bother you is near the final push to the saddle where it is ankle to knee high (gaiters solve this problem). The "oak flat" area before the final climb to the saddle is has a trail worn through the leaves (often the trail is hard to find here).

At the clearing at the saddle DO NOT take the trial to the right. While it may look nice, it dies out quickly and turns into a scree slope up Mt. Pico. Instead, step over the small log on the left side of the saddle clearing and follow the trail with tall grass around it. After passing the Manuel Peak Trail turnoff, you will come to the entry into Dubeneck's Hole. The main trail is a total loss here but there are 2 options. First, you could take the reroute to the left. Crawl under or climb over a downed tree and follow a reroute cut in the hillside which bypasses the worst of the deadfalls and rejoins the main trail. Alternatively, some work has been done on a new trail that goes off to the right and descends down behind where the cabins used to be in Dubenecks through a terraced area.

In Dubeneck's hole, there is another downed old growth redwood. You will most likely need to crawl underneath it. The trail becomes evident again on the other side. The trail is passable all the way to a big meadow at the base of Mt Pico. A lot of the branches in the trail have been removed. A use trial will shoot off to the right at the west end of the meadow which will take you to the old jeep road. a use trail will begin to head up the mountain and is the preferred route up the mountain. Back in the meadow, continue straight to reach Pico Public.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby Guest on Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:49 pm

Date Hiked: August 8, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Three of us and our dogs got a late start from Botcher's Gap headed to Pico Blanco public camp. We ascended cardiac hill behind the boy scout camp mess hall and that is where our troubles began. The sign at the three way fork at the top of the hill directs you left to Jackson (good) or right to Pico Blanco etc (bad). The right fork disappears after a hundred meters of sketchy tread. What you want to do is take the center path, a road actually, about thirty meters toward the green water towers. The path to Pico Blanco branches off to the right just as you reach the towers. Perhaps the rightmost trail at the sign led somewhere once upon a time, but it no longer does.
From this point to the top off the saddle the trail is clear but numerous small deadfalls and encroaching, or fully encroached, brush make for slow going. There is one large redwood down roughly halfway between the boy scout camp and top of the saddle. The path goes under this tree.
We made our next wrong turn at the summit of the saddle. A small but initially clear use trail runs from the small clearing here to your right, the correct trail however is to your left and is obscured by a deadfall. We left an arrow made of sticks pointing in the right direction, and re-tied some ancient white flagging to more clearly show the path. From this point to the Dubnek cabin site the trail is difficult and treacherous. Many large deadfalls require detours, the tread is poor and there is a fairly good chance you will wind up on your butt at least once. Be careful here. Just before the mostly destroyed cabin site is the next large downed redwood. The path goes under this tree as well.
From the cabin site the trail gradually ascends the slope opposite the one you just descended, and initially is pretty clear if a little narrow in places. As you enter the chaparral the brush encroaches more and more on the trail. You will pass an unmarked trail that branches off 90 degrees to the right of your trail, this was one wrong turn we didn't make. We made the next one however, a trail that heads straight down at a point where the main trail seems to disappear. It doesn't, push through the scrub ahead and it reappears. Follow it to the creek, turn left, and you're there.
The camp is in good shape, and the waterfall is beautiful, but the trip is not for the easily discouraged.
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Little Sur Trail

Postby rt1 on Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:10 am

Date Hiked: June 11, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We did some work on the trail from the scout camp to the saddle. We removed a big tan oak deadfall mess that someone had rerouted around (see note below) and did some brushing on the trail and tried to thin some poison oak. The trail should be hikable to the saddle even with a big pack as there are no huge trees that require crawling or climbing.

As usual, there is a section where a massive redwood fell on the trail awhile ago. Various use trails have been made to go around it, but basically, if you are heading west, go the the left of the downed redwood and you will eventually bump into the main trail again.

There is one point before the first big switchback (when you are still above the road), where a big redwood fell. The reroute is all right.

Beyond the saddle, there is a lot of vegetation, more than I have ever seen up there. This is probably due to the late rain and it will probably thin out in a few weeks. Still, this is a job for machetes, not loppers and saws like we had.

If you are going to go around a deadfall, do not make a massive reroute like the one someone made around the tan oak mess. This one was 5 feet wide and went straight up which is both dangerous to the hiker and will cause erosion. If you need to do a major reroute, please don;t make a trail unless you are going to do it correctly. This trail already suffers from years of use and growth and a slide is the last thing it needs.
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Re: Little Sur Trail

Postby paul_danielson on Fri May 07, 2010 1:24 pm

Date Hiked: May 5-6, 2010
General Condition: Passable, Difficult, and Impassable in that order

Three of us just concluded an aborted 2-day attempt to hike to the Window from the Boy Scout Camp: by way of the Little Sur River and Jackson Creek.
*** From the Boy Scout Camp to the first Jackson Camp was quite PASSABLE. The trail gets good use from the scouts during the summer and some clearing had been done since the 2008 fire. Several Winter redwood blowdowns blocked the way along this 1.5 mile stretch and made for slower going with backpacks.
***The use trail from Jackson Camp to Fox Camp was DIFFICULT. The tread was fairly clear most of the way but was blocked at countless points by fallen tan oaks or redwoods. Water flow was higher than usual for May and made for carefully selected/deliberate wading (with poles) across the 15 crossings. Both Jackson Camp #2 and Fox Camp were in good shape.
***The upslope short-cut to Jackson Creek just before Fox Camp was flagged going up, but then the tread completely disappeared going over the other side down to the creek. This made for guesswork, creating tread through postfire vegetation along steep but soft slope. Once in the Jackson Creek drainage it was IMPASSABLE after about 10-15 minutes, with otherwordly downfall. An earlier report form a Scout staffer(which we should have heeded) said: "It looks like a hurricane went through!" It literally does! Gigantic blowndown redwood trunks littered the landscape. That's when we turned back and spent the night at Fox Camp. It did appear that one person had attempted to get through that logjam, from a few clips and cuts we saw. However it would have probably taken that person a couple of days to get to the Windowfrom there,if they could have succeeded at all.
***So, long story short: it took 5 hours to make the 2-hour trip to Fox Camp (4+ coming back the next day, because we could retrace our route) and another hour for the 20-minute climb to our turn-around point. Perhaps a mid-Fall attempt is better advised: when water levels are low, flies are on their way out, and maybe, just maybe, someone will have cut a route through along Jackson Creek.
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