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Marble Peak Trail

Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Ted Merrill on Sat May 15, 2010 3:40 pm

Date Hiked: May 12, 2010
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

The portion of trail west of Tan Oak Camp has become completely overgrown; in spite of having hiked this portion of the trail a number of times previously, i really didn't know where to go... although i suppose if i had just continued to parallel the creek imight have eventually picked up tread again. I chickened out instead.

The trail from Arroyo Seco River to Strawberry Meadow is in (by Ventana standards) great condition (with the occasional problem).
I spiffed up the trail portion from jnc. South Fork Trail to Tan Oak Camp, and put logs and brush across non-trails to try to make the correct trail more obvious; hopefully this will help people find the right route in the future.
Ted Merrill
 

Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby greg meyer on Tue May 11, 2010 5:48 pm

Date Hiked: May 1, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The Youth In Wilderness Program with high school students from Salinas Community School, hiked in and spent 3 hours brushing the lower mile and a half of the Horse Pasture Trail, opening up a few sections and clearing the sides. On Sunday a crew of us removed three trees that had fallen into the trail about a mile above Tassajara camp on the Marble Peak trail, so that path is now clear for at least the first 3.5 miles from the Arroyo Seco Road. Many thanks to the Salinas Community School for their efforts and support of the Youth In Wilderness Program!
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby sugg on Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:43 pm

Date Hiked: April 17, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I used this trail moving from Strawberry Camp to Indians Rd. I loved this trail. It generally heads downhill as you get closer to Arroyo Seco River. There were a lot of streams which had good water flow. Although this wasn't exactly as clear as a typical county park trail, for the Ventana Wilderness this felt like a bike path. There were a few toppled trees across the trail which were not tough to get around. There were some non-burned pine trees just outside Strawberry and it was great to see them after Black Cone Trail - and to feel the pine needles underfoot. That's a good way to look at this trail. It's a fun comfortable trail after a long tough trail (Black Cone). With the currently (relatively) clear trail, slight downhill, and many trees, this trail will make you smile. I don't get poison oak, but I try to notice it for these reports - I don't remember seeing any encroaching on the trail. Wild grass is growing fast on the trail in some parts along with a minor amount of brush encroachment in very short lengths. The trail really gets fun once it drops down into Willow Creek. Lot's of trees still standing, but a lot of deadfall - the deadfall has been cleared. Numerous creek crossings all on a slight downhill gradient. Willow, Tassajara, and Horse Pasture camps were all empty, but looked fine. I'm not sure what happens with this trail moving west past Strawberry heading towards Tan Oak Camp. Here's some ref. photos of what Marble Peak Trail looks like starting at about 5:00pm till a bit past 6:00PM..... the photos are in order moving down the trail.....http://www.flickr.com/photos/38029403@N03/4551845342/in/set-72157623807826817/. Warm, about 75 degrees, not too many bugs, great trail!
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Marble Peak Trail

Postby JeffSmith on Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:18 pm

Date Hiked: April 9, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Our group of five hiked the Marble Peak Trail from the Arroyo Seco campground through to Anderson Peak on the Coast Ridge Trail. Our trek took two days-- April 9-10.

The weather, scenery, and trail through to the Tassajara Camp was gorgeous. There had been rain earlier in the week, so Willow Creek was running reasonably high. This made the many crossings of Willow Creek real work. Often, we had to remove our pack and throw them across the creek before making the crossings. After reaching the top of the Willow Creek Canyon saddle through to the Marble Creek/South Fork trail intersect the trail was in excellent condition.

At the Marble Peak/South Fork trail intersect, the trails were not clear to be seen or followed. It took some map/GPS work to find the trail down to the Tan Oak camp. We made it to the Tan Oak camp just at twilight after hiking the twelve miles from Arroyo Seco in ten hours or so.

Tan Oak camp is just beautiful. The lush, green ridges slope up steeply on both sides, and Tan Oak Creek was full. It was a wonderful place to camp. Ben from Santa Cruz was willing to share the camp with us. We compared notes, and Ben was a friendly and helpful fellow hiker. It was great to make a new friend.

Following the trail climbing out of Tan Oak Camp was somewhat difficult , but about a half mile into the trail the path improves greatly and the trail is in decent shape. From Tan Oak camp to the Marble Peak/Lost Valley trail intersect the trail is overgrown in many places, but the trail is clear to follow and not too much trouble for most of its length.

Descending into Indian Valley, there is about a half mile section where the trail is burned out. We got a bit lost and lost about two hours climbing some ridges and finding where the trail picks up again. Hint: look for a rocky prominence on a sub-ridge as you drop into Indian Valley. The trail picks up on the back side of the rocky prominence. From there, the trail is reasonbale and gets you down to the Marble Peak/Lost VAlley trail intersect pretty easily.

At the Marble Peak/Lost Valley trail intersect, there is a similar problem to the Marble Peak/South Fork trail interstect. At the intersect, we had some trouble picking up the start of the trail up Marble Peak. After a few hundred yards, the trail becomes obvious again. At the Marble Peak/Indian Valley Camp trail intersect, the sign is burned up, so be careful there. We left the charred remains of the sign in the trail intersection. We hope this would be more visible to future hikers. The rest of the trail up Marble Peak is in excellent condition.

We expected to climb down to Highway 1 on the Tin House Trail. We struggled to find it. We were stuck in the clouds on the Coast Ridge Road that day, so we couldn't see at all.

At that point, one of our hikers started to suffer from very sore feet. Providence smiled on us and Mr Sal Lucido of the Ventana Wildlife Society happened by in his pickup and bailed us out. He drove us down the remaiing thirteen miles to the Ventana Inn. We are very grateful for his kindness. We did make a donation to the Ventana Wildlife Society to express our gratitude.

This was a great trip. The scenery was georgeous. Just a fabulous time.
JeffSmith
 

Arroyo Seco Road to Strawberry Valley

Postby Betsy M on Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:16 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Marble Peak Trail is in the best condition I've ever seen it. After hiking it over the past several years, with more deteriorated tread every time you hiked through, it was truly a delight to see the rehabilitation that was done after the fire. There are some obstacles to stock, but for hikers this is an excellent trail. Only downside is that the brush is returning quickly, and will likely force hikers to start walking off of the tread again.
There are incredible flowers now: purple chia plants, creeping sage, indian paintbrush, lupines.
IMG_0991-1.JPG

The one tree that was down across the trail, above the junction with the South Fork Trail, has been cleared.
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IMG_0997-1.JPG
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Noble on Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:07 pm

Date Hiked: March 30, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Coast Ridge Road to Indian Valley:
This section of trail is marked by pieces of orange tape, which are helpful but not comprehensive. Much of the lower part of this trial has been hit hard by the 2008 fire. Many burnt trees and shrubs block the way. In the lower sections, there were places where the burn and subsequent erosion have left the trail indistinguishable from the surroundings, causing us to go off track. The trail picked up again within a few feet, however, so finding it again was not too hard.
Indian Valley to Tan Oak:
Coming out of Indian Valley Camp site, the trail is obvious, but it looks a bit like a stream, which made us take another way, which proved a dead end. We realised our mistake quickly and took the trail up the other side of the valley. Climbing up to the ridge, the trail was quite obvious and very overgrown in unexposed sections. There was a lot of brush which made the trail a sort of tunnel, which became quite small, requiring us to crouch or crawl in many sections to get through. Exposed sections of this part of the trail have suffered from significant fire damage, causing loose, eroded soil. Fortunately, it was relatively dry, though it seems possible these sections could easily turn into mudslides. All this was well worth it, because the view from the ridge was marvellous.
On the North side of the ridge, the trail was overgrown, but not as much as the South side. The trail was quite overgrown once it met Tan Oak Creek, but this was not much of a problem, since the trail just follows the left bank of the creek.
Tan Oak to Willow Springs Camp site:
Coming out of Strawberry Valley over to the Willow Creek watershed, the trail is easy to follow but consistently narrowed by calf-height herbaceous plants. This was easy to walk through, though the rain from the night before was still on the encroaching plants, wetting our clothes up to the knee. The trail was not quite level, causing the uphill foot to be a bit higher than the downhill. (Hiking toward Willow Creek, the footing is perfect if your right leg is longer than your left.)
Willow Springs to Tony Trail:
Crossing the creek a few times, the trail is pretty easy to follow from the camp site to a sign for the Tony Trail. There were some Eucalyptus trees trees along this section, which is a bit of a bummer, especially in the heart of the wilderness. I did not see any Pampas Grass, however, which is heartening.
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Arroyo Seco Road to Tasajara Creek Camp

Postby Alamofox on Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:09 am

Date Hiked: April 9, 2010
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Tasajara Creek itself had some nice flow, and made for a nice break point after leaving the car at the end of the paved road. Tasajara Creek camp is just beyond this point. You'll see it's clearing below you and to the right of the main trail. A spur trail with no sign is just a few yards up from when you first spot the campsite.

A series of creek crossings will begin shortly if you decide to continue further.
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Tasajara Creek Camp to Willow Springs Camp

Postby Alamofox on Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:02 am

Date Hiked: April 9, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Shortly after Tasajara Creek, you get to the first of 14 creek crossings before the junction with Tony Trail, and then three more after that. You can tell that this has been a banner year for rainfall/water. My last time here was April 2002 (a drought year mind you), and all the crossings could be made then by rock hopping. But this time, it didn’t take long before I had no choice but to step on through in water over the boot tops. Trek poles came in very handy for helping to vault some crossings, and also to help steady against the flow and walk through quickly. A few minor obstacles along the way, but nothing that hindered progress.
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Willow Springs Camp to South Fork Trail Jct.

Postby Alamofox on Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:00 am

Date Hiked: April 9, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Actually it's a mixed bag. The trail is Wilderness Highway up to the saddle above Willow Springs Camp. This continues beyond here,
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Typical open trail conditions found in the higher elevation chaparral of Ventana

except for the portions where the trail cuts along the canyons of Camp Creek and Shovel Handle Creek, and weeds begin to encroach. Mostly grasses that don’t rise higher than the knee. The trail was discernable, and some recent foot traffic through the weeds helped. Good water flow at both Camp Creek and Shovel Handle Creek. There quite a few other springs along the way so carrying water is not necessary at this time of year. The only major obstacle is a large downfall about 100 yards short of the junction with South Fork trail, where it is necessary to scramble about ten feet up and down a very steep hillside.
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Big deadfall just short of the South Fork Trail Jct. A very steep scramble to the right gets you around.
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South Fork Tr. Jct. to Tan Oak Camp

Postby Alamofox on Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:50 pm

Date Hiked: April 10, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The sign at the junction indicates travel towards Strawberry and Rainbow Camps, but does not indicate any continuance of Marble Peak Trail.
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Trail info for South Fork Trail. But what of Marble Peak?

Shortly after you cross Strawberry Creek at the junction, you find a campsite that is not marked on the maps that has a fire ring and a grill. There is little if any shade, so this site would not be the best in sunny, warm conditions.
RED_0001.JPG
A site not shown on the maps near the South Fork Trail Jct.

The trail follows Strawberry Creek on down about ½ mile to Tan Oak Camp. While generally passable, the trail was hard to discern at times and is becoming overgrown. There is a very large deadfall just before Tan Oak Camp.
Tan Oak appears to be little used. There is an old fire ring that hasn’t been used and almost blends into the grass. No grill here.
RED_0002.JPG
Tan Oak Camp looking North up Strawbery Valley
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