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Stone Ridge Trail

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby C M Heard on Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:08 pm

Jim Ringland wrote:Only very minor problems: the occasional intruding soft growth to brush against and a downed bay tree about a mile and a half south of Goat Camp. The latter requires a trivial four step detour below the trail, with a handy branch to grab for support.

Here's photo of the downed bay tree, now limbed:

IMG_0059.JPG

It will be gone as soon as I can marshall the resources and schedule the work. In the meantime, please stay on the trail and duck under the tree if you can; stepping below the trail damages the edge, and that's very hard to fix.

I'll be working on the encroaching brush this summer.

//cmh
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:48 pm

Date Hiked: April 16, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Let me add to the chorus of thank you's for the excellent and extensive trail work that has recovered this route. It's in fine shape. Only very minor problems: the occasional intruding soft growth to brush against and a downed bay tree about a mile and a half south of Goat Camp. The latter requires a trivial four step detour below the trail, with a handy branch to grab for support.

The Vicente Flat end of the trail is signed, although one may need to cast about a bit to find it. There are a variety of use trails to the various campsites. There's no sign at the Ojito Saddle where this trail meets the Gamboa Trail, but there isn't much opportunity for confusion. The Ojito Trail turns brushy pretty quickly; the Stone Ridge Trail is clear and heads down to south; and the Gamboa Trail is a clearly defined once past a few tens of feet of grass. If there is any doubt about how to find the Gamboa Trail, aim for the big burned out stump surrounded by grass (and some chaparral nearby). The Gamboa Trail is easily picked up from there.

Water: Limekiln Creek has lots. Cowshit Creek has water at the top but is dry farther down. It will probably all be dry soon. The creek just south of Goat Camp has water. That's it.

Camps: Dr. Jack's map (http://www.ventanahiking.net/ventana_trailmap.html) shows a usecamp at Limekiln Creek. If that little sort-of-flat by the trail is the camp -- as opposed to something tucked away that I missed -- it's not much of anything. It's tiny and seems a poor bedsite. Goat Camp, on the other hand, looks like a wonderful place. It's on a partly open, partly shady flat with great views. Not large. A yucca is poking up a new stalk right next to camp. Campers in May will likely enjoy a tower of white bells.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby StevieRay on Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:42 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Kudos to Mike Heard and the VWA Trail Crew for restoring the stunning "Cone Peak Loop" to such a clear condition. I almost cried with delight as I traversed superb treadwork, massive log sawing, and epic brush clearing, enabling a spectacular and worry free adventure in such spectacular scenery and diverse plant communities. I'm ready to go back and hike it again. Bravo!!!

One minor note: The two little campsites noted on the Schaffer maps alongside the main fork of Limekiln Creek are buried under logs, branches and other debris near as I could tell anyway. I didn't really see a whole lot that was campable in this vicinity.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:22 pm

Date Hiked: April 14, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Fantastic ! Hiked this trail from Vicente Flat to the Ojito junction with Gamboa, and it was in great shape. Thanks to all who have worked on this project.

The wildflowers seemed to be at their peak, a great time to hike this trail.

There was water in Cow Shit Creek, upstream of the trail; it seemed to run underground at about the point where the trail turns left and uphill.

I did encounter one large downed tree, but it was easy to get around. Approximately 20-30 minutes before (south of) West Fork Limekiln / Goat Camp.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:31 pm

Date Hiked: February 11, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Ojito Saddle to Goat Camp

Trail is clear and in great condition. This whole area has been receiving a lot of attention. Goat is a nice camp with two water sources on either side of the protruding finger it sits upon.

Section: Goat Camp to Stone Ridge apex

This part is also in nice condition and a stunning view looking out to the great big blue.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby sugg on Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:54 pm

Date Hiked: January 5, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Moved along this trail from Vicente Flat Camp north to Gamboa Trail.

From Vicente Flat Camp to Limekiln Creek: Pretty much clear. There was some small brushy trees which had fallen onto the trail when I was getting close to the ridge, climbing out of Vicente Flats. The trail is easy to follow, but the deadfall happens on a slightly narrow section. Lots of oak trees, some open grass areas, and tall redwoods as I moved down into Limekiln Creek.

Limekiln Creek north to 4E13 trail intersection (about a mile or so before Goat Camphttp://www.flickr.com/photos/38029403@N03/8355851545/in/set-72157632460209298): Still very clear. When climbing out of Limekiln creek, pay attention, I think it's the first switchback - there's washout just beyond the trail - if you're carrying a heavy pack and don't turn to make the switchback, you're going to tumble a few hundred feet. Drop is just beyond the water bottles in the picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38029403@N03/8355841761/in/set-72157632460209298 More shady oaks and a steady, but mild uphill grade. The trail is in very good shape - I can't remember any gnarly obstacles.

4E13 intersection to Gamboa Trail: moving north along the intersection, the trail turns into a super game-pathhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/38029403@N03/8355852967/in/set-72157632460209298 - still very visible and easy to follow. A bit off chamber for prolonged sections right after the intersection for about 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile. During this 1/4 to 1/2 mile section, the trail gets a bit skinny as it moves through some cut bushes - but a traveler can keep as quick of a pace as one wants. Past this mildly gnarly section, the epic trail work (perhaps the most recent) begins. http://www.flickr.com/photos/38029403@N03/8355861037/in/set-72157632460209298 From this most recent trail work to Gamboa, the trail is excellent. At the base of the switchbacks (the ones past Goat), the small bush gets a little brushy, bit it's only about a foot or two high. The switchbacks are in great shape http://www.flickr.com/photos/38029403@N03/8355861583/in/set-72157632460209298. The tunnels through the brush at the top of the switchbacks are clear and in good shape .
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby narced133 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:45 pm

Date Hiked: November 3, 2012

Segment: Ojito Saddle to Goat Camp
General Conditions: Clear

The switchbacks down from Ojito saddle to Goat Camp were in great shape with just a bit of light brush encroachment towards the bottom. Plenty of water available at Goat Camp.

Segment: Goat Camp to Stone Ridge Apex
General Conditions: Difficult

I'm hesitant to rate this segment as difficult since a lot of work has clearly gone into leveling out some of the slid sections. There is still quite a bit of encroachment in places, some deadfalls and a couple spots where the trail has slid out. Still passable, just a bit difficult.

Segment: Stone Ridge Apex to Vicente Camp
General Conditions: Clear

This segment was completely clear and there's plenty of water flowing down at Limekiln Creek.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby C M Heard on Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:04 pm

Date Hiked: September 3, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The day after JBL hiked out to the Twitchel Road via the Stone Ridge "apex", Betsy MacGowan, Robert Parks, and I wrapped up our logging efforts between Goat Camp and the apex. I then hiked from the apex to Vicente Flat Camp. It was a pleasant and easy hike, and I would have rated that part of the trail "clear" except that there were four easily negotiated deadfalls in the Middle Fork drainage. Three of those had come down since July 24th. Sometimes it seems like they fall faster than we can cut them, but we'll get to them as soon as we can.

Mike Heard

P.S. I consider JBL's passable rating of the West Fork segment to be overly generous, but opinions do vary. Caveat emptor.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby jbl on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:26 am

Date Hiked: September 2, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I'm sure that Mike Heard will post a detailed update soon, but until then I thought I'd give everyone a status report regarding the current situation of the trail from the Stone Ridge "apex" to the Ojito Saddle.

I had the pleasure of joining Mike, Robert Parks, Betsy MacGowan and my son Philippe over Labor Day Weekend in doing some tree removal between Goat Camp and the apex. Although there are still some trees on the trail and some brush encroachment in the 1/2 mile area as you get into the wooded section of the West Fork canyon (about 1/2 mile past the apex), it is all negotiable and the trail can be followed without getting lost. The area mentioned by JPDoelman in his prior post (roughly midway between Goat Camp and the apex) has been flagged to assist people in getting through, pending completion of the trail clearing to be done in that spot. Once you get past that section, the trail is clear to wilderness freeway all the way to the Ojito Saddle (and water availability is excellent in the creek that flows under the two downed redwood trees just before you get to Goat Camp), albeit with some very narrow trail sections on the steep hillside switchbacks and contours in the 1,000' climb up from Goat Camp to the Ojito Saddle.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby jpdoelman on Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:23 am

Date Hiked: August 4, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We ran into Mike Heard and his merry band of trail-clearers. They seem to be well on the way to gentrifying the stone ridge trail. When I last saw them they had a VWA trail routing expert leading the way around a particularly obscured section of the trail. We happened to be lost at the time we saw them (though we hadn't realized it yet). It seems likely that the worst portions of that trail will be easily navigable in a short time. The stone ridge trail traverses environments with pine, redwood, grassland, and oak woodlands. Some nice vistas of surrounding terrain.

I would like to thank Mike Heard and the VWA for their tireless work on opening this fine trail.
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