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Stone Ridge Trail

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby mikesplain on Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:04 pm

Date Hiked: June 13, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Ojito Saddle to Goat Camp-
wilderness freeway-clear except for a nasty steep stretch of deerweed that could use some reengineering.
As detailed in the Cone Peak Network updates, dedicated volunteer Mike Heard has spent years to get to this point in the "Cone Peak Loop";
the latest extent of the work ends a bit past the stream crossing south of Goat Camp.
From there, Stone Ridge Trail is pretty much impassable as far as the Stone Ridge apex / Twitchell Flat use trail.
(ie in the remainder of the West Fork of Limekiln Creek.)
With a lot of work & a few generous financial contributions, the Stone Ridge Trail should be open for business end-to-end in the Fall of 2013.
Here's a view of the excellent switchbacks Mike & crew have recently recovered above Goat Camp (as seen from the West Fork.)
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby N Block on Wed May 02, 2012 12:21 am

Date Hiked: April 13, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We hiked a loop from trailhead at Nacimlento-Fergusson Road and South Coast Ridge Road around Cone Peak Road, Vicente Flat, Stone Ridge, Gamboa, and Cone Peak trails returning to our starting point. We took the following trails:

1) Cone Peak Road to Vicente Flat Trailhead (Wilderness Freeway)
2) Vicente Flat Trail to camp at Stone Ridge Trail junction (Clear)
3) Stone Ridge Trail to Goat Camp (Impassable)
4) Gamboa Trail to Trail Spring Camp (Freeway)
5) Gamboa Trail from Trail Spring Camp to Cone Peak Summit (Impassable)
6) Cone Peak Trail from Cone Peak Summit to Cone Peak Road (Wilderness Freeway)

We hiked Stone Ridge Trail from a camp at the junction of Vicente Flat Trail and Stone Ridge Trail. From Vicente Flat to the Stone Ridge apex the trail is is clear and pleasant. From there on, we were able to bushwhack (with difficulty) from the Stone Ridge apex to Limekiln Creek and Goat Camp by following our crappy topo map which indicated no elevation descent on the trail -- while we couldn't always see the trail, we just maintained our elevation as we circumnavigated Stone Ridge. Along the way we saw some slight brush clearing, small footpaths (might have been animal paths), an occasional reassuring pink or white tape marker and other (possibly hallucinatory) signs of a trail. The section from the apex to Goat Camp took 2.5 hours. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone without a taste for adventure and invulnerability to poison oak.

Here are some photos from Stone Ridge apex to Goat Camp:





Continuing from Stone Ridge Trail onto Gamboa trail, the trail was obviously just cut back and improved and the switchbacks up from Goat Camp as well as the trail continuing to Trail Spring Camp were so perfect we had no problem following them after dark.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Bryan on Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:38 pm

Date Hiked: April 27, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked from Kirk Creek campground to the Stoneridge apex - everything great and clear as previously reported. Trying to make it to Goat Camp is impossible without former knowledge of the trail. The brush is extremely overgrown, at times the trail was faint than, prevalent again - but mostly obstructed and impassable. Ended up bushwacking (with my trooper of a dog Mason) down the north side of the ridge to what I believe was Lime-kiln creek, camped out for the night and then did lots of tree jumping downriver to eventually locate another overgrown trail that pops you out where the new bridge is being constructed on the the 1 - happy packing!

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Hillary on Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:20 pm

Date Hiked: April 20, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Vicente Flats to the Stone Ridge Firebreak the trail is clear and the tread was pretty obvious. Saw a nice rattler about 2 miles out. The switchbacks in and out of Limekiln Creek are a thing of beauty. We got to the Stone Ridge Firebreak without any problems. About 100 feet past the junction (there were some stacked rocks) was a fallen oak branch, which was very simple to step over. Within about 100 yards the trail disappears. There is probably just a fallen oak and overgrowth hiding the path. From where we lost the trail we could see across the valley to where the trail would lead. We didn't spend much time searching the path out as we weren't equipped for much bushwhacking. We just turned back. Don't know what the trail is like once you turn north up the valley.

There were some backpackers who were trying to get to Goat Camp from Vicente Flats. We never saw them again so we hope they made it.

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby trolleypup on Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:55 am

Date Hiked: March 20, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Segment from Vicente Flat to Stone Ridge Apex ONLY!

The trail is clear of logs and obstacles in this section. Thank you to the Youth in Wilderness program participants and the VWA Saw Crew.

The section from the Apex to Goat Camp remains challenging/difficult, VWA Trailcrew and ACE crews will be working on this segment on an ongoing basis.
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Stone Ridge Trail-ONLY from Vicente Camp to Hare Ridge

Postby trolleypup on Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:57 am

Date Hiked: February 5, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Segment from Vicente Flat Camp to Hare Ridge (first ridge crossing).

The VWA Trailcrew cleared obstacles (deadfall and slides) off the tread so that hikers can safely reach the Hare Ridge overlook/ridge crossing.

Presumably, conditions beyond Hare Ridge towards Goat Camp are no better than in previous reports, and likely worse, with slide activity on steep treeless slopes.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Angeleno on Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:59 pm

Date Hiked: January 3, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Wow. From Vicente Flats to the Twitchell Flats/Lookout Point intersection its Passable with a few big deadfalls in the meadows where you can see a walk-around tread most of the time.

ONCE YOU GET PAST Twitchell Flats and start heading towards Goat Camp, then it's another story. Deadfall after deadfall after deadfall. The trail will fade into what seems like a path left by previous hikers, and then you'll find a "trail" ten yards uphill or downhill from the trail you're on. Get back on that trail and twenty minutes later, its grown over and covered in deadfall.

Additionally, we got thrown off by the presence of what i'd call "dueling" trail markers. We had pink plastic ribbons and then we had orange and silver striped plastic ribbons. Each set seemed to correspond only vaguely to an actual trail, and contradictory ones at that. And with the bushwhacking and climbing around all the deadfalls, it became less and less reassuring to our group each time we found a marker on a different, parallel trail with worse tread.

None of the deadfalls were particularly treacherous. It's the disappearing and reappearing and disappearing trails. And the huge number of rival footpaths that made navigating our way from Twitchell Flats to Goat Camp nigh impossible, at least for our group of 4 physically active twenty-somethings on the third day of our thru hike.

Ultimately, we never even made it to Goat Camp before we lost our light. We ended up camping on a tiny flat spot overlooking the valley and hoofing it back to Twitchell the next day to get WATER at Limekiln. We can't decide if we actually lost the Stone Ridge Trail or just got so turned around and flustered that we lost our sense of distance from the Lookout point (we used compasses and USGS maps, not GPS).

Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby jdoelman on Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:08 pm

Date Hiked: January 2, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Went for a nice hike along the Stone Ridge trail. We followed the trail from the Ojito Saddle to the Stone Ridge/'Twitchel trail'. The trail is in good shape for about 1/2 mile from Ojito Saddle towards Goat Camp. After that there are many significant dead-fall trees across the trail. The trail is flagged in several places and not flagged in others between Goat camp and Stone-ridge. Unfortunately the trail seems to need a lot of maintenance. The tread has slipped away in many areas, and there are many large dead trees to climb around. When following the trail be careful to not descend or ascend steeply as the trail does not do a lot of climbing in either direction (except for the area between Goat camp and the Ojito Saddle/Gamboa-trail).
We took an enjoyable deviation from the trail from Twin-Peak directly to the Ojito Saddle/Goat-StoneRidge-Junction. That off-trail route and ascending the Stone Ridge to Twin Peak were steep but less brushy than traveling the Stone-Ridge trail.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby trolleypup on Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:13 am

Date Hiked: December 5, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Cowshit Creek to 1 mile NE of the Stone Ridge crossing/Apex: I have no reason to believe conditions are substantially better towards Hare Ridge or Goat Camp.

Tread south of the Apex is good, however very large numbers of smashed oak trees make travel challenging in the forested sections. North of the Apex, the very degraded and already tree strewn tread is further challenged by copious wind smashed oaks (mostly). Flagging is fairly copious from the Apex to the location of the Stone Fire. Beyond that point, the trail crosses several deerweed fields where the route is arbitrary as the actual tread is buried several feet under continuous cover of overgrown deerweed...presumably more trees have joined the existing obstacles.
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Re: Stone Ridge Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Nov 27, 2011 8:35 pm

Date Hiked: November 27, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

From Vicente Flat to the divide between Hare Canyon and Middle Fork Limekiln : Clear.

Heading down to Middle Fork Limekiln creek I counted 4 areas of deadfall, and a couple of minor slides over the trail tread. For the most part the trail is in great shape : Passable.

Up from the creek to Cow Shit Creek (which looked dry) and on towards the grassy area which I guess is the divide between Middle and West Fork Limekiln there were two more deadfalls, but the trail was still pretty good : Passable.

Shortly afterwards is where the adventure began :twisted: The start of the indistinct part had some new flags, and I managed to follow the trail until an open area before West Fork Limekiln and then got lost .. must have followed the wrong set of deer trails :D I did bushwhack my way to West Fork Limekiln creek, about where I got to in June 2009. I knew that the trail junction was definitely not downstream, so I just headed upstream a ways (mostly on the right side) and came to correct junction, which had some flagging. Difficult.

From there it was not hard to find my way to Goat Camp. On my way up from there to the Ojito Saddle I met Mike Heard and his trail crew hard at work. My compliments on the awesome job ! These guys were making their way downhill towards Goat Camp, so the pre-trail crew part was Passable, and the post-trail crew part was Wilderness Freeway.
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