Cruikshank Trail

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gfelsman
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Re: Cruikshank Trail Silver Creek Slide

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: January 26, 2019
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Here are some pictures of the Silver Creek Slide Area. As you can see the tread is very narrow with lots of loose gravel. Similar conditions exist after the slide as well until the rocky outcropping. Hopes this helps those that might adventure across this slide.
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Slide 1.jpg
Slide 2.jpg
slide 3.jpg
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gfelsman
Posts: 300
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: May 26, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Darlene and I hiked this trail today from Hwy 1 to Upper Cruickshank Camp. It was a beautiful day. We saw our first Star Lilies. The trail is clear all the way to Upper Cruickshank Camp to the Buckeye/Lion Den Junction. Water is flowing everywhere. The creek crossing just before Lower Cruickshank Camp is now covered in water. about 6 inches deep.

A great day to be on the trail.
pantilat
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Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Post by pantilat »

Date Hiked: December 8, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This covers the section of trail from Hwy 1 to the Silver Peak Usetrail (saddle between Villa and Salmon Creek watersheds). The trail is mostly clear save for a few new small blowdowns from the storm a couple weeks ago. Water is currently flowing in all streams. From Buckeye Camp to Silver Camp the trail is covered in a lot of small debris as this is the only stretch that has not seen recent trail work and it seems very little use.

The slide area just after Silver Camp (~mile 3.3 from Hwy 1) looked essentially as it did prior to the Mud Creek slide closure and heavy storms of 2016-2017, which is to say I thought it was "passable." Perhaps some tread work has recently been completed after the "Impassable" reports below? The tread through this section has always been thin and there has always been accumulation of small rocks over the tread as the slope above and below is virtually all steep scree. The road closure simply allowed more to accumulate. This is not to say that it was a wilderness freeway before - care and attention was always needed through this section - but I didn't see a deterioration in conditions. Unfortunately the nature of the loose and steep slope will continue to make this a problem area, but I was glad to see that it was basically the same as before and no major new slide had occurred. While this may be beyond some folks comfort level I found the slide area to be passable.

After the slide area there is continuous evidence of the trail crews widening the trail corridor through the brush. This section is wonderfully clear save for a couple new blow downs from recent storms. There are several sections where the alignment of the trail will be straightened but isn't quite finished yet. Unfortunately the drought, which was most severe along the south coast, resulted in high mortality of the Santa Lucia Fir grove in upper Villa Creek. There are lots of young healthy firs along the trail so hopefully they are given a chance to flourish, but it seems the southern groves of the Santa Lucia Fir are under threat in a changing climate regime :(

Near the saddle that separates the Villa and Salmon Creek watersheds the rare Sargent's Cypress grove has filled in substantially over the past few years. Turning off on the Silver Peak usetrail there are some wonderful older cypress trees. After the cypress grove is an expansive forest of maturing Coulter Pine along the north ridge of Silver Peak. The Silver Peak usetrail is in good shape with some sections of light brush to Silver Peak. After Silver Peak moving south the usetrail becomes brushy in spots as the brush reclamation of the old fire road is almost complete. At Silver Peak usecamp there was water. The "Secret Trail" section of the Soda Wildtrail probably needs a trim soon, but still passable.

I counted 7 different conifers along the Cruikshank Trail: Gray Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Coulter Pine, Redwood, Douglas Fir, Santa Lucia Fir, Sargent's Cypress. I didn't see knobcone pine along this stretch of trail although I know of some nearby.
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gfelsman
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Re: Cruikshank Trail t Villa Creek Camp

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: November 10, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Today VWA/USFS Volunteer Rangers patrolled from Highway 1 to Villa Creek Camp. For the most part the trail is clear all the way to the camp. We cleared a few overhanging snags and removed one large tree branch that fell at Upper Cruickshank Camp.

Water is flowing at all the camps.

Remember to be fire safe as Fires and Stoves are currently not allowed to be used in the backcountry.

Happy Trails
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gfelsman
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Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Cruikshank Trail to Silver Camp Slide, Impassable Beyond

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: September 17, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

VWA Rangers Patrolled the Trail from Highway 1 to the Silver Camp Slide/Creek. We can say the trail is basically clear for hikers all the way to the Creek past Silver Camp. Once past the Creek, the trail is very difficult or impassable for the next 1/4 mile to the rocky outcropping.

If you choose to traverse this section of trail, be very careful. Hiking poles can be helpful with the terrible conditions in this area. We erred on the side of caution and did not cross the Silver Camp Slide Area on this trip.

Be safe, no fires, no stoves for the remainder of the fire season.

More details are in Trevor's report below.
Trevor W
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Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:10 am
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Landslide on the Cruikshank Trail.

Post by Trevor W »

Date Hiked: August 8, 2018
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)
Silver Camp Slide area in dark red shows impassable section of trail. Click image to enlarge.
Silver Camp Slide area in dark red shows impassable section of trail. Click image to enlarge.
On August 7th I hiked up the Cruickshank Trail from Highway 1 to conduct a detailed pre-work survey in preparation for a series of contracted professional trail crew hitches intended to restore the Upper Cruickshank Trail this fall and next winter/spring.
Because of a dated trail survey that’s about 2.5 years old and a few trail reports from various hikers I have been aware of a landslide on the Cruickshank Trail about .25 mile east of Silver Camp. But I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had a chance to see it with my own two boots.

There is a series of slope failures in this section that I’ve been calling the Silver Camp Slide. In some areas the trail has been buried in landslide debris and it’s a mild scramble to get past.
Other areas have slipped out to the point that the trail is indistinguishable from the naturally steep slope of the hillside and fine sediments have piled up to the angle of repose. Hiking over it feels like walking on a slope covered with ball bearings—and it’s a long way down to the creek bed, where one can find the nearest boulder that could break a fall…and a femur.

I ended up leaving by backpack at a safe spot where the trail still existed and very carefully traversed the slide area while recording data with my GPS unit.
slide with backpack.JPG
The length of the Silver Camp Slide area is just under 400 yards, and most of it is cliffed out on the uphill side and so steep on the downhill side that a slip/fall could result in tumbling all the way to the creek bed. For obvious reasons I decided not to measure that distance, but I estimate it to be between 70-100 feet down. There is no way to go around the slide on the uphill or downhill side. I highly recommend avoiding this area until we have a chance to realign and widen the trail. If you feel you must cross the slide, do so with extreme care and caution.
Silver Camp Slide.JPG
Yucca and slide.JPG
Please note that the rest of the Cruikshank Trail is passable. The section east of the junction with the Buckeye Trail needs a lot of work though. The good news is that this fall I will be working out there with a contracted trail crew from the American Conservation Experience, and we will do as much as we can without risking our own safety and wellbeing to restore the Cruickshank Trail between the junction with the Buckeye Trail and the South Coast Ridge Road.
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gfelsman
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Re: Cruikshank Trail Hazard Tree Gone

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: August 12, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Just a quick update:
VWA Volunteer Rangers cleared the Hazard Tree at Upper Criuckshank Camp.
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gfelsman
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Re: Cruikshank Trail to Villa Creek Camp

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: August 2, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We had a chance to patrol this section of trail and I am happy to report it is clear for the most part. The first mile is a Wilderness Freeway and the remaining sections could be considered clear with encroaching brush.


Water is flowing at Lower, Upper Cruickshank Camp and Villa Creek Camp in the usual places. If it is warm the bugs will come out.

The Hazard Tree at Upper Cruickshank is on the verge of coming down. It has dropped about a foot since our last visit.

One of our biggest issues on this trail is the White Flower Garden known as TP that seems to crop up at the camps as they are quite small. We ask that people pack their TP out, or at least bury it properly. Carrying a gallon Ziploc Bag make the job much easier. Stashing your TP in the fire pit is not an option this time of year as no campfires are allowed in the backcountry.

There is nothing worse than coming into camp finding it litered with TP as some recent backpackers mentioned on this day. We all need to do our part keeping thr backcountry in good condition. Happy Trekking where ever your travels take you.
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gfelsman
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Re: Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: May 19, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Volunteer Rangers working with the VWA have cleared the first 0.9 miles of trail in preparation for a late summer opening. The trail beyond is easy to follow with brushy and non-brushy spots for the next half mile. Once you get to the redwood trees it is a nice pleasant walk to Upper Cruickshank Camp.

The trail down to Villa Creek Camp has also been worked on removing trail duff and leaves all the way to camp. Unfortunately when we got to Villa Creek Camp we found a good example of how not to leave a campsite. The fire pit was filled with TP, trash, foil and glass. The camp is now clean thanks to the VWA Rangers.
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Trash and TP left in Fire Ring. Please pack it out.
Trash and TP left in Fire Ring. Please pack it out.
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gfelsman
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Re: Cruikshank Trail to Upper Cruikshank Camp

Post by gfelsman »

Date Hiked: May 11, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I had a chance to hike this trail to the Buckeye Junction and down to Villa Creek.

The trail is in good condition except for encroaching brush on the first mile of trail. Right at the beginning and after you reach the top of the switchbacks. The work done by the VWA has really helped this trail. Lack of use has allowed the brush to be more prevalent.

There are two hazard trees along the trail. One about 0.1 mile before Upper Cruickshank Camp, the root ball has broken off and the tree has fallen into the next tree being held up by branches once it falls it will be in the trail. The other is right at Upper Cruickshank Camp Trail Junction. The tree has fallen away from camp and is snagged in the near by redwoods. It too will fall along or in the trail once it decides to.

Still plenty of flowers out.
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