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Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Matt G on Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:11 pm

Date Hiked: May 15, 2019
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

The trail from North Coast Ridge to Upper Bee was totally overgrown. Theres a tiny arrow on the ground pointing into a deer trail through dense chaparral. in search of water, i crawled on hands and knees through 75 feet or so of tough chaparral to come out in a rocky arroyo. i followed it down and navigated dense brush and poison oak to refill at a fresh spring, but zero sign of a trail or upper/lower bee camp. navigable only for the thirsty.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Eric on Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:24 pm

Date Hiked: December 29, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Relied on Jack Glendening's on-point GPS track and a lone orange flag on a shrub to find the trailhead. Took the leap of faith plunge into the dense chaparral brush to find additional orange flags. Brush opened up eventually, passing by the previously mentioned orange gardening glove. Further descended to Upper Bee Camp, right near the old stove and North Fork Big Creek which was flowing fine.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby russell-tom on Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:40 am

Date Hiked: November 20, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I returned to Upper Bee Trail in order to get a gps fix on the water pools I found as described in the previous report. I set up camp on the NCRR below the Coulter pine and late in the afternoon went down the hill to get water for the night but could not locate the trail to the spring, so spent a dry night in the tent.
The next morning I tried again, nipping off branches as I went, and this time identified the possible camping place on top of the ridgelet and the trail to the water, which I marked with an orange gardening glove. The gps coordinates for the turnoff/camp site are 36.13585, -121.58473 at an elevation of 3241 ft.
The water pools were at 36.13569, -121.58518 at an elevation of 3182 ft. They were 0.2 mile from the ridge road, 150 feet WSW of the water trail intersection/campsite. The pools are below a giant double bay tree WSW of the trail intersection. I've attached a .gpx track from the water source to the trail intersection and back up the hill to the North Coast Ridge Road.
Attachments
Upper Bee Spring to Coulter pine(1).gpx
(10.44 KiB) Downloaded 697 times
Upper Bee water pool  trail.jpg
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby russell-tom on Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:09 pm

Date Hiked: November 1, 2018
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I made two trips down to Upper Bee Spring from my campsite on the North Coast Ridge trail below the lone pine tree. The trail was accurately located on the Open Hiking map on my Gaia smartphone gps app.
A faint footpath led into the brush from the road, but as described by the previous report, I was soon wading through dense chaparral guided by a few old orange ribbons. After 50 yds I reached an impasse and saw clearing to the right, which led to a yucca filled arroyo. Better to bear left, in which case you'll get out of the brush in about 5 yards, and onto an old bulldozer path which was pretty clear and had a footpath that was easy to follow. I marked my exit from the brush to help on the return.
Down in the ravine the 'dozer trace flattened out into a usable 10' across dirt campsite. A small footpath led from the camp to the right down a leaf covered brush free hillside to the rocky ravine bottom. There I found a 2' x 5' by 14" deep pool of clear water with no flow but also no algae. Roots at the head of the pool allowed me to get down to water level, push back the leaves on the surface and submerge my filtration bag without disturbing the bottom. The water smelled slightly sulfurous, but tasted fine. How great to have water in this dry wilderness!
Attachments
Bee Spring.jpg
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby lylegorodon on Tue May 29, 2018 10:08 am

Date Hiked: May 26, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The top portion is heavily overgrown, however, it appears to have been recently marked with orange tape so even though the tread was basically invisible the route was easy to follow, especially for the taller members of our party. Trail was basically the same as pantilat described on May 21, easy to follow once you get past the initial brush. The original camp marked on the USFS map appears to be destroyed by erosion, land slide or a big tree falling and is unusable. There is a small grassy area near the creek for a couple tents (no fire ring) as marked on the Big Sur Trailmap. We collected some water and hiked back up to the ridge to camp.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby pantilat on Mon May 21, 2018 1:49 pm

Date Hiked: May 20, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Starting opposite the lone Coulter Pine, the first couple dozen feet still have completely interlocking brush but once onto the minor ridge the old dozer cut is still mostly clear all the way down to Upper Bee Camp. I was able to follow the old cut through the brush but make no mistake it's a short but intense brush swim. The entrance is "Difficult" but since most of the way is "Clear" I'm giving it a "Passable" grade overall. A little bit of brushing on the entrance would go a long way to making the path obvious. The North Fork Big Creek is currently flowing and the campsite itself sits in a decently sized grassy flat area.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Richard Liu on Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:16 pm

Date Hiked: April 21, 2018
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Trail to Upper Bee is nonexistent. Make your own by following the creek bed, which should be relatively clear of trees. Look for a gap in the bushes where the road faces NW and follow the dry creek bed until you get to the water. Campsite is totally unusable.
Richard Liu
 

Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Jim Ringland on Sun May 15, 2016 6:17 pm

Date Hiked: May 12, 2016
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Up top, the Coulter pine is still there. The marble/limestone rock is gone. The LBH2 marker is gone. It’s still pretty clear about where to start. But then …

Having hiked this trail before, I knew what to look for and, with a lot of pushing, made it through that first very brushy 75 feet. (See my 2013 trail report below.) Some of it was an act of faith since the brush had really closed in. Branches of the shrubs were interlacing at chest level. There was some open ground at foot level on the old trail but it didn't always look much different from places off-trail. (And, for that matter, I couldn't always even see down to my feet.) Then, once on the little ridge, I found conditions only just a little more grown up than they were three years ago. I had no trouble working my way down to Upper Bee Camp. So for me, with my experience on this trail, “Impassible (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)” isn’t right. But for someone who has never been on this trail and didn’t know the moves, including that hard right turn 30 feet in, “Impassible” might be the only reasonable description. Hence my rating above.

Somebody has cleaned up the camp since I was there last. You can get to Big Creek without dealing with poison oak. It was flowing nicely. The old icemaker stove is gone. Unfortunately, the flies are still there. I got water but camped on a flat almost at the top.

Back up top, I thought I saw tracks in various spots where folks had tried to bushwhack down into the draw that drops directly out from the Coulter pine area. Once down, it’s more open and it’s not hard to work one's way up to the ridge at the left. But I didn’t see any route into the draw that avoided nasty chaparral on the way.

By the way, that draw was full of blooming Our Lords Candles. As the sun dropped and they were back lit, it was an amazing, glowing sight. Candles indeed.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby mikesplain on Fri May 24, 2013 11:11 am

Date Hiked: May 20, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

It's not difficult to get to Upper Bee Camp if you pay attention.
Jim's directions (below) are excellent and the lone Coulter pine along the Coast Ridge Trail is a dead giveaway.
The white limestone rock was easy to spot as well, but when you reach it, turn to face the coast,
then look left for a narrow passageway through the chamise.
Follow this for a short distance and you'll reach to a wide dozer cut atop a minor ridge.
Descend this ridge to the canyon bottom, and follow a narrow trail down to the camp.
Upper Bee Camp is a rather dismal place and the water was little more than a few murky puddles
on the other side of a dense stand of poison oak;
it's good to know about in case of emergency, but certainly not a destination in its own right.
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Re: Bee Camp Trail-Upper

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri May 10, 2013 9:32 pm

Date Hiked: May 8, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

After the reading the earlier posts about this trail, I was expecting difficulties. I had none, although I was usefully guided by Dr. Jack's accurate GPS tracks (http://bigsurtrailmap.net/). Still, even without that assistance I don't think this would be all that hard. I wonder if someone has done a little judicious pruning since the previous reports.

The first step is to find the junction between the Coast Ridge Trail and the Bee Camp Trail. It's not marked. About 1/2 mile south from its terminus at the North Coast Ridge Road (NCRR), the Coast Ridge Trail starts to contour around a hill while a firebreak goes right over the top. The yellow diamond LBH2 marker (not LB2U) mentioned by ldrucker in his 2011 report is near where the firebreak and trail rejoin at the south end of the hill. The Bee Camp Trail junction is about half way between the two trail/firebreak junctions. The Coast Ridge Trail makes a gentle jog there. There is a solitary pine on the north side of the trail (left when coming from the NCRR). Opposite the pine, on the south (right) side, the rock cairn shown in ldrucker's picture is gone, but the lowest rock, a marble boulder about a foot on a side, remains.

If you look straight out south from the trail at this point, you can see Big Creek making its way to the sea to the left in the distance. In the foreground there is a small low ridge with two shallow channels flanking it. Farther left from the left-hand channel is another small rise. The Bee Camp Trail goes down that rise. It looks open on top. That is the road-like trail ldrucker mentions.

It's all trail between the Coast Ridge Trail Junction and that ridge. No cross-country bushwhacking through the chaparral is needed. So the next step is to find the portal into the chaparral that marks the beginning of the trail. At the far left (again as one looks out south across the Big Creek valley), there are a couple of taller shrubs/small trees just off the Coast Ridge Trail which you can see at the far left in ldrucker's picture. Ten to twenty feet to the right of these is the opening in the chemise that marks the portal to the Bee Camp Trail. Today, of course, everything is bigger and fuller than in the 2011 picture. The chemise is now over head height. There is sort of a path from the marble rock over to the opening (a distance of maybe 20 feet) through what's mostly small yerba santa. I did my best to scuff it up a bit more. Past that portal there is an obvious path. It's fairly wide at foot level, less so higher up as branches reach in. There was always at least some open gap although my shoulders were scraping branches as I went through. About 30 feet in, the path makes a hard right turn. The trail then progressively opens up and after maybe another 75 feet it reaches the wide-open top of the little ridge. From there's it's clear sailing down to camp.

Upper Bee Camp had a gentle flow of water. I could hear a more energetic flow in the distance although stream-side poison oak deterred casual exploration. An old broken-down rusty stove is still there. Bedsites look only fair. Even though it was only May, the flies were out. Dr. Jack's map identifies the location for Upper Bee Camp as an estimate. However, his location agrees almost exactly with where my GPS placed it.
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