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Marble Peak Trail

Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby seagoat1724 on Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:59 pm

Date Hiked: October 8, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Between Lost Valley Trail Junction and Coast Ridge Road.
Trail is wilderness freeway. Hot and exposed but good trail and tread.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby aaronmcd on Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:20 pm

Date Hiked: June 16, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked Arroyo Seco to Horse Pasture, up to Tassajara cutoff, Tony Trail, to Shovel Handle camp and straight back on Marble peak. At Arroyo Seco I was informed of a black bear cub sighting last week.

Part of the trail was more difficult than Horse Pasture trail, which is labeled "difficult".

From Shovel Handle camp eastward the tread is evident, there is a ton of low brush growing into the trail but easily plowed through. One rattlesnake stopped me for a moment. The trail is washed out in a few spots but easily passable. Fairly fast moving here if you really need to but it isn't fun.

Further east as it descends there were a great many bushes growing together across the trail. Some thorny ones (don't know the name, these are the ones with spiky shiny leaves) grow all the way across and require pushing through and getting scraped up a bit even with sticks to help push them aside. Much slower going here, maybe 1.5 mph.

Towards willow spring camp there are a few places where brushing poison oak is unavoidable but mainly below hip level. Here and eastward it was mostly clear with maybe a half dozen scrambles down to creeks or over hip height deadfall. Much of the way is 8" wide lined with poison oak.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby dgrey on Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:57 pm

Date Hiked: May 30, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Backpacking trip from Arroyo Seco campground to Marble Peak. First tried to do a loop route going up Arroy-Seco Indians road to North Coast Ridge Trail and returning on Marble Peak Trail, but the first few seasonal streams on Arroy-Seco Indians road were completely dry, so went back down to Marble Peak trail and took that up to Marble Peak. Willow Creek water current is good throughout. About 1/3 of Marble Peak trail is covered in brush, sometimes quite dense, but passable, plus about 15-20 stream crossings, so progress is slow. Camp Creek and Shovel Handle Creek water current is good, plus some of the seasonal creeks near those have some water. The unnamed campsite below Strawberry Camp has water where the trail meets Tan Oak Creek. After that there is more dense bushwhacking going uphill, then pretty clear downhill to Indian Valley where the stream is pretty strong. Went about 10 minutes south into Lost Valley and the stream was still good. Flies, ticks, and poison oak all very friendly throughout.

(Ed. The unnamed camp below Strawberry where the trail meets Tan Oak Creek is officially Tan Oak Camp. A truly unnamed camp upstream from there on Zig Zag Creek, near where the South Fork Trail starts, is often called Tan Oak Use Camp.)
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby js_radford on Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:49 pm

Date Hiked: May 28, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked from Arroyo Seco to Strawberry and thence to Rainbow and back, May 24-28. Delightfully moderate weather (drizzly a bit Sunday) and lots of water everywhere it is usually found and then some. FAR fewer flowers than last year but some nice displays here and there. More water than I've seen this late though a few remnant trickles on or near the tread dried up between my entry and exit across the same route.

BRUSH:
- Horse Bridge to Willow Springs Camp: not of much concern except PO is a little worse than I've seen in years. I did not get a rash, though, despite lightly touching many leaves/twigs and having average sensitivity.
- Willow Spring to Strawberry: about 3 miles getting badly overgrown, including roses in Strawberry Valley (surprisingly passable now but on the verge of soon being bad). In-your-face brush getting a little annoying in last 1/3 mile above Willow Springs camp. Low brush after that, mostly thousands of Deer Weed bushes. It is so discouraging that a wilderness freeway of 3 years ago now requires plowing through "endless" low shrubbery.

DEAD FALLS:
- Horse Bridge to Strawberry: about 30, all but 2 easy to negotiate. A large branch fell apparently on May 27 (maybe even minutes before I got there) about 1/2 mile west of Horse Bridge with NO bypass possible except down a cliff or up a heavily covered slope of PO. Luckily I had my 18" pruning saw by then and cleared it in about 45 minutes (wet Oak is SO easy to cut!) except for the main branch on the ground. Just 100 yards away, I met 2 guys (only people I'd seen in almost 2 days) who were so deterred by the pile of branches that they wondered if they had taken the wrong trail.

TREAD: even if not visible (low brush!), never in doubt.

...................

SUGGESTION: Carry a light folding saw if in doubt or there are reports of difficult dead falls. I carried only an 8" folding saw hiking in and was able to cut innumerable limbs and even an Alder (soft wood) over 8" diameter. Hard Oak limbs over about 4" diameter I left alone. It was amazing what I could dispatch pretty quickly!
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Wed May 08, 2019 10:57 am

Date Hiked: May 3, 2019
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this westbound from the Arroyo-Seco Indians Road junction to the Lost Valley Trail junction over two days (with a layover day in between at Strawberry Valley).

Horsebridge to Tassajara Camp: Clear. There may be a few trivial deadfalls to step over and the ever-present poison oak to mind, but nothing much.

Tassajara Camp to Willow Springs Camp: On the edge between Clear and Passable. There's a tad more vegetation reaching into the trail here, but it is still non-woody stuff (including, of course, poison oak), and still fairly minor. A few simply managed blowdowns. The real obstacle, and one that probably doesn’t “count”, are the 19 crossings of Willow Creek, some of which, even on this early May trip, were ankle-deep wades rather than rock hops.

Willow Springs junction to South Fork Trail junction: Passable. The brush is closing in on the first climb from Willow Springs. Here it is woody, including a fair amount of shrubby oak. It’s not completely across the trail, but in places it's close. I was just a bit scratched up by the time I arrived at the divide between the Willow and Zigzag Creek drainages. From the divide on, fully clear sections mix ones that are bit more brushy. There's a little bit of slumped trail around Camp Creek and Shovelhandle Creek. As for flowers, there are lots of bush poppies and Ceanothus shrubs in bloom, but fewer annual flowers than I saw last May. The deerweed, this year's big new winner, is crowding them out. And on this section, I was surprised to meet a party of 10 hikers coming the other way. That’s the largest group I think I’ve ever seen in the Ventana.

South Fork Trail junction to 3500’ high point: Passable. Some sections where the growth is filling in -– Ceanothus, chamise, thimbleberries, and others -- and a bit of slumped trail make me reluctant to call this Clear, but it’s not very far into Passable territory. What’s not a problem are the California blackberries, even though they are lush at the side of the trail in the Tan Oak Creek section. What did Flyin’ Brian use to clear them? A light saber? The work is still holding. Still some of the rare fire-following pink-flowered Sidalcea hickmanii ssp. hickmanii (Hickman's checkerbloom) but much less than last year.

3500’ high point to Lost Valley Trail junction: Wilderness Freeway. To merely call this Clear understates what a magnificent piece of (very recent) trail work we have here. Nice use camp at the Lost Valley Trail junction. Those are valley oaks down there.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby Firefly on Tue May 07, 2019 11:23 am

Date Hiked: May 1, 2019
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked the entire length of Marble Peak trail from its junction with North Coast ridge road to Arroyo Seco-Indians Rd.

There is a lot of up and down, but the trail is obvious the entire time. Lots of water in creeks at least every half hour or so. A lot of poison oak in the valleys, especially around Willow camp. Went mid week and did not see anyone else on this trail for 3 days.

Tan Oak camp looked particularly beautiful, at the junction of two creeks. I stayed at Willow, which is in a wooded clearing.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail - Marble Peak to Strawberry Valley

Postby Betsy M on Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:31 pm

Date Hiked: December 30, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Some updates based on several recent trips. Generally there is water everywhere now. Conditions are improving as the VWA volunteer trail crew gets time to work on these sections.

Section: Marble Peak to the junction with the Lost Valley Trail
This first mile and a half is in good shape, I would call it CLEAR. The yellowjacket nest got excavated by someone and there are no more wasps to worry about.

Section: Lost Valley Trail junction to the top of the ridge above Tan Oak Creek
This next mile is also in good shape, I would call this CLEAR also. Still use caution across the mudstone slopes. It is brushy in a few places near the top of the ridge. Watch for flagging at the top, and don't take the old dozer tracks that cross the trail, following the ridgeline.

Section: Tan Oak Creek
CLEAR. Work in this section notably by Flyin' Brian has greatly reduced the level of brush and the deep gully has been filled in.

Section: Strawberry Valley
CLEAR. From Tan Oak Camp the trail looks great. The work by John Radford is holding up beautifully. We noticed hiking down from Strawberry Camp that it gets much colder at the Tan Oak Use Camp. If you are traveling towards Marble Peak, make sure you cross the creek immediately after you pass the burned sign at the junction with the South Fork Trail. I'm wondering if people might have stayed on the left side here. There are a few roses here and there on the right side, but nothing like the field of roses on the left side.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail

Postby hydrologic on Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:42 pm

Date Hiked: October 14, 2018
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I generally agree with Betsy's previous report however the wild rose hip around Tank Oak Camp is pretty bad. There is a path through it but if you wear shorts you will get scratched up! I would say from the junction of Lost Valley Trail going towards Arroyo Seco the trail is most yellow with lots of green sections and few orange sections.
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Re: Marble Peak Trail - Yellowjacket Alert

Postby Betsy M on Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:31 pm

Date Hiked: September 30, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

One update - there is a nest of yellow jacket wasps at the unofficial camp below Marble Peak, at the junction with the Lost Valley Trail. The nest is a hole in the ground about two feet from the trail, as it leaves the fire ring area, headed towards Tan Oak Camp. Basically right in the middle of this camp. I left a rock with some pink flagging next to it. Be careful!
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Re: Marble Peak Trail Marble Peak to South Fork Junction

Postby Betsy M on Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:01 pm

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

Section: Marble Peak to the junction with the Lost Valley Trail
This first mile and a half is in good shape, I would call it CLEAR. Some brush growing into the trail corridor but no difficulty finding the route and you have lots of opportunity to enjoy the views north to the Double Cone and south to Lost Valley.
Water: there is no water anywhere on this section.

Section: Lost Valley Trail junction to the top of the ridge above Tan Oak Creek
This next mile is also in good shape, I would call this CLEAR also. There are a couple of sections where the trail traverses a mudstone slope and there is basically no tread. Despite repeated attempts to create tread, the rock just crumbles away. You can get past, it just requires careful stepping.
Water: there is no water anywhere on this section.

Section: Tan Oak Creek
DIFFICULT. The descent to Tan Oak Creek starts out okay. This entire section burned and much of the brush that blocked the trail is gone. BUT once you get down to the creek, the riparian corridor is definitely a challenge. Keep an eye out for flagging at several questionable spots. There are plenty of blackberries growing everywhere, covering everything in their path. When they cover the trail it becomes difficult to get through. The vines grab at your ankles and leave thorns in your hands.
Caution: there is one small gully that got scoured out by water and is about five feet deep. Even though it is only a foot across. You can easily step across. But if you don't see the hole, and step INTO this gully, it would not be good.
Water: when the trail drops down to Tan Oak Creek there is water at several locations. The best water and easiest access is several hundred yards upstream of Tan Oak Camp. The trail drops right down to the creek and you can just hold your water bottle next to the bedrock where the creek pours down. There is also water at Tan Oak Camp on Zig Zag Creek. This isn't flowing as well, but this water flows all year even if Tan Oak Creek dries up.

Section: Strawberry Valley
CLEAR. From Tan Oak Camp the trail looks great. Looks like John Radford did a lot of work in this section and it is holding up well. Just a small amount of brush in a few places. And you don't have to walk through the wild rose jungle!
Water: Tan Oak use camp does not have water. In fact, there was no water in Zig Zag Creek (the creek that flows through Strawberry Valley) anywhere upstream of Tan Oak Camp.
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