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Mosquito Springs Trail

Re: Mosquito Springs Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:17 pm

Date Hiked: April 11, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Section: From the Black Cone trail

Just past the South Ventana Cone after the Junction with the Pine Ridge, a spur trail to the left (north east) goes down to Mosquito Springs. The trail is evident for the first two hundred or so feet until it becomes flagging that then quickly becomes a bit erratic and eventually stops. We followed down the steep hillside and made it to the only really likely place for a camp and found it. The camp is rather overgrown and almost gone at this point (08 fire did a pretty thorough job in the area), though seemed to have seen some recent use. We did not find any water in the area.
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Re: Mosquito Springs Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:30 pm

Date Hiked: January 31, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I went out to explore the old Mosquito Spring Trail and Camp with the help of Boon Hughey's sketch of his post-1999-fire route, which I had georeferenced and put into my GPS. This report gives details for anyone who heads out there to look for the old camp, which I did not find. I've uploaded a Google Earth file of the below image (with numbered waypoints visible on the full-size image) depicting my route (red) and Boon's estimated trail route (black) with numbered waypoints.

The tread was initially in better shape than I had expected, being apparent (to #183) then fainter (to #185), to what I decided was the turn indicated on Boon's map. I have heard of some hikers who did not know of that turn and so missed it. I then wandered somewhat looking for the least brushy way forward where I thought a trail would likely be, finding some "might be" tread down to the first blue circle (#189), where I found running water. For those hiking the Black Cone Trail this can serve as a relatively convenient water source, but it is seasonal not perennial.

To look for the old camp, I tried to cross and continue but that was too brushy, so instead went down along the creek gully (through a lot of dead branches) to a dry gully without brush (#192) which allowed exiting that creek bed. Wandering around trying to get back to Boon's black line, I found a fire ring (red ring #196 - see photo). Continuing along the black line was not possible due to brush, but I found a relatively open route back to the creek (blue circle #202 - likely this is how the fire ring users get water) and followed the creek bed to a confluence of 2 streams (#206), where I again went looking for Boon's route. I could not find any tread along that steep brushy slope, with open patches, but paralleled the creek in relatively open areas to an open area (#210) which I followed downslope to a steep rocky creekbed (#215, continuing until the creek became less steep (#216). The water is likely perennial here - Boon comments:
"I believe it was perennial based upon the fire-killed trunks of alder trees that lined the live streambed."

Here the sideslope on the north side is too steep to climb even without pack, and remains so downstream, hence the open area I came down is the last doable access to the creek from the north.

Climbing back up, I again looked for the path and camp but found nothing, not even a level spot I would judge large enough to hold even a single tent. For anyone interested enough to do some further looking here is Boon's description:
"The camp was somewhere between the end of the black line and the "spike", on sloping ground with a few flat places amongst rocks of various sizes. There were nutted bolts arranged perfectly in an ash pattern on the ground where a picnic table had stood, and I think some steel leftovers of a fire place."

Returning, I left some blue flags (blue squares) to indicate the route to the upper water source.

On my on-line trailmap ( I'd previously shown the Mosquito Spring Trail as a "lost" trail, but based on the current condition of the trail I've given it the same status as other Ventana trails since it is actually in better shape than some other official trails.

Fire ring
Mosquito Spring Hike - map
Mosquito Spring Hike - GoogleEarth file
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Re: Mosquito Springs Trail

Postby Betsy M on Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:20 pm

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

This trail starts at the Black Cone Trail, about 0.8 miles from the trailhead on Pine Ridge. After contouring along the west slope of South Ventana Cone, the Black Cone Trail comes to a saddle with an upright post, but no sign. The Mosquito Springs Trail drops off to the east side of the ridge, contouring downwards for nearly a quarter mile. A fair amount of brushing has kept the upper part of this trail open over the years, but in 2008 the lower section, including Mosquito Springs Camp itself, burned completely. After following the trail along the slope of a small ridge, you will come to a pink flag, indicating a swithcback. At this point the route becomes indistinct. Previously the trail crossed the creek and continued down on the north side to Mosquito Springs Camp. Currently, this is all a mass of brushy re-growth. However, we were able to head straight down to the creek, aiming for a large fallen pine, and find water. This water source is likely to dry up, or move downstream, later in the summer.
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Trail Conditions History 2001-2006

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am

Date Hiked: May 27, 2006
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Conditions reported by: Greg Minter
Survey date: 27-MAY-2006

We camped atop the ridge saddle at the bifurcation of the Black Cone Trail and the Mosquito Springs Trail. The saddle camp was an old spike camp that the VWA trail crew had cleared out some tent sites, thanks, folks! Camp was dry and dusty, so we headed down the Mosquito Springs Trail towards the spring. We barely made it to the spring, just a trickle, after a lengthy bush-bash which I would describe as 'difficult'. Someone had left an old piece of PVC, I reckon in hopes of installing it in the spring for better flow. The trail beyond the spring is completely overgrown and impassable: We never found the original Mosquito Springs Camp.
Conditions reported by: Jon Benner
Survey date: 26-MARCH-2006

Generally in good shape, except for two big blowdowns along the trail right above the water source, mixed in with a bit of brush in the same area. With some saw work in this area the trail could be upgraded to clear.
Conditions reported by: Boon
Survey date: 11-MARCH-2005

Section: Black Cone Trail to first wet-season spring

As part or our Black Cone Trail resurrection project, the VWA Trail Crew re-opened the Mosquito Springs trail down as far as the first wet-season water source - about a quarter mile. The perennial water source is located a ways further down-canyon, Through what is at this time some pretty thick brush. But at least you're a lot closer now, and we may just get around to clearing the rest of it as the season progresses. Look here first for updates.

A nice camp can be made at Mosquito Saddle, at the junction of the Black Cone and Mosquito Springs trails. Just drop down, fill up, and carry water back to camp.
Conditions reported by: Jeffrey Zimmerman
Survey date: 28-Oct-2001

Even in late October there is water here, one of the few such apparent places on the northern end of the Black Cone Trail. Nonetheless for far less effort than is required to bushwhack down from BCT to filter water one can easily reach Pine Ridge Camp and find a gushing spring. (The northbound Black Cone Trail is downhill most of the way from the Mosquito Springs turnoff to a point where it is easy to cut across the upper reaches of the north fork of Cienega ["Cienaga"] Creek and reach the Pine Ridge Trail.)

The trail is marginal down from the saddle graced by the BCT, often sliding away to little more than a trace on a sandy slope. It drops 500' in a half mile; follow Boon's (?) yellow tags down a long arc and a major switchback to the obvious greenery several hundred feet below the canyon rim. The autumnal water is far from the steep hillside, finally emerging into brush as the canyon slope levels. The 1999 fire has damaged most of the taller trees, and the new, low-level vegetation is competing vigorously for sunlight.

Disappointingly there are few flat areas for camping, unless camping across a scatter of broken granite is attractive. Some attractive shade exists in an unburned area on the south side of the canyon, considerably downslope, but alas the few semi-level points (with tempting amounts of litter accumulated) are also in the downwash area where any runoff could be expected.

It is apparent that earlier in the year water is available much farther upslope, with minimal brush there impeding access. Surely this area can be a nifty detour that time of year.

Oh yeah. In October, there were no mosquitos.
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Mosquito Springs Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 10:39 am

* USFS Trail #
* Parking:
* Watershed: Tassajara Creek
* Junctions: Black Cone Trail
* Connects: Black Cone Trail with Mosquito Springs Camp
* Camps: Mosquito Springs
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