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South Fork of the Stanislaus

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South Fork of the Stanislaus

Postby balzaccom » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:23 am

We spent this last weekend at our cabin above Sonora, and in the middle of our usual tasks of cleaning up and fixing things, we found time for a nice hike down to the South Fork of the Stanislaus River.

It's a nice time of the year to get out on a trail---as the cooler temperatures make some of these lower elevation hikes a lot more fun. This was a pretty steep trail, and in mid-summer this would have been a hot one!

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And yes, there were nice fall colors on the trees...

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The river was now calm and sedate. Quite peaceful all the way around.

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And we even found some old mining tailings in the area---and we're already planning to explore those more extensively in the future.

What fun!
Balzaccom

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Re: South Fork of the Stanislaus

Postby The Hungry Packer » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:07 am

Fall hikes are always great...gotta love the anticipation in the air as the flora and fauna await winter. It's interesting seeing how low the rivers are this year. I was up in Sequoia a few weekends ago and one thing that fall seems to engender is a lack of crowds :)
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Re: South Fork of the Stanislaus

Postby SweetSierra » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:58 pm

I enjoyed your photos. It looks beautiful down in the lower country this time of year. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: South Fork of the Stanislaus

Postby cmon4day » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:34 pm

It looks like the fall colors is a dead tree :lol:
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Re: South Fork of the Stanislaus

Postby balzaccom » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:00 pm

Ha!

Yep, in the first photos that tree is dead--and there are others that are struggling in the area. This drought is not good for trees.
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Re: South Fork of the Stanislaus

Postby balzaccom » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:30 pm

We took another trip to our cabin above Sonora last weekend, and this time we decided to check out the trail to an old mine in the area.
sunlight through the trees

It was another great day in the foothills, with sunny weather and cool temperatures--perfect for hiking. The trail starts as a nice old logging (and mining?) road that wanders down towards the South Fork of the Stanislaus for about a mile and half.

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Then it gets very steep for a half a mile. Still a "road" mind you, but so steep that I wouldn't want to drive anything with four wheels on it. And so deeply rutted that we had to carefully chart our route. Amazingly, we did hear a car further below us---but from the noises it was making, it might still be down there...

Once at the junction, we turned right and left the insanely steep section to follow a smaller road that contoured along the canyon upstream. This was a beautiful route, easy walking, and despite the fact that it obviously gets very little traffic, it was maintained. We hiked through numerous fallen trees that had been cleared for the trail.

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A couple of weeks later we hiked back down into the canyon in search of an old mine. This trail was actually maintained...many logs had been cur through to clear the trail

But the best part of the hike was yet to come.

After about a mile on this secondary road, we came to the mine, and spent about an hour exploring the area. The trail ends at the main mine, but on our way back we noticed two other areas that included a secondary mine entrance and another area that was clearly terraced at the same time--although we're not sure why.

It made for some fun exploring.

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It's hard to imagine how they dragged these enormous iron wheels down here. Lots of mules, and a pretty darn sturdy wagon.

There is supposed to be a trail that leads down to the river from the mine itself, but we did not see an obvious route. And the one trail we did consider was covered with bare branches of what might be poison oak. We'll come back in the spring, once the poison oak has budded out, and see if we can work our way down there without getting covered in the stuff.

Meanwhile, we had a grand adventure in the foothills---and inspiration to explore more of this area.
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