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California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

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California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby oldranger » Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:42 am

One of the things I have always wanted to do is camp under Giant Sequoias. Camping in Redwood Canyon in SEKI was the last trip on my abbreviated menu. Driving up to the park I scouted the Generals Highway and found the road to Redwood Saddle and the TH had not been opened. Not to worry a turnout was fortunately located right where the ridge up from the saddle meets the highway. A quick trip to Grant resulted in a permit and soon after I was striding down mostly snowfree slopes. In 20 minutes or so I reached the TH.
IMG_1900.jpg
Redwood Canyon TH

The hike to my campsite was about 3 miles and at no time was a Sequoia not visible. It was a humbling experience hiking among these giants. As I got lower the snow increased, I assume due to the the reduced slope, increased canopy, and cold air dumping into the canyon.
IMG_1906.jpg
Tracks left by researchers?

I noticed 2 pairs of people tracks in the snow that seemed to wander quite a bit. Once I followed them and they led to a tagged tree so I assumed they were the tracks of someone doing research. There were several fallen giants across the trail (which is really an old road for a mile and a half or so). These were intriguing in their own right.
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Downed Giant
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Just another pair of trees!

With my intent just to soak up the ambiance of the canyon I soon made camp amongst a family of 4 sequoia. I spent a long time eyeballing the limbs way up in the trees before deciding that the risk of getting clobbered by a falling limb was pretty low. As you can see in the pic below the trees had been pretty well pruned during the winter and the fact that there were no newly fallen limbs a my chosen tent site suggested that everything above was pretty solid (or ready to fall?). The duff was so thick an unconsolidated that I had procure some rocks from the creek to secure my tent stakes and there were a lot of sequoia cones that had to be cleared to eliminate significant bumps under my downmat.
IMG_1912.jpg
Camp

After setting up camp I decided to see what kind of fish were in Redwood Creek.
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Redwood Creek
An Elkhair Caddis tempted several small rainbows but the most interesting part of the fishing was the large collections of ladybugs along the creek. I have seen more massive collections before (10 ft. long log covered several inches thick) but never dispersed over such a long distance.
IMG_1923.jpg
Ladybug Orgy!
I made what turned out to be the funniest movie I have ever made but don't have a clue how to make the 17 meg movie available. Soon I returned to camp for summer sausage, cheese, and daiquiris.
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Life is Good!


It stayed dry over night and was bright in the morning but soon clouded up for the trip out. At higher elevations the trees were draped in a curtain of fog.
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Moody view!


I was kind of disappointed I didn't see a bear but there were tracks near my camp when I arrived and there were bear tracks on top of mine for a short distance as I retraced my route on the way out.

Lesson learned. While we all long for the High Sierra, without undo risk and effort there are many neglected low and mid elevation places we can seek out and find solitude and beauty. Just need to think outside the box.

I finished up my California trip with brief visits to old SEKI friends, one I hadn't seen since 1990 and neither of us recognized the other at first.

Thanks for reading!

Mike
Mike

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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby BSquared » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:22 am

Nice TR, Mike!
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby maverick » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:27 am

Cool shots with the sequoias, especially the one with the fog OR!
Also enjoyed the Lady Bugs picture, thanks.
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby Jason » Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:43 am

Thanks for your trip reports Old Ranger. A very enjoyable read while I'm sitting here at work, waiting for the next series of storms to come through.
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby gary c. » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:12 am

Great report and pictures. My favorite is how small your tents is among the giants. What a great place to spend a lazy afternoon.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby quentinc » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:07 pm

Great pictures! How far can one reasonably hike in there, at this time of year?
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby oldranger » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:35 pm

Quentinc

You start high and I think the trail goes down about 5 or 6 miles. I stopped way before that because I wasn't sure how far down the Sequoia grove extends.

Mike
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby copeg » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:54 pm

Always wanted to camp amongst those giants in the 'off' season. Simply love that photo of your tent amongst those giants
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby LMBSGV » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:44 pm

Wonderful report. My wife and I have always wanted to camp in the sequoias. You've given us another future trip. And I totally agree with the "Lesson learned."
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby East Side Hiker » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:10 pm

Great pictures. Makes me "jones" for the Sierra.
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Re: California Odyssey part III, May 22-23

Postby oldranger » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:31 am

For those of you whose interest in this area has been tweaked. 99% of the travel in Redwood Canyon is on the Hart Tree and Sugar Bowl loops. If you go just below those loops use will drop dramatically anytime of the year, even peak season.

Mike
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