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Carrizo Plain

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Postby Snow Nymph » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:52 pm

Nice shot!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby Shawn » Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:52 pm

Carrizo is a beautiful area. As fate has it, I have a small radio site on the mountain over looking Soda Lake http://www.theradioroom.org/lapanza.htm.

The views are abundant from the hilltop, but what really strikes me is the drive enroute. There is a creek in the valley west of the radio site and the wildlife is amazing, probably because few people travel thru the area. Most of the wildlife I've seen has been in this small area (bear, bobcat, tule elk, etc.). There is a small pond that is absolutely crowded with small turtles every spring?

Anyway, I've stood on top of that mountain admiring the views over Soda Lake and the Carrizo for hours on end and never tire of of it.
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Postby mountaineer » Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:15 pm

Was just out in the Carrizo Plain by Soda Lake today hiking with my 3 year old. The purple and yellow flowers are out in force, carpets of them. Give us a week or two of warm/sunny weather and it will be incredible!
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Postby SSSdave » Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:04 pm

Hi Shawn,

What a terrific place to get to drive up to. I'm guessing that road along the creek is not open to the public like many such roads that climb to mountain transmision sites usually through other private lands? A couple dozen years ago I used to work for a company that built remote computer controlled transmitter gear atop mountain sites. Lots of stuff got zapped by lightning.

I've visited both Shell Creek and Carrizo several times the last decade. Last spring I spent five nights on two trips "road camping" in the zone. I'm quick to explore open backroads that my Subu can manage, so last spring I took a side trip westward along Pozo Road to Red Hill Road and back to SR58. Parts of Red Hill were about as rough as I'd want to tackle. In 1995 when my 94 Subu was just a few months old, I drove the whole loop of Soda Lake southeast to Elkhorn Road back northwest. One really feels "remote" way out there on Elkhorn. Some of the creek crossings were barely doable in my low wheelbase sedan. Of course the difficulty of backroads varies considerably from year to year after each rainy season.

This morning I pulled out all my San Luis Obispo and Carrizo maps as I will soon be making a trip down that way as well as some other favorite wildflower areas like Antelope Valley. The current storm has dumped a significant 1.7 inches at the Carrizo remote CDEC weather station and is likely to get pounded tonight by more. The vast plain only averages 7 to 9 inches a rainy season so that is a huge jolt of water that is sure to really push up a colorful crop of wildflowers in a week or three much like the Miracle March of 1991. ...David
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Postby mountaineer » Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:39 pm

I'm quick to explore open backroads that my Subu can manage, so last spring I took a side trip westward along Pozo Road to Red Hill Road and back to SR58.


Great area! The Red Hill Rd. area is the best public land quail hunting I have ever seen also.

Last year was, by far, the best for flowers along the 58 corridor. We had 45 inches of rain here in Templeton, about 2 1/2 times normal. This year we have had about 22 inches. It was pouring in the Carrizo Plain today with more on the way. It was 60 minutes from my driveway to the north boundary of the monument.
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Postby Shawn » Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:43 am

Hi David -

Sure looks like you have been thru the area quite a bit. Indeed the road I travel on to the hilltop is mostly private and gated (although the ridgetop itself is public land). The best way I can describe the route is to travel east on Pozo road and just keep hanging to the right at all the intersections. It is the same road that leads to American Canyon. During hunting season the first gate is open and another gate to the east is locked.

Anyway, I'm due for a trip up there soon, I can't wait to see how things look after all of the rain.
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