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SR108/US395 road tour

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:37 pm
by SSSdave
Yesterday, Tuesday 6/30/20 drove over Sonora Pass on SR108 and then down US395 to Rock creek. I had intended to start a 2 night backpack up Hilton Creek from Crowley, however noted a lack of blooming mule ears in usual place like the Parker Bench so drove up to the McGee Creek trailhead and noticed a lack of flowers along road there too. Spoke with a old forest service botany gal that just came back from the canyon bend and she related very few flowers and why she thought this year was so poor as in weather issues. I then drove up Rock Creek all the way to Mosquito Flat at 10.4k and also noticed few mule ears. Additionally there were few mid season species blooming above 8k that shows it won't be a good year in the higher basin either because different species will be out of sync, especially between sun exposure environments. Mosquito Flat parking lot was full as were most of the parking areas along the road below that shows a lot of vacationers are already filling the campgrounds below and are driving up in the morning for hiking.

On the way home on SR108 drove out on the Eagle Meadows Road that was apparently repaved recently over the first few miles. Would be a great route now to bicycle or motorcycle as it is nice narrow at 1 1/2 lanes wide. That zone has considerable Mehrten volcanic geology that tends to be flowery and indeed there were many expanses of mule ears, however most looked drought stressed with most plants flowerless or with just a ragged flower or two that beetles have been eating. Other usual species were out, however stunted. Went all the way to Martins Cow Camp at Eagle Creek and all 3 fords to that point are doable with low wheelbase 4WD. There are some mosquitoes out, however never put on DEET and didn't get bit. Still haven't got bite #1 for 2020.

Re: SR108/US395 road tour

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:40 pm
by grampy
Dave -
As you visited Eagle Meadow, just wondering if you made it over to the Bennett Juniper, or is it on your “been there done that” list ?

Re: SR108/US395 road tour

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:13 am
by SSSdave
Didn't drive past looking at the crossable Long Valley ford. Might explore more in that zone during a wetter wildflower year.