My wife was in New York City visiting my daughter, so it was high time for a local trip to the San Rafael Wilderness with the fishing pole. These trips can quickly become death marches to slimy, fly infested mud holes (please see BrianF's post in "Death Marches") so it's a dice roll. If I catch and release fish, it's a fishing trip, if not, it's a hiking trip. A "win/win" really. This happened to be a fishing trip.
My destination was Santa Cruz Station out of Little Oso but when I arrived, the campground was full with compliment of volunteers taking a working vacation to do trail maintenance in the Santa Cruz creek drainage. They welcomed me into the camp with an ice cold beer. After the last 5 miles of hiking " the Wall" and "the 40 mile stretch" that tasted oh so sweet. They told me they just finished clearing the trail to Flores Flat, so I said my thank you and I was on my way to Flores.
Looking back on the Station.
The top of the ridge is where the entrance to the Wilderness is. The native flora in some areas is making a great comeback after the Zaca fire including the Oak trees sprouting new growth from blackened bark, other areas, not so, I was picking foxtails out of my socks and teeth!
Great tread all the way to Flores.
The camp at Flores is still there, under a big old (and very blackened) Oak tree, the rickety table is gone but there is a nice very square rock that served well as a seat.
The water in the creeks were all running clear, clean, and cold. The banks are lined with native Deer grass and willow. Miles and miles of deep pools and cascading falls, each pool presenting a unique beauty and challenge to get down to the next one undetected by the fish.
Spawning landlocked fish. It's there native home and the camouflage is nearly perfect.
Just before the trip began, the forecast changed to wording that mentioned "cold air with a chance of convection" so I brought my Sierra tent and bag, I'm glad I did. No rain, but it was breezy and very cool. Perfect San Rafael weather, no flies or ticks. Glad I brought the wood burning stove too, plenty of fuel to burn so I could linger over the fire on a foggy morning and warm the hands and enjoy the surroundings.
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I originally planned to join the trail maintenance group, but had a concert mid week and didn't have the option to drive in/out on my own. I'm still exploring this area so nice to see pix. Thanks!
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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