Rain, rain……. stay a while! The LP was treated to a nice storm this past weekend. Rain fell across the Forest with some of the higher elevations getting a brief dusting of snow. Rainfall totals ranged from around half an inch up to 2.5inches along Big Sur and eastern SLO County. The great thing was that the entire Forest received some precipitation with most of it falling fast and furiously on Friday. Many of the trails throughout the forest showed clear signs of substantial runoff – hope those waterbars were in good shape. Anyway, the trick is that temps have returned to above normal and there wasn’t enough rain to change the flows in any of the creeks. Water remains a major concern for those heading to the backcountry. If we can help gather any information for you, please let us know – and of course if you have any information worth sharing, we are all ears.
The LPFA hosted two trail projects recently in the Santa Barbara high country. This is the area ranging from Madulce Peak west along Mission Pine to McKinley Peak. It’s beautiful country, with elevations generally above 5,000ft and views in all directions.
West Big Pine, by Curt Cragg
EAST MISSION PINE TRAIL
One of the nastiest sections of trail in the San Rafael Wilderness is along the East Mission Pine Trail, specifically where the trail dips down above Rattlesnake Canyon. This trail was ravaged in the 2007 Zaca Fire and has not seen much attention since then. Our ten trail-volunteers set out to fix the hidden tread past Rattlesnake but found that there was enough work before that section to keep them busy for two solid days. As a result, they are setting up a second mission to get back in there and work farther West along the trail – this time hoping to blast through the scrub oak mess on the far side of Rattlesnake Canyon. If you are interested in helping with this second project, we’ll be heading out the weekend of November 14-16. Contact INFO@lpforest.org or Curt Cragg (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
100+18 Trail Crew, by Gilcrest
MADULCE PEAK TRAIL
Another popular trail in the SB High Country that is in need of some TLC is the Madulce Peak Trail. This trail spurs off the main trail and heads a couple miles up to the 6,500ft Madulce Peak, which was once the home to a fire lookout. We teamed up with a group of 18 Hundred Peak Hikers and spent a day clearing the old trail. While some larger trees remain along the tread, the trail is now actually followable up to the peak – including along the dozens of switchbacks. And once on the peak, the views are incredible! It was great partnering with the 100 Peak crew and we look forward to many more trips in the future.
As winter approaches, many of the seasonal gates across the forest will start to close for the season.The Mount Pinos District will begin their seasonal closure on November 10. We are unsure exactly which roads these include but will try to get that information for you by the next Transverse. If you are planning a trip into the Pinos backcountry, best to give them a call and verify which gates are open and which will be closed.
The Ojai District will be closing the Dough Flat gate on December 1.
The Divide Peak Gate in the Santa Barbara District is open but does close at the slightest indication of pending rain. We get complaints quite a bit about the gate being closed. Rule of thumb, If rain is forecast, that gate will be closed. Live by that.
James Wapotich will be giving a slideshow presentation about Exploring the San Rafael Wilderness this coming Thursday (Nov 6) at 7pm in Santa Barbara. More information here:
That’s it for now everyone. Enjoy the cool nights and warm days – we’ll catch you next time…….