12/22/2019 at 8:03 pm #3707
Thanks to Shawn’s post, I packed up Max and headed up the insanely smooth and graded Middle Fork Rd (after I passed it and had to turn back. ha ha).
Only one other car there. Didn’t see anyone else on the way up. Only one other person on the trail on the way down. Nice!
Couple people in the parking lot who went on short hikes as well as “Anna” who came out of the toilet with a spray bottle (?). Maybe she was cleaning it? FYI- there was no toilet paper so BYOTP.
Trail was in good condition. There are some moderately sketchy parts so be a bit careful.
Third Stream Crossing is washed out (?) so there is a post showing where to cross. Just find a safe place and make your way back to the trail.
Basically no snow until about 3 miles in or so, then quite a bit on and off. I lost the trail around Comanche campground (which I didn’t actually see), but you basically just keep going up the wash.
Hint- the trail is on the right side (as you go up). We found it on the way back.
At about 5 miles, where some switch backs should have been going up to Saddle Junction, we couldn’t find the trail because of the snow. My cardio is lacking… err… cardio so we turned back. Stopped where I think Comanche was and ate some food and took a break.
Good times. Thanks for the post, Shawn!
Coming back, we took the Stonehouse trail… was a mistake. Lots of overgrowth of prickly bushes. Also think we almost walked through a large patch of poison ivy/ oak. I didn’t know for sure, so we turned around and went back the way we came from to the Third Stream trail to take back to the car.
Crampons definitely recommended. (Ice axe maybe on the way up to Saddle Junction depending on how you get there. Not needed for the distance we went in.)
Any questions- feel free to ask.
Here’s some pics: (Sorry about the smudge on the lens in this first one. Fixed it after this pic). Road to the trailhead.
Split for Stonehouse. We went up instead of down.
Max getting a snow cone. 🙂
Lost the trail around here.
This is where we turned around.
Taking a break where I think Comanche camp is. Max standing guard.
Overgrowth on Stonehouse trail – coming down. Not sure how it was coming up until this point. This was the least bad part of the overgrowth.
- This topic was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by MikeH.
12/22/2019 at 8:12 pm #3708
I should mention, that we lost the trail around Comanche, but found it again farther up. Had no issues again until we got about a mile or so past Comanche when we lost it and turned around.
Also, I use GaiaGps and also a track on my Garmin watch. Helpful for sure, but when it says you’re on the trail and it doesn’t look like a trail (because of the snow), and then you find the trail a bit off of the track you’re using, it’s a bit frustrating. Definitely good enough to know where to head to find the trail, though.
I never leave home without a track downloaded onto at least one of them.
12/23/2019 at 3:08 pm #3710shawnsislerParticipant
Gald you were able to enjoy Middle Fork trail.
I know it is a bit tough after Third Stream Crossing and after Commanche because it has always been tough to get crews back in there. SGWA trailcrew recently worked the first 2 miles of the trail but didn’t fix any of the accesses to the washes because this winter will probably have an effect on them again. SGWA hopefully will be able to come back early next year to put up some more signs and do more tread repair. Oh yeah and maybe fix the upper Stone House trace trail.
12/23/2019 at 8:21 pm #3711stbrnnrParticipant
Hi Mike, just want to say thanks for all your detailed reports and contributions to the forum this year. Have enjoyed reading of your adventures and am looking forward to possibly running into you and your cool canine cohorts sometime on trail in 2020. Happy Holidays–Steve B
12/24/2019 at 4:34 pm #3712
Shawn- I hope my post didn’t come off as negative because I have no complaints about the trail whatsoever. Well, maybe the brush could be cut back on the upper part of Stone House. 🙂
Otherwise, even the moderately sketchy parts I spoke about add to the enjoyment for me. A 4 foot wide, perfectly cut trail, while nice, actually makes me feel less like I’m out in the wilderness. As long as there is some sort of trail to follow, I’m good. And I agree about the washes. Will be interesting to see what happens when the snow melts next year.
Steve- Wow! Thanks for that note. I wish this forum was more busy, but then that would come with it’s own set of issues, I suppose. The r/socalhiking forum of Reddit is pretty good, but I enjoy this format better.
Definitely say hi if you see me on the trail.
Happy Holidays to you too.
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