Happy #1 birthday to Grandson Maximus.
A day to explore the area. In the morning, we go into Kerville to find wireless. I needed to send some email about the Pottery School. Had eggs and coffee at Cheryl’s Diner. Then on our way to drive as far north as I can and take a couple hikes. About 10 miles in there’s a sign for Sulpher Falls. That’d be cool. A hike to some falls…
It’s very windy. We head up a trail that hits a dirt road in 100 feet. I can see that the road goes down to the main road near where we began.
So, we continue on the road looking for Sulpher Falls. The road winds up and into a canyon. It splits. We take the upper fork. It a quarter mile this ends at a small loop overlooking the river. Great spot. Except for the unfriendly vibe given off by about 50 shotgun shells surrounding the stone fire ring. So we walk back down and take the lower fork. After a mile this road is winding on and on. No falls in sight. The roads pretty good, so maybe I’ll drive back up here to see where this leads. We walk back to the van.
Onward… up the mountains. There are occasional back country camps and ranches. Some private. Some for tourists.
We’re up high enough to see the snowy passes and peaks.
Past Johnsondale, we get to where the main road is closed. To the right, a road sign says that road continues on for 23 miles and then ends. There’s another sign that this road is closed in 5 miles. Another sign says the Trail of 100 Giants is closed. We drive in. There are two campgrounds along the river. One that I don’t like. The second, I don’t think the van will traverse the rutted road. We drive on.
There are a couple roads that circle out and back around a hill. One is a possibility. But, nothing says YES! So, I turn around I head back intending to drive through all the open campgrounds we pass.
There’s a dispersed site at the junction of Brush Creek with the Kern River. There’s a trail that goes up Brush Creek. So, we go up the creek for a mile or so.
Driving down we pass this waterfall and creek headed for Kern River.
I don’t find any campgrounds that are calling me to stay there. So, we turn around again. I’m nearing one that whispered in an unintelligible voice and a road that I don’t recall seeing says clearly to turn right and go up the hill. This road winds back into a canyon and forks. Neither fork feels safe. Both roads get sandy and after my experience getting stuck in the sand at Elephant Butte I’m not up for a repeat in a location where I have no phone signal and I’m miles from being able to contact anyone. So, I execute a 9-point turnaround. (Didn’t have to demonstrate that in any of my driving tests!) As I can see the river road again I notice there’s a smaller road to the left that goes uphill. It says “Yes”.
There’s a lovely meadow overlooking the river with a great view up and down the valley. Behind is an old jeep trail the goes up into the mountains. Maybe tomorrow… I park and level.
It’s still mid-afternoon, so we head off up the jeep trail. Still very windy. About a half mile up there’s a tree across the path with a “No vehicles beyond this point” sign. The trial gets very steep from here. Looking up I can see a woman and child about 75% of the way up. I don’t see any car, and wonder who they are, where they came from, where they’re heading over that mountain?
I don’t want to go back to the van yet. So we follow another small road with the intent to loop over to the van. This takes us through a small valley off trail. In the thickest spots I carry Sherman. As we’re headed uphill again and the bushes thin out, I put him down again.
This golden lichen grown on some of the rocks on the mountain sides. In the meadow we’re staying in is the only golden rock I saw on level ground. Auspicious…
As we get close to the van I pick him up to check his feet. OMG! He’s got dozens of stickers in each foot.
I find a tree stump to sit on and clean him up. I think I remove over 100 stickers. Most are the twirly kind. Some are foxtails. He seems to flip between being irritated that I’m picking at him and grateful that I’m removing these irritating things from his feet.
When he’s clean, we go back to the van and get in — out of the wind. It’s after 6pm, so we eat and settle in for an early night.