3 Days, 28 Miles Loop Late March 2008
Location: Ventana Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest, near Carmel Valley, South of Monterey California
Trail Conditions Poorly Maintained as there are only 3 Rangers for the entire wilderness.
Carmel River Trail
Puerto Suelo Trail
Big Pines Trail
View from the Parking Lot
Trail Leading from Parking Lot Heading to Los Padres Dam
Spillway from the Dam
Mild Temperatures, Slightly Chilly at Night
Circling Around Los Padres Dam
Typical Trail Condition
One of many wide and narrow streams or rivers to cross
Water was refreshingly cold
Lost on the River
We missed an obscure trail maker; yellow plastic tape
We spent 20 minutes heading up the river looking for a trail
Only to back track...running into a group of 4 guys who had followed us up stream
One of some 18 to 20 Stream and River Crossings
Our 1st real test of using trail running shoes in the water
Mesh shoes dried out pretty quickly and feet felt fine, despite damp socks.
My shoes were Inov-8 Terroc 330s
Not much of a campsite...more like a smelly bog like area
Keep pressing on
Buckskin Flat Campsite
Better Location with more clear spots for pitching a tent
Water was a little walk away
One of many wide and narrow rivers or streams to cross
Waters were refreshingly cold
Some even had large fish swimming gently in deeper pools by the river
Tony Crossing one of the deeper streams
The deepest streams were only slightly higher than the knees
There were two decent sized campsites here, but we struck out for Round Rock Campsite, which was 1 mile away.
There were two high school groups heading in opposite directions that were meeting at this site in the middle.
With only 3 Rangers for this entire wilderness, many of the trails have become grown over.
This is the trail to Round Rock Camp, which was a bit of a bushwhack.
Funny thing, passing a campsite, I found an unburned Duraflame log that was sitting on an abandoned fire ring. Pyro that I am, I carried it one handed through the brush to our campsite some distance away.
View from the Trail to Round Rock
Round Rock Campsite
This site stands above a nice stream which gives you easy access to water and a nice view below and something to listen to as you sleep.
Mountain Laurel Designs Poncho Tarp and Soul Side Zip eVent bivy and Henry Shire Contrail Tarptent
Point of interest is the partially collapsed picnic table in the background, which had carvings in it dating back to 1972.
View Descending from Round Rock
After a steep climbing out of the Valley and away from the stream, the trail turns left and heads steadily up as we attempt to reach Ventana Double Cone, which is a saddle of peaks.
As you can see, the trail is completely grown over.
Stopping for lunch after one hour of literally crawling on our hands and knees through the brush & branch choked trail.
Our clothing was wet from the moisture on the vegetation and we had our fair share of bruises and cut.
We contemplated pressing on and spending the night up on the ridge to be able to make it to the Double Cone, but without knowing if there was a source of water, we reluctantly turned back.
Ventana Double Cone in the Distance
Looking back toward the Dam
Going Down the Rabbit Hole
The trail was a mix of crawling, crouching and walking with your head down at 90 degrees.
Our packs were constantly snagging branches but suffered no damage.
Jeremy Torn Up
Trail Heading to Pat Springs
Jeremy Checking to see where we are
Looking Back at the Ridge with Ventana Double Cone
Kicking back at Pat Spring
Great spot jutting out from a hillside to a clearing.
The fog would roll in in the evening and blanket everything like a sea of cotton with ridges poking out like islands.
Not a bad view for Dinner and Morning
Enjoying a Leisurely Dinner and Sunset
Tarp & Bivy Morning
Descending Down Away from Pat Spring
Typical Trail...could use a little maintenance
Following the Old Fire Road/Break Down
Looking Back Where We Came From, you can see the Grey Fire Break
Sea of Poison Oak
Cool Grey Skies on the Ridge
Leaving the Park
Pretty, but don't touch the Poison Oak
Destination in Sight
IF YOU HAVE ANY PHOTOS FROM TRIPS THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN IN THIS AREA, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST THEM UP ON THIS THREAD...THEY ARE MUCH APPRECIATED!
Other photo essays by Tony:
BPLer's GGG: San Francisco Bay Area, CA.; Mt. Diablo
BPLer's GGG: Yosemite: Hetch Hetchy Resevior to Rancheria Falls
BPLer's GGG: Point Reyes, CA
High Sierra trail to Mt. Whitney
Yosemite: Glacier Point to Red Peak Pass to Lake Merced
Yosemite in Winter: Crocker Point & Dewey Point
Yosemite: Lake Vernon & Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
Yosemite: Tenaya Creek