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Vineet Buch
(VineetBuch) - F
Backpacking the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness on 07/03/2006 10:30:09 MDT Print View

The Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness in Northern California is a compact little wilderness; apparently this has prompted trail planners to cram as much climbing as they possibly can into relatively short trails :-)

Just returned from a solo 3-day/2-night trip into the Yolla Bollys, starting from the northern trailhead at Stuart Gap, traversing south to Solomon Peak and back. 45 mi/12,000' of climbing, gorgeous views from ridgeline trails, perfect weather and abundant water in a region usually considered dry. I didn't see anybody else - not a soul - in the wilderness, although bear scat occurred roughly every quarter mile. No bear sightings, though, but plenty of deer.

Trails are easy to follow (OK, I had a GPS with the trails uploaded to it, but still ...) despite many fallen logs. Trail tread adheres very closely to that shown on my National Geographic Topo! Map. It also adheres to the fall line on a slope, i.e, these trails were originally built for horses and so take the shortest - and steepest - route. I've backpacked Coe and Ventana, and the Yolla Bollys make both look easy. But the views, solitude and varying ecology make it all worthwhile.

This region is not on commercial flight paths, apparently, because I neither heard jets nor saw contrails. The only man-made sound, apart from my own labored breathing as I strugged up the steep trails, was a USFS helicopter surveying lightning-induced fires in the wilderness. My inspection revealed these to be mostly smoke ... no flames visible from a ridgeline overlooking the fires.

See pix at http://vineetbuch.slide.com/c/Yolla+Bolly+Middle+Eel+Wilderness . Mouse-over pix for captions, double-click for larger shots.

Edited by VineetBuch on 07/03/2006 10:30:49 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Backpacking the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness on 07/03/2006 10:37:38 MDT Print View

That made Coe look easy? Mannnn. Ventana can add some nice elevation gains. Still sounds like a good trip though

Vineet Buch
(VineetBuch) - F
Re: Backpacking the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness on 07/03/2006 10:45:37 MDT Print View

Consider this: on Saturday, I stayed between 6000' and 7200', but in 14 miles climbed 4300'. In other words, trails in the Yolla Bollys consist exclusively of steep pitches ... at no time did my altimeter log show that I was walking on a flat trail. You can't develop a rhythm because the trail undulates so much, and the downhills are actually worse than the climbs because they're too steep to go down fast ...

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Backpacking the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness on 07/03/2006 10:57:07 MDT Print View

Pretty much how Coe is. Still sounds like a fun weekend.