09 December 2012

Chorro Grande

Los Padres National Forest

Locate the trail head.

With the remains of the day, I decided to do a quick jaunt up Chorro Grande to the waterfall to see if it had a bit of water, too. It isn't very far or much climbing. It can probably be seen from the road somewhere, but that would be cheating.

Chorro Grande
Chorro Grande has its sign back!

There were a few cars parked at the trail head. The sign has returned, so it is much easier to find and be sure about again. My timing was bad, so even though I wasn't going far, I still had to face down five mountain bikers on the narrow track. There's a few nice rock outcrops for looking at along the way.

sandstone poking out from the brush
A bit of the outcrop of rock that eventually is the fall further to the east.

And the result? Dry. Very, very dry. Not altogether unexpected.

Chorro waterfall
The dry waterfall about half a mile up Chorro Grande.

I got back down as the last of the mountain bikers took off. I took off for the top the easy way leaving one more out on the trail.

Turning onto the ridge road, I found it is developing some very nice holes. Mostly long and deep ones, but a couple small and deep tire killers. Everyone was already cleared from Pine Mountain Campground when I passed. A few were still coming down from above. I was going to grab the first site by the sign where the trail goes down to Raspberry Spring, because it's just so cute, but the campsite isn't so I opted for something a little further. I found a rock with a deep puddle that was half frozen over from the night before so made sure I was set for a cold night. I did battle with the Whisperlite which wasn't pressurizing, but it hadn't bargained on someone actually having the instructions after a decade and the battle was brief. Then I watched the last of the sunset and the spots pop out for a while.

sun setting from Reyes Peak Campground
A big ball of fire dropping down through the trees.

I noticed a couple lights bobbing along below, generally hidden by the trees. Ah, found the last hikers. I tucked into bed on 2" of oversized car camping Thermarest luxury, but wasn't quite warm enough with it and the layer of pine needles until adding a layer of basic blue. Fell asleep to the wind howling loudly through the treetops but leaving the ground alone.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 12 Dec 2012

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