17 May 2013

Mono Campground area

Los Padres National Forest

We headed up to Mono for camping and hot springs. The road is currently open and since there wasn't any water in the ford, it doesn't look like it'll be closing for the frogs this year. The web site even indicated that the road was open all the way to Little Caliente. Although people have clearly been driving all the way up, the road closed sign still stands across the road at the ford of Little Caliente Creek. We headed up for a moon light soak in the waters, then camped at Mono and had a poke around toward the jungle the next day. We didn't go very far, and disliking the rather abundant poison oak swishing at our legs, took a plunge through a spot clear of the stuff into the creek bed. We'd seen very little water coming over the debris dam and much of the bed looked dry.

gravel framed by trees
Nothing to see here, as far as water is concerned.

more gravel, with ciffs
More no water areas of Mono Creek.

We walked back up the creek toward the campground. Soon we found a few spots one might imagine were damp and then a little mud puddle. As we continued, the puddles grew, and we even found a small section of flow between two large pools.

mud puddle, not too slimy
A little bit of surface water at the edge of the creek bed with plenty of mud around it.

Matilija poppies with thorns everywhere
A variety of Matilija poppy that is covered from root to seed pod in tiny and extremely sharp thorns. They are an unexpected find for a creek bed.

large pool along the way
The pools get bigger and the cattails, which could be found when it was only damp, got more numerous.

lines of light play along a shaded rock face
Ripples on the water reflect an ever changing pattern on the shadowed rock wall above the water.

We came to a pool with no room between water and thick bushes to walk and turned back into the underbrush instead. Finding the soft spots, we followed a path that had been walked before but not really established and stumbled out into the campground again. It all made for a nice morning poke around.

cliff above Mono Campground
The cliff that dominates half of the short hike.

©2013 Valerie Norton
Posted 21 May 2011

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