The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

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VanMarmot
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The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by VanMarmot » March 4th, 2013, 6:48 pm

Today's choice was: fulfill role as corporate cog or fabricate a heartfelt excuse and go hiking in the sunshine? The sunshine won and I parked at the Catherine Ck TH ahead of what would turn out to be about a dozen cars. The plan was for a big loop out to Coyote Wall and back via Tracy Hill. There were high clouds at the start,

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but these had evaporated into a thin layer by the time I reached Point Rowland. There were numerous grass windows blooming lower down but many had already passed their peak. Several other (some very small) flowers were blooming in places but we're still a little ways from carpets of blossoms.

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After dropping down, circling the lake, and passing the big waterfall that descends next to the old road,

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I reached the lower Coyote Wall TH to find it closed - apparently it was taken out of service once the new recreation plan for the area was put in place. News to me.

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OK, so back to the mtn bike trail, up it to the really cool old road that contours E at 1200', and along that to Catherine Ck. By now, it was a full bluebird day and tanning (or at least a reddish nose) seemed possible.

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I had explored the route over Catherine Ck and up Tracy Hill back in January - it's even easier without snow. The big thrill was discovering - by stepping in them - a nest of voracious ticks in the brush at the creek crossing. :o And, yes, you can climb straight up a 30 degree slope and flick ticks off yourself at the same time. Tracy Hill is an amazing area of oak groves, scattered pines, open meadows, and expansive views. Wispy clouds were coming in ahead to Tuesday's storm, making fascinating patterns.

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Lorain's guide mentions a small pond at 1500' - I was drawn to it by the sound of many, very small, frogs chorusing very loudly.

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After that it was back to the TH past the Arch.

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I had two opportunities to hike the lower Coyote Wall trail before it was closed, so it won't go down as another one of those missed opportunities. Having continued access to Tracy Hill seems like fair compensation. 12 mi RT, 1800' EG.

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romann
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by romann » March 4th, 2013, 7:59 pm

Nice TR Van, I like black-n-white photo of the arch. That's cool that coming to Tracy Hill is relatively easy from the creek, makes a nice loop by combining those (usually) separate hikes. Great shots of the clouds as well.

That sign on lower trail - I don't think I understand French language ;). Now if it was a regular white-red sign like ones placed by landowners it would be different matter; my understanding is it's unilateral USFS move to close all unofficial trails in the area or make them official (which was impossible with this trail of course), I've been there twice before and never saw a single sign placed by landowners. But maybe now it changed...

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drm
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by drm » March 4th, 2013, 8:15 pm

The closed trail has been commented on here before and keeps coming up. The sign has been there for many months. The trail is forest service land there at the trailhead but leads into extensive private lands farther up. I think that the majority of the land that that trail was on is private. There are even a few areas of private land on top of Coyote Wall up high that the trail up there goes around. Think of rectangular boundaries where a corner juts slightly past the cliff.

The FS didn't want to maintain an official trail that leads into private property without some explicit easement or official permission, and that was not forthcoming. The landowners did not explicitly close the private land, but neither would they grant official permission and the FS did not want a trail leading into land with that kind of questionable situation. So it got closed. That's my understanding.

It's basically correct that trails that are not official in the new plan will get closed, in that they will not be maintained and may well get branches thrown on them, etc. But cross-country travel on public land is not prohibited in the management plan. They just don't really want to encourage it, particularly where they think it impacts wildlife. But people who want to wander through the grass and ticks and poison oak are allowed to do so. :lol:

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Guy
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by Guy » March 4th, 2013, 10:02 pm

Great photos Bruce, we were there on Sunday & did an 8 mile loop on the East side of Catherine Creek.

Luckily we didn't attract any ticks :)

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Looking down from the Arch

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The Pond


hiking log & photos.
Ad monte summa aut mors

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VanMarmot
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by VanMarmot » March 5th, 2013, 7:52 am

romann wrote:Nice TR Van, I like black-n-white photo of the arch. That's cool that coming to Tracy Hill is relatively easy from the creek, makes a nice loop by combining those (usually) separate hikes. Great shots of the clouds as well.

That sign on lower trail - I don't think I understand French language ;). Now if it was a regular white-red sign like ones placed by landowners it would be different matter; my understanding is it's unilateral USFS move to close all unofficial trails in the area or make them official (which was impossible with this trail of course), I've been there twice before and never saw a single sign placed by landowners. But maybe now it changed...
I think drm answers you pretty completely. I've seen - but have yet to obtain - a new Green Trails map specifically for Catherine Ck, showing the trails the FS considers "official." Will probably get one - mainly to know when I'm brushing off "official" vs. "unofficial" ticks. ;)

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drm
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by drm » March 5th, 2013, 8:50 am

VanMarmot wrote:I've seen - but have yet to obtain - a new Green Trails map specifically for Catherine Ck, showing the trails the FS considers "official." Will probably get one - mainly to know when I'm brushing off "official" vs. "unofficial" ticks. ;)
I wasn't aware that the Green Trails map of the area is publicly for sale yet, but maybe so. The Forest Service management plan shows which ones are to stay open and to be closed. Many minor reroutings for better drainage are in the works. Lots of orange tape up there now and a number of WTA trips scheduled this month. I have not seen that any of the unofficial closings are yet marked as such. Only that lower trail has a closed sign on it.

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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by mcds » March 5th, 2013, 9:07 am

Goregeous photos VanMarmot. And thank you for snow report in regards Wyeth (last month).

Chelle
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by Chelle » March 5th, 2013, 5:05 pm

Very nice pictures! Wish I had that gift

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VanMarmot
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by VanMarmot » March 5th, 2013, 7:41 pm

drm wrote:
VanMarmot wrote:I've seen - but have yet to obtain - a new Green Trails map specifically for Catherine Ck, showing the trails the FS considers "official." Will probably get one - mainly to know when I'm brushing off "official" vs. "unofficial" ticks. ;)
I wasn't aware that the Green Trails map of the area is publicly for sale yet, but maybe so. The Forest Service management plan shows which ones are to stay open and to be closed. Many minor reroutings for better drainage are in the works. Lots of orange tape up there now and a number of WTA trips scheduled this month. I have not seen that any of the unofficial closings are yet marked as such. Only that lower trail has a closed sign on it.
I passed someone on the trail who had one of these maps - failed to ask where he got it. There are new small signs at the 1200' level detouring you around private property. Also some trail work. So the plan is in motion.

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Splintercat
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Re: The Clouds of Catherine Creek 04-Mar-2013

Post by Splintercat » March 6th, 2013, 8:02 pm

...by stepping in them - a nest of voracious ticks in the brush at the creek crossing.
Shudddderrr..... :shock: :?

So, Van... what exactly is a "nest" of ticks that you can "step in"... sounds like my worst nightmare..!! :shock:

I.... hate... ticks.... :x :x :x :x :x

Tom :lol:

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