Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Los Padres National Forest by Peter Bruce

The Trip

The last creature found on Bubbas "LEASED" land

We go this way "WHY"

The morning laundry,what is in that bag ?

This is all I need

River crossing

Behind closed "LEASED LAND" Gates

America closed for business or at least camping

Alcohol and Machete, great combo

Frosty morning


What a site, sad it was "LEASED" Land

Cool river crossing

OK this story may start out a tad boring,cause as you can tell I have just cut and paste some info from a local tourist page here. But the meat of the story is below.

Los Padres National Forest encompasses approximately 1.75 million acres of central California's scenic Coast and Transverse Ranges. The forest stretches across almost 220 miles from north to south and consists of two separate land divisions. The northern division is within Monterey County and northern San Luis Obispo County and includes the beautiful Big Sur Coast and scenic interior areas. The "main division" of the forest includes lands within San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern Counties.The sad part about this great area is no one going there knows if you are in the Forest or not.

I continue...

After a nice ride down there on the back roads through Carmel and a tasty lunch at a local bar,we started to look for a camp site. Does'nt seem to hard, right,we are in the wilderness,sort of . Well people think again. Riding down Arroyo Seco Rd we turned on to Elm Rd, which was mapped as a dead end/Road closed on a 2010 map. Seem like a good place to find a quite site for 3 bike travelers . Maybe.

The first site we found was perfect. Flat meadows,lots of fire wood and right on the river.Nothing like waking to the sound of a flowing river in the morning . We took the bikes off the road and started to set up camp only to be told by a local that it was private land and the lady who "OWNED" it would not like us camping there. I did not see any signs . But in fairness they did tell us if we went down the road a mile we would be in Los Padres National Forest,"you can camp there" and no one can bother you. Sounded fair, off we went. At the end of the road there was a BIG gate,with no more than five locks on it. Someone did not want others to get in here ,but this was Los Padres National Forest ?. The area out side road had been worked over by cows,very uneven ground and the smell was well,less than nice. The three travelers thought long and hard about staying here,using lots of judgement and rock,scissors,paper we came to the result that we would jump the gate and camp in the nice flat green meadows. After all this is Los Padres National Forest and we pay taxes to use this land . Just when you are ready to settle in,find some fire wood and enjoy being no where for the night and few off road trucks pull up. On the front of the first truck was a very unhappy passenger (see photo below). Three men in army style camouflage hunting gear got out of the trucks. "You guys are'nt thinking of having a camp fire here" one said. Well not really, we were just going to camp for the night and move on in the morning ,with all our trash and recycling.
NO GO. It turns out the older man, who was about,lets say 60, who by the way was the only one who spoke. The other BUDDERS were just along for the ride and of course to kill animals with guns did not say much. Come to think of it they did not say anything. Back to the story, so the older man said he "LEASED" the land. I hand never heard of anyone leasing National Forest,but maybe he leased the road going into the forest. After a back and forth conversation about who was right and wrong. The Map, the other local who said this was Los Padres National Forest and given the fact that these men had guns we decided to move on. Wait I said you lease this land. "Yes since 1972" WOW... I thought. That make him won of the smartest hunters I have ever come across. He started leasing part of Los Padres National Forest when he was about 25 years old. Dam wish I was that smart when I was 25 years old.

At this point I had pissed of the leader and thanked one of the BUBBAS for tripping over my orange tent line, it did not seen worth the fight,given they had guns and the best we could do was a few REI pocket knives, and of course Jesses machete and who the hell know where that was packed. We started to slowly pack up. They were nice enough to let us take our stuff throw the open gate not over it. No they were not just w
Jess at this point was smart enough to make friends were the only man in there group who could talk. He show him the map we used ,clearly showing the road ending in Los Padres National Forest but as we had learnt from our hunter friends the map was wrong. He did tell Jess about another camp site a few miles down the road. Piney Creek.
Off we went,after the gate was locked with all five locks to protect this LEASED land.
Here we go again,third time lucky. Piney Creek here we come. Home sweet home for the night.
WRONG. See photo below.We forgot that America was going to be shut down on friday and of course who needs camp site when the government can not even stay open for business. Piney Creek was closed. But not totally. The gate was closed, there was a sign posted, unlike our former LEASED site that only had "NO HUNTING" signs. At least the US government let us no where we stood. LOCKED OUT.

After another long drawn out debate ending with rock,scissors paper it was off to the only place we had left. No not Hotel 6. A Mum and Dad paid camp site. The three adventurous riders were beaten.

It was not so bad. Running water,bathroom and lots of people who did not know how load they were and how far their voice traveled in the woods at 2 in the morning. Yes were were camping next to a group of kids from UC Davis who thought they were camping on the side of the 5 freeway and hard to scream a 2 in morning to all the others in the group to help look for there tooth brush. Who the hell needs to brush your teeth when you are camping,I guess those UC Davis rules and Regs and striker than I thought.

It was a cold night as you can see from the frost on the bikes, but thanks to may new Big Agnes 15 degree sleeping bag I was warm. Morning came and with lots of grunts and groons from tents we all got up and hit the road.

A fun ride home with a short stop at a place I have wanted to visit in a while.National Steinbeck center. Well worth the money.
And if you are the only Russian man with a AAA card you get $1 off entry

Hope you enjoy

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cherry Lake near Yosmite by Peter Bruce Photo

Cherry Lake

New tent

Filipino Militant soldiers at Cherry Lake ???


stone masonry 101

Getting on the road

Never make fun of the BBQ

Earth Cooler


$1000 art seat

AA is for quitters

A little Ansel Adams

Icing the fall

Priscilla queen of the camp site...

Making home better

What sign

What a place to hang

What a great trip to Cherry Lake up near Yosmite in California with 3 good friends

Click the link below to see where we were located.\-119.89912

If the above link does not work, try this link:,-119.89912&ll=37.98844,-119.89912&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

Cheery lake is the largest lake in the Stanislaus National Forest. Cherry Lake is just outside of Yosemite's borders. Open all year, perfect for summer recreation, road access is subject to winter closure. Cherry Lake visitors can enjoy an uncrowded lake perfect for water sports, swimming, fishing and hiking. The Day use area is on the West side of Charry Valley Dam with a boat ramp and a designated swim area.

Cherry lake is fed by the North, East and West forks of Cherry Creek. They begin in the Emigrant Wilderness and all of them flow roughly southwest. The water from the lake (reservoir) powers the Dion R. Holm hydroelectric facility power plant. It was built by San Francisco as part of the Hetch Hetchy Project, which supplies drinking water to San Francisco. Human contact with the water is allowed because the water is filtered.

It is at an elevation of 4,701 feet.Cold at night but the days are the best

From Groveland Ranger District Office head east on Highway 120 approximately 5 miles, turn left on Cherry Lake Road; follow Cherry Lake Road 20 miles to Cherry Lake. Cherry Lake Road is a narrow, steep and winding paved route where safe travel speeds average 20-30 mph. But if you really want true feeling follow the dirt road pass camp site 14 and hike in. You are right on the lake

Hope you enjoyed the photos,let me know

Cheers Peter Bruce Photo