SOUTHERN SEQUOIA TRIP
July 16-17, 2005
Led by Marian Johns and John Page
Reported by Nan Savage
Participants: Shirley and Bob Bolin, Sunny and Jean Hansen, Marian and Neal Johns, Gordon Lohan, Homer Meek, John Page, Nan Savage, Betty Wallin and Don Sweinhart, and Al Walter.
We met Saturday morning at the Jawbone Station, BLM office, on Highway 14, north of Mojave at 10 AM – a very reasonable time for a start – thank you trip leaders! We were surprised, or was I, to see Gordon Lohan, who lives in Cantil, there picking up his mail. Perfect timing. Gordon then spontaneously joined us and took us to a pictograph site he knew of up Jawbone Canyon Road. We scrambled up some loose rocks to view it; already the temperature was rising!
Then we continued up Jawbone Canyon Road, across Kelso Valley, to its end on Piute Mountain. It was fun to go from desert to mountain terrain in the stretch of a few miles, watching the foliage change as we ascended. The group stopped at French Meadows for lunch among the tall trees and old abandoned structures. Gordon headed back at this time.
We continued along Saddle Springs Road to Bodfish and Lake Isabella. The wildflowers were mostly past by now, having died away in the extreme heat from having been visible just a couple of weeks prior during the pre-run.
We drove along the ridge, which overlooked a beautiful valley and view of Walker Basin. The Lake at Isabella was so high from the rains this past winter that many, many trees were partly buried in the high water. In the town of Lake Isabella, the temperature was a “modest” 108 degrees. We stopped to refuel in many ways. For John Page, that meant a chocolate milkshake; for Dixie, that meant a 99 cent hamburger (no onions) from McDonald’s, lucky dog…We proceeded up Sawmill Road (we wondered what this road would be like in the winter), to Rancheria Road, and on to the Evans Flat Campground where we set up camp and enjoyed a fine potluck. What a lovely place! Lots of trees and mountain smells, especially the sweet smell of evergreens in the evening.
Sunday we left early, along Highway 55. Neal and Marian had been having trouble with their CB; it sounded scratchy at times. Neal finally fixed it, saying that it was nothing, really, as an engineer he knew how to wiggle a few things. Jean piped in to say that two engineers at her office couldn’t even change a typewriter ribbon for her, but Neal rejoined, “Yes, but do they know how to wiggle their things?” Jean was cool, responding “That is against County policy.” Then we drove up the Kern River, stopping to see the falls on the side of the road,
and on to the North Fork of the Kern River. At Brush Creek, we made a hike up the stream to get a taste of the mountains.
It was quite peaceful and scenic, with small cascades of water over boulders, plus a bit of poison oak to evade. We stopped for lunch by the river in the shade of the parking lot, then separated, some for Walker Pass and #395, some to explore the Lake Isabella area, and some to I-5 via Rancheria Road. At the end of Rancheria Road, stopping for a cold drink, my vehicle recorded a temperature of 112 degrees. Unbelievable! Great trip, you guys.