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2012 Trip Report - San Andreas Fault Tour II

San Andreas Fault Tour II

April 21 &22, 2012

Leaders: Bill Neill and Bob Jacoby &

Our substantial group  met on a beautiful Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Shell station in beautiful downtown  Devore. Like most of the places we visited on this two day trip, we were either  right on the fault or very, very close to it.

     This was the second of at least two trips along the fault. (The original  trip, over a year ago, went from Brawley to the San Bernardino area.) Our group  at this point consisted of 13 vehicles including Alan and Ding Wicker, Emmett  and Ruth Harder who live less than a mile away, Leonard Friedman, Nelson Miller,  Nan Savage and her friend Linda Puffer, Rick Cords, Robert Day, Barbara and Ron  Midlikoski, Danny and Norma Siler, Daniel Dick and Bobbie Sanchez, Craig Baker  and Mal Roode. Bob Jacoby as well as Bill and Gwen Neill were in the lead car.

     Bill Neill did an amazing job throughout the trip interpreting the  geological sites we were seeing. This included providing handouts and presenting  lecture materials as well as providing a running narrative on the CB.     Everyone on this trip learned so much from Bill who earned the nickname  “Professor.”

     Our first stop was at Blue Cut in Cajon Pass where Bill presented a very  informative map of the geological structure of the fault. We then continued up  the old alignment of U.S. 66 and made a turn, as does the fault, on dirt  Swarthout Canyon Road. We then stopped at Lost Lake which was the first of many  sag ponds. (We learned that sag ponds along the fault are essentially standing  water in a pull-apart basin.)

     After Lost Lake we headed on up beautiful Lone Pine Canyon to the town of  Wrightwood which, of course, sits right on the fault. Everyone was amazed at how  extensive Wrightwood is when you leave the main highway and visit the  residential areas. We were all also surprised to learn that the swimming hole  for the Wrightwood Country Club is a modified sag pond!

     After a break at the Big Pines Ranger station we followed a number of rural  paved roads to Devil’s Punchbowl County Park which proved to be an outstanding  lunch area. We then traversed  a variety of roads, paved and dirt, to an  overlook for the famous Palmdale Road Cut. This road cut on Highway 14 reveals  an incredible geological story in a most spectacular fashion. The view consists  of twisted strata and really illustrates the power of faulting. 

     It was already late in the afternoon as we then proceeded west through the  Elizabeth Lake and Leona Valley areas on beautiful rural paved roads. On this  route not only was the scenery beautiful, but the Professor pointed out a number  of sag ponds on the way along the fault. 

    Eventually we reached Frazier Park on I-5 which served as our overnight  area. Some folks camped, but many stayed at the Motel 6. Everyone enjoyed a very  excellent Mexican dinner at the Los Pinos Mexican Restaurant. We had a private  room and a good time was had by all including Larry Boerio and friend Chris  Parker who were joining us for the Sunday trip. We were also joined Sunday  morning by Bob Thille.

     On Sunday morning we got an early start and followed the fault west up the  valley to the beautiful Lake of the Woods area. We then followed Cerro Noroeste  Road as it descended the remarkably beautiful No Name Canyon. Many of the group  had never been in this area before and found this drive to be absolutely  amazing. Many pictures were shot at the overlooks. 

     Now it was time for the real dirt road action to start as we entered the  Carrizo Plain area on Soda Lake Road. The starkness and beauty of the Carrizo  Plain was at times breathtaking as we crossed the boundary into the National  Monument. We made a few turns on some moderate dirt roads and followed the fault  into an arroyo. For those who like traveling up washes, not to mention side  washes, this was your thing. It provided a bit of a four wheel drive challenge  for everyone as we had to pull ourselves out of these moderately rugged arroyos  again and again. When everyone made it up to the Elkhorn Plain we finally  located a lunch spot that was suitable. 

     About 2:00 p.m. on Sunday we reached pavement at California Highway 58 and  everyone said their goodbyes and headed back to civilization. These two days  proved to be very informative and a lot of fun. Could there be a San Andreas  III? We are looking at that right now and, yes, it could happen.


check out the photo gallery - all photos provided by Mal Roode