2022 Trip Report - Carrizo Plain
Trip Leaders: Norma and Danny Siler
Photos by Norma Siler and Bob Peltzman
It was a bright and sunny morning on Saturday, April 23. We met at the Flying J Travel Center in Lebec where everybody gassed up for the day. Our group included Danny and Norma Siler (leaders), Pete and Janet Austin, Craig Baker, Shane Daley (newbie), Leonard and Rebecca Friedman, Marian Johns, Beth Mika and DE Puzzlemaster Bob Peltzman.
We caravanned through Frazier Mountain Park Road with a brief stop at the Ridge Route Museum to look at the outdoor exhibits. Everybody enjoyed this stop.
Another stop was at a campground at 4,000 foot elevation overlooking the plain and valley below.
We continued onto Pine Mountain Club and then down, down, down Cerro Noroeste Road to reach the plain. Our next stop was the Carrizo Plain National Monument sign for a group photo.
We continued on and drove pastsag ponds and chatted on the CB radios about “what is a sag pond?” (According to Wikipedia, a sag pond is formed along a strike-slip fault, which may create a depression in the earth. When water enters the depression from rivers, streams, rainfall or snowfall, it fills the low-lying area, and a pond is the result. Sag ponds of various sizes can be found along the San Andreas Fault, most notably within the Carrizo Plain and Sierra Pelona Mountains)
Our next stop was Traver Ranch - an abandoned ranch from way back when. There is an outdoor exhibit of farm equipment dating back a hundred years. Here we followed a numbered guide to all the farm equipment. And this turned out to be a good spot for our picnic lunch.
Then we drove up Elkhorn Road and for miles we had the Elkhorn Scarp on our left and Temblor Range on our right as we drove on top of the San Andreas Earthquake Fault.
A dominant feature of the national monument is the Dragon’s Back. We drove up to the top of it and had a great view looking out and down into the canyons. Next we went to the recently remodeled visitor center called the Goodwin Education Center. Everyone enjoyed the exhibits and asking questions of the two young park rangers working there.
The most dominant feature of the monument is Soda Lake. We drove along side of it for miles and it was very shiny. We had a discussion on the CB radios about whether it was dry or had water in it.
We then visited Wallace Creek which is a dry wash that shifted 400 feet during earthquake seismic events. Everybody was in awe of it and wanted to stay another hour hiking up and down it, but by then it was 6:00 p.m. and we were ready to head home. The Friedmans lead us through a curvy, winding, rough narrow road up and over the Temblor Range. From the summit we had a stunning sunset view of Soda Lake and Carrizo Plain. This is where we said our goodbyes to each other.
When we reached the San Joaquin Valley floor driving back to Interstate-5 we drove through oil fields with tens of thousands of active, pumping oil wells near the towns of Taft and Maricopa. It was quite a site to see.
Once near the freeway we again said our goodbyes over the CB radios. It was a long day for all and we estimate nobody got home before 10:00 p.m. ~ Danny