1.1 mile trail opens in high country; nets 30+ miles of trail goodness

U.S. Forest Service partners completed this tiny 1.1 mile-long section last fall, days before the Butte Fire turned us upside down here in Calaveras County. Naturally our energies pivoted to our community. I am happy to report MCCT board members returned to their homes, although the community has forever changed.

Now almost a year has passed; time to rally around this tiny but very strategic connector trail between Mosquito Lake and Pacific Valley – a huge milestone for two big reasons!

  1. The snow melted and the MCCT east of Lake Alpine to Ebbetts Pass is now open (note: not all trail signs are posted yet)
  2. Hikers and equestrians can travel between Ebbetts Pass to Lake Alpine on the non-motorized trail with sections nearer Hwy 4, rather than the longer partially motorized trail set in the back country

Trail posts are installed at both ends of the new section, as seen in the following images:

Please note bicycling is limited where trail enters Carson-Iceberg Wilderness between Lake Alpine and Ebbetts Pass. See map. Search or zoom in on the orange line in the high country to see Pacific Valley

Caution: It’s still a bit treacherous out there for high country hikers

Spring Safety Tips. Yes, spring safety tips.

It is not a typical July in California’s Sierra Nevada. The snow pack is so dense that it’s like early May out there, but with July temperatures.

There’s a lot of snow out there. There’s so much snow that it’s still blocking access to some mid to high-elevation trailheads. And in the recent heat we’ve had, it’s melting fast. The snow will melt more readily on a south-facing slope, but then you turn around a little corner and the trail is gone. … And when you get to the snow, it gets deep really quickly,

The hazards are many. They’re out there every spring, but the hikers aren’t, at least not in great numbers. But with July and summer temps upon us, people want to get out and explore. This year, they’re finding downed trees, snow obscuring trails, slippery snowfields to cross, and very, very swollen rivers and creeks. Some streams are running so high that they cannot be crossed safely, and hikers need to be ready to turn around and call it a day if they encounter such conditions. Streamflows can increase as the day heats up, too.

Throughout the mountains, a particular danger is posed by “snow bridges,” where snow that typically might have melted by now covers a stream running underneath, making it “invisible” and capable of easily dropping you 10 to 15 feet into an icy torrent.

Hikers are advised to have good “route-finding skills” and to check updated trail conditions before starting out. They also should carry maps, compass and/or good GPS equipment, and know how to use it. Cellphones can be invaluable in an emergency, but hikers should not expect cellphone coverage in remote mountain areas.

As of July 4th Stanislaus National Forest Ranger Station in Hathaway Pines is not reporting closed trails, opting instead to put out appropriate advisories about the abundant snow on trails in the high country and relying on hikers themselves to take necessary precautions and preparations.

Cell phone service is spotty in the mountains, and that it can take several hours for Search and Rescue to arrive if called. You have got to be prepared to deal with an accident or injury without help for a lot longer than you think.

This is where we plead with you to remain alert. Please, please read our safety tips, even if you are an experienced hiker. Refresh your memory. Forward them to your hiker friends. Always carry the Ten Essentials. Brush up on your wilderness first aid skills.

Be over-prepared this year. Hike extra smart this year.

Event: Explore a possible new trail alignment — postponed for a warmer, drier day

We have postponed this event due to wet & cool weather. Stay tuned for a new date!

Biking along the North Fork of the Mokelumne River
                           — National Trail Days June 4th, co-sponsored with REI, Inc.

Description: Celebrate National Trails Days by joining REI and other like-minded explorers on a service trip to assess a possible route for the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail between Moore Creek campground and Tiger Creek Reservoir. This route is on a  series of roads passing through a rugged and wild section of the Upper Mokelumne River Canyon segment of the trail. We’ll travel along a mostly paved road suitable for a hybrid or cyclocross bicycle.  The route starts along the banks of the river at Moore Creek Trail head and gradually heads uphill 1400’ before gradually heading downhill to our destination at the Tiger Creek Reservoir and PG&E powerhouse picnic area. Along the way we’ll introduce you to the Mokelumne River’s land and water recreational opportunities, scenic canyon views, the route’s natural history, timber harvest history, and take in the river’s tremendous role delivering power and water to California and East Bay water customers.

How your National Trail Days participation benefits the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail:

  • Be the first to travel a possible new trail alignment in the Sierra Nevada
  • Document features & concerns
  • Offer your suggestions to the MCCT Trail Council

Length & Duration: 21.5 miles. We will meet up at 8am and begin our ride at 8:30am sharp. We expect several unscheduled stops along the way to comment, take notes and snap photos.

Age: 16 and up

Please bring a lunch, water and personal items & dress in layers. Additional driving and parking details provided after registration.

Make your reservation here!

Group Size: 25

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Required Legal Form:

This Trail Days event requires the participant to read and sign a liability release form before participating. You will need to print, sign and bring the form with you. Stay tuned for the form.

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High Country Meadows trail: a nice day hike

Unlike our lower altitude trails in the Camanche-Pardee segment, this trail, at 7200′, is buried right now under mounds of snow. But it’s a great trail to visit in mid to late summer. A nice 9.2 mile round trip is in store for you, with a couple challenging ridges to conquer. A less challenging option is the meadow meander, offering plenty to occupy an explorer, a family with children, or birdwatcher.

 

a kiosk, one of several installed in the high country in 2010. Very sturdy!

 

This trail works as a day hike or as a jump off spot to head into the Mokelumne Wilderness (get a permit first before going). We’re thinking of calling it the High Country Meadows trail, but if you have a better suggestion, just holler. Details at the link.

Geo-tagged photos here.

A look at funding sources 2009-2010

We are blessed that over $18,000 has come in in the past year to support the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail.

A view of the North Fork Mokelumne River from Moore Creek, in the Upper Mokelumne River Canyon Segment.

What does that translate into for on-the-ground projects?

  • trail signs and kiosks along 16 miles of trail between Moore Creek and Corral Hollow, just outside Bear Valley
  • GPS technology and GIS software to complete a virtual trail planning tool on our website
  • additional opportunities to scope trail alignment in the Delta region

Thanks to everyone for supporting this trail!