Stanislaus River

12:11 p.m. on November 20, 2013 (EST)
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We spent this last weekend at our cabin above Sonora, IMG_8384.JPGand in the middle of our usual tasks of cleaning up and fixing things, we found time for a nice hike down to the South Fork of the Stanislaus River.   It's a nice time of the year to get out on a trail---as the cooler temperatures make some of these lower elevation hikes a lot more fun.  This was a pretty steep trail, and in mid-summer this would have been a hot one!   And yes, there were nice fall colors on the trees... IMG_8392.JPG  The river was now calm and sedate.  Quite peaceful all the way around.

  IMG_8398.JPG And we even found some old mining tailings in the area---and we're already planning to explore those more extensively in the future.   What fun!

11:03 p.m. on November 20, 2013 (EST)
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Yep, now is a great time for lower elevation hikes.

Geology is one of my loves in life, I'd be all over those mine tailings.

2:12 p.m. on November 21, 2013 (EST)
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As I said--we'll be back there to explore more.  And in doing some research, we've found at least five other mine sites within a mile of our cabin.

 

should be fun!

11:22 a.m. on December 5, 2013 (EST)
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We took another trip to our cabin above Sonora last weekend, and this time we decided to check out the trail to an old mine in the area.  IMG_8439.JPG  It was another great day in the foothills, with sunny weather and cool temperatures--perfect for hiking.  The trail starts as a nice old logging (and mining?) road that wanders down towards the South Fork of the Stanislaus  for about a mile and half.   Then it gets very steep for a half a mile.  Still  a "road" mind you, but so steep that I wouldn't want to drive anything with four wheels on it.  And so deeply rutted that we had to carefully chart our route.  Amazingly, we did hear a car further below us---but from the noises it was making, it might still be down there...    Once at the junction, we turned right and left the insanely steep section to follow a smaller road that contoured along the canyon upstream.   This was a beautiful route, easy walking, and despite the fact that it obviously gets very little traffic, it was maintained.  We hiked through numerous fallen trees that had been cleared for the trail.  IMG_8412.JPG  But the best part of the hike was yet to come.  After about a mile on this secondary road, we came to the mine, and spent about an hour exploring the area.  The trail ends at the main mine, but on our way back we noticed two other areas that included a secondary mine entrance and another area that was clearly terraced at the same time--although we're not sure why.  It made for some fun exploring.  IMG_8420.JPG  It's hard to imagine how they dragged these enormous iron wheels down here.  Lots of mules, and a pretty darn sturdy wagon.  There is supposed to be a trail that leads down to the river from the mine itself, but we did not see an obvious route.  And the one trail we did consider was covered with bare branches of what might be poison oak.  We'll come back in the spring, once the poison oak has budded out, and see if we can  work our way down there without getting covered in the stuff. Meanwhile, we had a grand adventure in the foothills---and inspiration to explore more of this area. 

August 22, 2014
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