Monday, December 22, 2014

The Yeager Mesa

The Yeager Mesa is one of the most difficult to reach places
in the Santa Ana Mountains.
The Yeager Mesa are two meadows high up the walls of Trabuco Canyon, in the heart of the Santa Ana Mountains. These twin meadows are nestled below a dense forest of Bigcone Spruce and oak woodland. The canyon below is chocked with alder, sycamore, maple, and scraggly oaks. The trail to this high oasis begins at the end of the Trabuco Canyon Road, starting east on West Horsethief Trail, ascending the floor of this incredible canyon. From time to time a trickle of water surfaces to form the segmented Trabuco Creek, babbling through the trees. After some time of easy hiking the bottom of a steep slope appears, with obvious signs of use ascending its face. The path up the front face of Yeager Mesa is only a quarter mile in distance, but over 400 feet in elevation gain. It's slippery, steep, and often muddy. It is very treacherous. The reward at the end, however, has surpassed almost everything I've seen before. The meadow plastered with small Bracken ferns, and the spruce forest behind towering above. The area burned in the 70s, but the larger, old growth trees are charred but still grow. The pictures you're about to see were taken on two trips, the first was in October, the second on the shortest day of the year after a week of drizzle. The conditions on both trips were some of the finest hiking conditions I've witnessed.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Striped Butte Fossils and Spring Flora

Striped Butte is the dominant landform of Butte Valley, and is, as the name implies, striated with different colors of rock. When I was here the spring bloom was on its tail end, but still made for some nice macro pictures. All of the visible fossils are marine organisms, mostly sponges and coral, so apologies if the title misled you to massive jurassic bones and skulls. Other formations in the park, including the Lost Burro formation and the Tin Mountain Limestone include larger corals and sponges, also pleistocene lake deposits include Mastodons and other larger fossils.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Greene Denner Drake Mill

1946 Pontiac Streamliner
Up in the Panamint Mountains on the slopes of Pinto Mountain is a small,  very well preserved mill camp with a cabin and what remains of a mill. Small, remote, and quiet, it sits at the end of a long-closed road in a small canyon among the sagebrush awaiting the next visitor.

First view of the camp from down canyon.
The history of the location is partially lost to history, and only a small amount of its history is known for certain.