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Oriflame to Cottonwood Canyon 3 day BP Messages in this topic - RSS

tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 984


4/25/2017
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 984
As a very sketchy Plan B to a cancelled Santa Rosas backpack trip three weeks ago, Gary and I, the last hikers standing after cancellations, decided to head out to Oriflame Canyon. The canyon, an entry to the Lagunas for centuries, was first traveled by a European in 1772 (San Diego Military Commander Pedro Fages chasing deserters) and later by postmen, miners and ranchers. We started at the old CCC Camp Hark where workers carved out the Mason Truck Trail in the 1930s.

Steps from an abandoned Camp Hark structure.

Stairway to Oriflame by tomteske, on Flickr

Heading up Oriflame Creek. Still nice and green with lots of flowing water.

Oriflame Creek by tomteske, on Flickr

Really spent only minutes looking at GE and a topo map to plan the hike and only had a few points on the GPS. We were to head upstream till we got past BM Roost and then head left up to a "plateau" behind Oriflame Mt. where we would explore old mining and ranching sites. Gary was pretty skeptical but brought the wrong topo map so was stuck with me leading the way. Finally bush whacked our way 1,000 ft up to the base of BM Roost aided by brush clearing from prior fires.

BM Roost on the right and Whale in the background.

Boundary by tomteske, on Flickr

Lots of old troughs and feeder pipes leading mainly to tanks from the old ranching days.

Tank by tomteske, on Flickr

Made our way toward some mines high in Oriflame Canyon passing by beautiful magenta purple colored bushes I don't know the name of.

Magenta by tomteske, on Flickr

Magenta Bush by tomteske, on Flickr

Spent the night above a gurgling Oriflame Creek.

Camp 1 by tomteske, on Flickr

Never grow tired of this sound. Click to listen.

P1020525 by tomteske, on Flickr

The next day, headed nearby to explore some old mining ruins.

The remains of an old mining shack destroyed by one of recent fires.

Cabin Remnants by tomteske, on Flickr

Bed by tomteske, on FlickrOr

Nearby shafts.

Mine Shaft by tomteske, on Flickr

Shaft by tomteske, on Flickr

Lots of bush whacking on old mining roads choked with brush and fallen trees. Gary heading through a nice meadow.

Gary Grass by tomteske, on Flickr

Made it to a old ranching site with an abandoned car.

Wreck by tomteske, on Flickr

Door Handle by tomteske, on Flickr

Wandered a few feet away and stumbled onto lots of pottery and flakes and this nice green Desert Side Notch, abandoned before completion.

Green Point by tomteske, on Flickr

Unfinished by tomteske, on Flickr

My smugness didn't last long when a little bit up the trail, Gary found an amazing Paleoindian Lanceolate point.

Paleo by tomteske, on Flickr

Really weathered. Showed this pic to Jeff Sahagun, BLM Archaeologist, and he was quite impressed with Gary's find.

Paleo Point by tomteske, on Flickr

Finally made it to the top of Cottonwood Canyon. The old ranching road and now Cottonwood Hiking Trail would take us 2,000 ft to the canyon floor and our next camp next to the flowing Salt Creek.

Cottonwood Canyon by tomteske, on Flickr

Tommy750 by tomteske, on Flickr

Gary heading down.

Lone Hiker2 by tomteske, on Flickr

Camping next the the flowing Salt Creek and serenaded by frogs all night.

Salt Creek by tomteske, on Flickr

On the final day, visited a rock art site Daren said was nearby. Interesting cupules with four vertical grooves.

Pit and Groove by tomteske, on Flickr

Lots of old ranching and mining ruins on the valley floor. An old rock cabin partially hewn into the surrounding granite.

Rock House by tomteske, on Flickr

Chimney by tomteske, on Flickr

Carved by tomteske, on Flickr

View2 by tomteske, on Flickr

Looking west up Cottonwood Canyon.

Cottonwood Canyon 2 by tomteske, on Flickr

The trip ended up being about 19 miles, 4K G/L. Multiple streams crossed and lots of green for a change.

Gary holding the cold beers he hid in Oriflame Creek for our return. Enjoy. Tom

Three Cold Ones by tomteske, on Flickr
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