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Martinez Canyon to Jack Miller cabin Messages in this topic - RSS

Brian
Brian
Posts: 87


2/2/2021
Brian
Brian
Posts: 87
I hiked Martinez Canyon to the Jack Miller cabin Sunday and Monday. As with a previous attempt, the gate at 68th and Van Buren was locked. I had emailed the BLM about this and they told me it should be unlocked. So I didn't feel too bad when I found a way to drive around it this time.

The section where the canyon narrows and it's choked with reeds took me longer than expected and my pics suffered as a result. I reached the cabin just after dark and planned to take pics in the morning. But I woke up to the sound of rain on my tent at 3:30 AM. That was NOT in the forecast and the fact I was in a narrow canyon and would have to downclimb a waterfall to get out had me worried. So I packed up and left before dawn and was only able to take some pics of the cabin with my headlamp.



Looking back at Valerie from the road


Most of the hike was over this type of rocky ground which was unpleasant and slowed me down. This is the number one thing that would make me hesitant to do this hike again. On the way out I met a couple ladies riding horses on the road and they told me they couldn't bring their horses very far into the canyon because of the rocks.


Tire tracks went a mile past what is supposed to be the wilderness closure to this spot, which seems to be someone's favored party location.


Snow on the 'Rosas, more rocks, and bones




My best attempts to take some pics of the cabin and surrounding implements in the dark




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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2513


2/3/2021
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2513
Bummer you had to leave in the dark..! It has been awhile since I have been out there, good to see some photos of the canyon and cabin. Thanks for posting...Thumbs Up

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Brian
Brian
Posts: 87


2/3/2021
Brian
Brian
Posts: 87
dsefcik wrote:
Bummer you had to leave in the dark..! It has been awhile since I have been out there, good to see some photos of the canyon and cabin. Thanks for posting...Thumbs Up


When I found out about Martinez Canyon a few years ago, one of the few sources of info I could find was this: https://kathywing.smugmug.com/CaliforniaHikesandScrambles/California-Desert-Hikes-and/Martinez-Canyon-Jack-Miller/

It was interesting to see what had and had not changed in the 5 years since she did her hike. The road and the section with the reeds were both worse than she described (she suggests the road could be driven with 2WD which I think is no longer the case considering my AWD Subaru was losing traction). Also the area around the cabin is much more overgrown now. She has a pic showing a clear path to the door, which is now completely surrounded by brush.

The thing that hasn't changed is the inside of the cabin. I was amazed to look at her pics after having been there. Every coffee jar is in the same place. The same remnants of a blanket is on the bed springs. Even the same pair of shoes hanging from the rafters. It's like the outside world has changed but the inside of the cabin is frozen in time. Kind of eerie really.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 444


2/3/2021
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 444
Great report Brian.
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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 597


2/4/2021
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 597
I intend to do a Jack Miller montage of his other campsites I have found over the years of hiking on the east side of the Santa Rosas. Also, I am amazed how he built and maintained a hand built road up the canyon from the valley floor back in the 1930's. Only a few remnants of the old road remain out in flats before the narrow canyon entrance. I think I found parts of his old Buick. Glad you were able to drive in to the trail marker. I have only been able to make it that far in my truck once. It saves a lot of miles on foot. Great hike. Glad your headlamp made it. Or did it? Thanks for sharing.
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tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 977


2/7/2021
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 977
The only time I've ever drank green water was at Jack Miller Cabin having filtered the next day's supply at The Narrows just downstream. Was there any water running at Jack Miller? Great TR, Brian.
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 87


2/9/2021
Brian
Brian
Posts: 87
tommy750 the spot where I think you found water (where it pools at the falls) was just a puddle that wouldn't have even been enough to fill a bottle. Thankfully I had plenty. There also wasn't any near the cabin that I saw. I noticed a couple spigots outside the cabin and I tried turning one of them on, but it was dry. Not sure if those ever work.
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deborah
deborah
Posts: 109


2/15/2021
deborah
deborah
Posts: 109
Nice report. I haven't been there yet. Looks like a fun place to explore. It is really cool that it's relatively untouched.
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 288


2/16/2021
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 288
Thanks for the report and all the info. I want to get out to Martinez in the spring but I really need to study the roads and maps around there.
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 87


2/16/2021
Brian
Brian
Posts: 87
tekewin wrote:
Thanks for the report and all the info. I want to get out to Martinez in the spring but I really need to study the roads and maps around there.


I knew from a previous attempt that the gate would probably be locked. After looking at Google Earth for a way in, my plan was to go to this point and then parallel the berm until it intersects with the road: 33.554738°N 116.192662°W

When I walked over to that point, it's no longer in the condition that GE shows. It's been filled in with dirt and boulders. There was some evidence of vehicles driving over it, but that would require a hefty jeep. I found a different way in that was more suitable for my Crosstrek. At 68th and Van Buren there are 2 gates at right angles to each other. The gate straight ahead blocks the road into Martinez. The gate on the right blocks a small section of road on the top of the berm. It's possible to drive around the gate on the right, and after only a few feet of driving on top of the berm there's a ramp that goes down the other side. The part that goes around the gate was no problem for my Crosstrek but might be too narrow for a full sized truck.

One other thing. On my hike out I encountered 2 ladies riding horses who said they ride there regularly. I later saw they had parked their horse trailers at the spot where I gave coordinates above. So I'm assuming that's the best place to leave a car for someone who doesn't want to drive in. It would be a 10 mile hike from that spot to the cabin.
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