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Brian
Brian
Posts: 98


11 days ago
Brian
Brian
Posts: 98
It has long been my goal to spend more than one night in Rockhouse Valley. Last season I made progress finding water sources. This was my first time combining them into a longer trip.

I did a couple day hikes in October, but this was my first backpacking trip this season. People who don't do this sort of thing often ask me if it bothers me to go alone and I have some stock answers (I carry a PLB, etc). While I usually don't feel a lot of anxiety, for some reason this time I did. But it worked out well and gave my confidence a boost, even if I am still worried about throwing out my back some day when I'm setting up my tent.

There was a mud flow down the entire length of Rockhouse Canyon that wasn't there last March. Must have been a wild ride during one of those summer thunderstorms.


This was at the mouth of one of the canyons. Not sure what this was used for.


I've always taken this pic facing toward the valley before. I think the rockhouse shows up much better with the hills as a backdrop.


The granny flat




This spring wasn't covered with as much brush as it was when Rocko and I visited last year.


Trail shrine?


Moon rise taken from inside my tent


My tent is strategically placed between the 2 branches that might squish me if they came down




I wonder what was in the little bottle




I had never noticed this before on a rock right across from Hidden Spring. Most of it seems to be names and the date 1936 and also (just out of frame) 1937
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 890


11 days ago
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 890
Good-looking trip, thanks for the report! The drive to the start point is much more dangerous than the backpack trip itself. The anxiousness wears off with each additional trip. Find any animal tracks in that dried mud?
edited by ziphius on 11/19/2021

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Brian
Brian
Posts: 98


11 days ago
Brian
Brian
Posts: 98
I didn't notice animal tracks in the mud but there were plenty in the sand. The cottonwoods area looked like a mountain lion highway, just as it did last year when Rocko and I were there.

On another note, I found a pair of glasses near 33.483192°N 116.403909°W (not that exact location, just that vicinity). If anyone here lost them, I've got them.
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Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 103


11 days ago
Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 103
Brian wrote:
I didn't notice animal tracks in the mud but there were plenty in the sand. The cottonwoods area looked like a mountain lion highway, just as it did last year when Rocko and I were there.

On another note, I found a pair of glasses near 33.483192°N 116.403909°W (not that exact location, just that vicinity). If anyone here lost them, I've got them.

Great trip report Brian!! How far were you able to drive in toward Hidden Spring ?
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 98


11 days ago
Brian
Brian
Posts: 98
I've always parked 9 miles in, where Rockhouse Road bends to the right after the split with Butler. There was one time I tried to go further with my Subaru Crosstrek and that was a mistake. It would be nicer if I could visit the valley without doing that extra hour and a half of road walking, but it's not enough to make me buy a different vehicle. Probably.
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 370


10 days ago
Buford
Buford
Posts: 370
Nice report. That area is a lot of fun. Good to see the springs are clear and flowing.

I’ve seen the road into Rockhouse in various conditions in my couple trips back there, but never Subaru accessible. Having driven to the end a few times, walking isn’t much slower.
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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 600


10 days ago
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 600
Nice trip report. Looks like you made first tracks into Rock house valley this season. The large rock piles are burial mounds. There are several up to the west of the main village. They are all around the Santa Rosas. Your looks too small and probably is a trail marker. The burial mounds pre date the cremation period which started around 2000 years ago. Nice adventure. I too have done many solo trips over 30 years of wilderness hiking so you are in good company. Need to get back out there!
edited by rockhopper on 11/21/2021
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 98


9 days ago
Brian
Brian
Posts: 98
rockhopper wrote:
Looks like you made first tracks into Rock house valley this season.


Someone else wasn't far behind. When I came out there was a truck parked at the road closure and no one camping there. I thought about the fact I hadn't seen anyone at the lower rock houses or while hiking out the canyon, and came to the conclusion someone must have come into the upper part of the valley the day after me.

Thanks for the info about the burial mounds. Super interesting!
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 448


9 days ago
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 448
Great trip report Brian. I'd really like to get back out there. How well were the springs flowing? Also, did you hear any strange voices at the Cottonwood camp?-lol.
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 98


9 days ago
Brian
Brian
Posts: 98
Rocko1 wrote:
Great trip report Brian. I'd really like to get back out there. How well were the springs flowing? Also, did you hear any strange voices at the Cottonwood camp?-lol.


Even though I didn't include pics of it, my first night was at Stifferino. It was a slow but constant trickle and took me a half hour to full 2 1.5 liter bottles. So I guess 6 liters/hour. The one closer to Old Santa Rosa looked about the same as last year. It would work in a pinch but you'd need something to filter the algae. The spring by the cottonwoods was flowing well.

I didn't hear any voices at the cottonwoods (and I was listening for them!). There were tons of mountain lion tracks going past, around and through the campsite, so that had me feeling hyper-vigilant.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 448


8 days ago
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 448
Brian wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:
Great trip report Brian. I'd really like to get back out there. How well were the springs flowing? Also, did you hear any strange voices at the Cottonwood camp?-lol.


Even though I didn't include pics of it, my first night was at Stifferino. It was a slow but constant trickle and took me a half hour to full 2 1.5 liter bottles. So I guess 6 liters/hour. The one closer to Old Santa Rosa looked about the same as last year. It would work in a pinch but you'd need something to filter the algae. The spring by the cottonwoods was flowing well.

I didn't hear any voices at the cottonwoods (and I was listening for them!). There were tons of mountain lion tracks going past, around and through the campsite, so that had me feeling hyper-vigilant.



Nice-anyone into Mt. Lion research would really do themselves a favor spending some time near the cottonwoods-shocking the number of footprints would make an excellent game cam location if the retrieval wasn't so difficult.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2518


8 days ago
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2518
That looks like a great trip Brian, I am glad you were able to spend a few days out there. Gary and I did 8 days out there last time and it was very peaceful, spent two days just hanging around the cottonwoods. That old rusty spoon was carried up from the old 'rosa village by another friend of mine on a different trip. The old coffee pot seems to have disappeared from the cottonwoods. Cowboy camp spring (AKA stifferino) usually requires some maintenance, do you have any pictures of it? We cleared a lot of brush last time and got it flowing good but it usually does not last long.

Barrel spring looks overgrown also, we trimmed that way back last time.

Trail shrines...yes, there are many, it is believed the native americans built those up and many people toss another rock on top each time they pass by.

Nice TR, thanks for sharing.

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Brian
Brian
Posts: 98


8 days ago
Brian
Brian
Posts: 98
dsefcik wrote:
Cowboy camp spring (AKA stifferino) usually requires some maintenance, do you have any pictures of it?


I took pics when I was there in February (just before your trip) and didn't take new pics this time. In Feb the PVC pipe was clogged with mud and I did clear it out. This time there was a steady drip from the pipe. It's what I used to fill my mug. The pool above that is now covered with branches but seemed to be doing OK underneath that. I didn't stick my hand in because there were bees swarming all around.
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tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 984


8 days ago
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 984
dsefcik wrote:
Gary and I did 8 days out there


Who has eight days to do Rockhouse? You guys freakin retired or something??
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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2518


6 days ago
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2518
Brian wrote:
The pool above that is now covered with branches but seemed to be doing OK underneath that.


We cover the top collection pool of water with branches so the animals don't get back in there and stomp mud and dirt all down into it. Unfortunately we usually find someone has removed all of them to get at the larger pool of water and then it gets damaged so no water flows out. Thank you for the report!

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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2518


6 days ago
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2518
tommy750 wrote:

Who has eight days to do Rockhouse? You guys freakin retired or something??


We only left because we ran out of food.....retirement is highly recommended...!! (thank you hikerdmb)

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