McKinley Saddle to MP Basin VWR Trail Recon Hike
Sunday, February 15, 2015
VWR’s: Curt Cragg and Skip Boyland
Objective: Drive up McKinley fire road from Cachuma Saddle to look at road conditions. Check McKinley Spring Camp. Hike from McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Basin to check on trail conditions and tree falls from prior report in anticipation of trail project scheduled for February 27-March 1, 2015
McKinley Fire Road Condition: Excellent, no major washouts, tree falls or slide areas.
McKinley Springs Camp: Full. There was a bachelor party group of 13 backpackers from the L.A. area camping at McKinley Spring. They did an excellent job of cleaning up trash left by previous campers. We hauled out trash so that they did not have to pack it down the road. Counseled them on making sure that they soak their campfire tomorrow when they leave.
Mission Pine Trail from McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Spring: The first mile to two miles to San Rafael peak needs brush work and some tread repair which we will address on the upcoming trail project. There are four tree falls past San Rafael Peak on the trail leading down into MP Spring camp that need to be cleared (see photos). All can be addressed with a 4’ crosscut saw. There are two tree falls just past the camp that also need to be cleared. Areas of flowing water along the trail from recent rain storm.
Mission Pine Spring Camp: Empty. Camp is in good condition. Bears have been chewing on the picnic table. Water flow at spring is excellent and very fresh.
Mission Pine Trail from MP Spring to MP Basin: First two miles past the tree falls near the camp, trail is in generally good condition with the need for some tread repair and brush work, but not overgrown. From two miles east to MP Basin camp there are several areas that need brush work, tread repair and tree clearing. The switchbacks leading into the MP Basin drainage probably need the most work. Most of the tree falls are match sticks, but there are a few larger trees that need to be cleared. This will be the primary focus of the trail project on Saturday, February 28th.
Mission Pine Basin Camp: Empty. The trail junction from the MP Trail to the MP Camp has been lost and needs signage. It is unclear where to leave the trail to hike to the camp and the trail to the camp is hard to follow due to brush and tree falls. There are several tree falls across the trail that passed the camp as well. The camp is showing promising signs of new pine tree growth, but the campsite is barren and has several hazard trees that need to be dropped. There was water in the drainage around MP Basin Camp.
Link to photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ve2f5zw2zr4l992/AACO9PCItZcwbEDd56S12DYya?dl=0