#87 East Fork Ranger Station to Allison Gold Mine

Roy M. Randall

27 October 1999

I got to Allison Mine last Saturday. It is, as most have reported, a heinous bushwhack. Fortunately, since I knew what to expect, my trip was not nearly as epic as those reports that your site links to.

The trail from the saddle below Iron Mt. is hard to find. When I arrived at the saddle, I heard voices and soon spotted a trio starting up a track going up and left from the saddle. I hailed them and asked if they were headed to Allison Mine. It turns out that they were bound for Iron Mt. and were starting off route. Having climbed Iron the week before, I put them on the right course and asked if it looked like what they were following might be the Allison Mine trail. They said they thought it was SOME trail, so I tried it myself.

I quickly found that the tracks they were following petered out and it seemed to me that I was too high for a trail that should be angling DOWN to Allison Mine. I saw what might be a trail below me, so when I found a scree chute heading down, I followed it. I hit the correct trail about 20 feet below the false start and about 50 yards from the saddle.

I had come equipped with some pruners. I hoped to cut back some of the brush and leave the trail somewhat better than I found it. I could see that cutting had been done along this trail, but it must have been a long time ago. I defanged every yucca that I encountered and widened some of the tunnels through scrub oak and manzanita. I started to develop some nasty blisters on my fingers from the clippers (no work gloves, duh). Finally I looked at my watch and the map and realized that I had blown most of the afternoon just covering the first mile of the trail. I would have to quit cutting and just push through if I wanted to see the mine and get home before dark.

I didn't get to the mine until 4:20. I had no time to look around. I just turned and beat back towards the saddle. I still ended up walking the 5 miles of good trail from the saddle back to my car in the dark.

I wish I could say I accomplished great things and re-opened the lost trail. But all I managed to do was tame the yuccas along the first mile. Some of the worst brush crawling I ever had to do is along the section right before the mine. Some other brave soul will have to finish the job, and it's a thankless task.

What it really needs is two people armed with clippers, loppers, and saw and a commitment to spend two days and an overnight at the mine. Even that won't restore the trail which is badly washed out in many areas. But it would make the trip less torture than it is today.

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Copyright © 1999 by Roy M. Randall.
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Last update: 1 November 1999.