83-3 Vincent Gap to South Fork Campground via Manzanita Trail

Participants: Tom Chester and Jane Strong
Date: 15 November 1999 (Written up 16-17 November 1999)

Description: For general information about this hike, see The Manzanita Trail. This description will contain only specific items to the hike on this day.

There was gorgeous fall color at South Fork Campground and along the car shuttle to Vincent Gap. The cottonwoods, willows, sycamores and black oaks showed a remarkable range of yellow. A display of bracken fern showed at least four distinct colors: green, light yellow, yellow and brown. The sun shining through the barren serviceberry bushes produced a lavender haze on the hillsides.

Views were excellent along the trail, an unexpected pleasure since the weather forecast was for possible showers, implying impaired visibility.

Water was found in every perennial stream indicated on the topo map.

We saw not one animal other than birds - no squirrels or lizards at all. Perhaps they were already in hibernation for the winter. We walked, or more properly, skated over a large number of acorns untouched by animals, and wondered when they would eventually be consumed.

A mountain biker passed us just before the washed-out section of trail. We saw his wheel track stop at that point when we got there, and surmised he carried his bicycle over that section. That really amazed us, since we were too timid to cross that section and detoured around it using another trail!

Trail condition: Excellent except for the washed-out section mentioned in the link above. As a result, we detoured around that washout using the trail to Big Rock Creek Camp. Parts of the trails were so awash in acorns that we were literally skiing on acorns for brief moments!

Plants in bloom: Essentially none were blooming, except a few paintbrushes were still in bloom along a few streams. However, the fall color was stunning (see above). We also saw a maple tree so covered with virgin's bower in full seed that it looked like a tree covered with bloom!

Weather and water consumption: Much warmer than the predicted high temperature of 50°! It was 62° at Vincent Gap at noon, and stayed about the same temperature throughout the hike. TJC never removed his sweatshirt despite wearing long pants. TJC consumed only 0.6 liters of water.

Bugs: Annoying gnats were still present in part of the trail, especially near Dorr Canyon in the oaks. They went away at lower elevations. At their peak, they were still nowhere near as annoying as the worst of the summer gnat problems.

Number of ticks: Zero.

Number of rattlesnakes: Zero.

Other pests: None.

Explanation of columns for all trip logs

This table contains the raw pedometer and altimeter readings, as usual. However, TJC accidentally brought his relatively new work boots, which look like hiking boots, and hence hiked in those since the only alternative was to wear tennis shoes. As a result, his stride was possibly not the same as usual, and hence the pedometer accuracy might be degraded. A comparison of these mileages with those from Topo! makes it likely that the pedometer mileages are ~14% too high. That correction was applied in the mileages quoted on the trail info page, but not in the table below.

#MileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
00.0011:54 6300Vincent Gap. 62°
10.9812:33 6050Major side canyon. Bigleaf maples knocked over by recent event, resprouting.
21.571:14 5950First of two side canyons. ~15' waterfall over basket of rocks in streambed. A beautiful "virgin bower's tree" covered with seedheads!
31.801:29 5950Second of two side canyons.
42.401:49 5700Beautiful red fault gouge.
53.022:092:215250Dorr Canyon. Lots of bugs.
63.702:41 5350Saddle
74.193:00 5150Next Canyon bottom. Jct. trail up to waterfall? >30' fall, 2-3 tier, with another above.
84.413:15 5200Local high point on trail
94.503:18 5200Jct. Trail to BRCC
104.883:39 5100turnaround - slides have created too dangerous a spot.
115.173:49 5200=9. Left.
125.754:08 4850Jct. road to water tank. Left, away from water tank.
136.254:24 4600Entrance Big Rock Creek Camp.
147.054:56 4800Jct. Manzanita Trail. Right.
157.965:21 4400South Fork Campground Trailhead parking.

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Copyright © 1999 by Tom Chester and Jane Strong.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester | Jane Strong
Updated 19 November 1999.