Thursday, April 4, 2013

Things You Find in the Field: Roads You Shouldn't Take

The road we'll be taking a look at begins at a circular parking area (above and below), and heads up the ridgeline to the right of the drainage centered in the "Bad Road" Google Earth image (above). I haven't attempted this particular road myself, and don't plan on it without walking the mid-slope part of it carefully. Actually, I don't plan on attempting it at all: It looks like a road for "high-markers."
The Prius parked in the circular parking area below the hill climb, which begins just left of the photo.
Having no photos of the beginning of the road, here's a view from Google Earth.
This first part of the road really looks just fine, and there is an almost flat area just over the first rise for turning around.
View of the upper part of the road, which forks.
The main part of the hill climb continues uphill on the right-hand fork, into or through one patch of rocks, and beyond into another. The left-hand fork looks like it's been used to access vehicles that have rolled or slid downhill into the gully.
Closer view of the bad area below, through, and above the rocks.
This part, and maybe the curve just below the fork, looks rather sidehilly from below.
If you happen to make it up this far (into the first set of rocks), don't look back! Instead concentrate on going forward!
Otherwise you might end up in the gully. Vehicle parts are scattered all over.
Interestingly, it appears that Google Earth and Maps captured a vehicle in the process of being dug out. (Click to enlarge, or view here.)
Uphill, the road appears to end in rocks and a series of individual tracks, some of which go back down into the gully.

Instead of this questionable road, I'd recommend taking the switchbacked road that takes off just left of the circular parking area (first photo, with Prius). This road is very rocky in a couple places and requires a high-clearance 4WD vehicle. (We saw a low-clearance vehicle turn around at the first switchback just the other day.) The switchbacked road will take you up to the main ridgeline road, an adventure for another day.

Photos taken in middle and late March during two hikes up the switchbacked road.

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