Above the Fog
December 12, 2004
While most of the San Joaquin Valley was sopped in fog today, I drove up the Blue Ridge
Road in search of sun. I found it and what a beautiful day it was above the fog!
The Blue Ridge Road is a very narrow, very steep road, like every other road that goes up
into the southern Sierra. It is just a few minutes from where I live on the Sequoia
National Forest. At the top of the ridge, elevation 5,733, is an old fire lookout and a
couple of cell/radio towers. There are also a couple of lucky people who own cabins up
there and are blessed with an amazing view every time they spend time up there.
What's especially amazing about the Blue Ridge Road is nobody but locals seem to know
about it. Shhhhhhh, can you keep it a secret?
Blue Ridge extends westward from the Great Western Divide and divides the Kaweah
River drainage from the Tule River Drainage. There are amazing views that stretch
westward to the coast range and eastward to the Great Western Divide. To the north
and south are the expansive oak-dotted Sierra foothills.
For all the big views there are also many little treasures to be found on Blue Ridge...
|Looking to the Great Western Divide
Mt. Silliman is on the left and Alta Peak is on the right
|Dennison Ridge and Moses Mountain
And if you're careful enough you may even spot some wildlife signs... Did a mountain lion
pass this way?
This is the old Forest Service Lookout that is no longer manned. Also near the top of the
ridge is the small Blue Ridge National Wildlife Refuge which was established in 1982 to
protect critical habitat of the endangered California Condor. This is part of a larger
Bureau of Land Management Area of Critical Environmental Concern. According to the
BLM, "Blue Ridge has been an important California Condor roost location close to nesting
and foraging areas. Both the historic record and recent surveys by the National Audubon
Society, the Condor Research Center, California Department of Fish and Game, and the
Bureau confirmed frequent use by condors from June through August. It is also
suspected that periodic use of the roost occurred throughout the rest of the year." I
have yet to see a condor up there but I hope someday I will!
Blue Ridge was the first foothill mountain people had to cross while travelling on the
historic Jordan Trail. This trail originated in Yokohl Valley near Exeter and travelled
southeast to cross Blue Ridge and then continue on over the southern Sierra. John Jordan
built this trail in 1861 and it was the first to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains in
Tulare County. It was a toll trail that was used mainly by miners seeking silver in the Coso
Mines. Parts of the trail are still in use today.