Long Meadow Backpacking Trip
October 23-24, 2005
I met up with camk24, a gal I met on backpacker.com, on Saturday night and I offered her
my spare bedroom so she could crash.  She had just spent a couple of days in Joshua Tree
with DesertDweller and Tarbubble and then drove over here so she could meet me and go
see the big trees :)  On Sunday morning we got up and packed up and headed out in my little
truck up to Mountain Home State Forest.  This is a beautiful area this time of year as the
dogwoods have all turned red and the ferns and other understory shrubs have turned gold.  
It's also a relatively unknown area - locals know about it and go there but not many tourists
know it's there.  It's just south of Sequoia National Park but has a separate entrance up a
long steep narrow winding road...

The weather was mild and the sky was blue and we only passed one other car and a couple of
Forest Service guys clearing some underbrush.  I narrated the changing vegetation as we
drove up the road from oak woodland to sequoia grove.  When we got to the Mountain Home
Grove Camk24 was awed; she had never before seen the giant sequoias and was impressed
:)  We drove past the Oliver Twist Tree and many unnamed trees on our way to the Hidden
Falls Trailhead.

The trail from Hidden Falls northward is a beautiful one.  You basically hike parallel to the
river (the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River) for about 3 miles, then cross
it, then hike parallel on the other side for a couple more miles.  The River runs between
Moses and Maggie Mountains and this time of year is not running very high but has many
delightful little waterfalls and swimming holes.  For most of the hike you are within the
Middle Tule Grove or what some just consider an extension of the Mountain Home Grove.  
As a side note, if it were considered part of the same grove it would probably be larger
than the Redwood Mountain Grove and thus be the largest!

We had only hiked a quarter mile or so when we passed a rock on which there was an ominous
note written...  "I'm watching you from that tree" with an arrow pointing into the deep dark
old growth woods.  "Which tree and who's watching?" we wondered?  Oh well, despite the
warning we pressed on.

We found a spot to eat at Redwood Crossing and here a dog came along and snuck up behind
camk24 and scared her!  She shrieked and I thought she had fallen in the river or
something, lol!  The dog's owner then went by on his horse and he was leading a couple more.  
A little while later the rest of the pack train came along, some hunters dressed in camo (it
was the last day of deer season).  Then we saw two hunters hiking out.  These were the only
people we saw on the trip.

We hiked on and found a great campsite a few miles in near Long Meadow which is just over
the border into the Golden Trout Wilderness and decided to set up camp and dayhike
further up.  If we had more daylight we might've tried to press on to Summit Lake which is
just over the border of Sequoia NP, but evening comes quick to that deep canyon so we
didn't get too far before deciding to turn back.  We did however see some great views of
the higher country and some neat huge old red fir trees.

That night we made a small campfire and made dinner and had a good conversation.  I slept
pretty well with the sounds of the river in the background.  Sometimes, though, I swear I
heard something splashing in the water!  And once I heard a bear wearing flip flops flip flop
past my tent.  Oh, wait, that was just camk24 ;)

We got up around 8:00 am and sunlight still had not reached our camp but was lighting up the
steep dramatic cliffs of Moses Mountain.  We made good time hiking out and so on the way
home I took camk24 by the Hercules Tree, a giant sequoia that a man carved a 12' by 12' by
12' room in back near the turn of the century, and the Methuselah Tree, #27.

When we got back to town I took camk24 to El Nuevo which has very yummy Mexican food!  
Then we went back to my house and got cleaned up then camk24 was off to LA - she's flying
home this morning.

I really enjoyed this short autumn overnighter and I'm glad I got to meet camk24!
This sequoia looks like its devouring that rock!
Interesting rock on the flank of Maggie Mountain
Our campsite on the river
This sequoia is growing right on the bank of the
river and is probably missing its roots on three
sides but it's still alive...
Views east up toward treeline
The water in the river was crystal clear and cold!!
Fall colors in a meadow
Camk24 sitting in the doorway to the Hercules Tree



May 2004 Trip to Mountain Home Grove
July 2004 Trip to Mountain Home Grove
June 2006 Trip to Mountain Home Grove
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