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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 331

Volunteers Sign Trail to Laguna Mountain Gorge and Waterfalls

Fourteen volunteers from Hollister, Salinas, and Monterey along with the San Francisco Area Sierra Club joined up with staff specialists from the Hollister Field Office and spent the weekend of April 26-27, blazing the trail to the gorge and waterfalls deep in the Laguna Mountains.  Volunteers spent 242 hours signing 2.5 miles to the gorge and scenic waterfalls, picking up trash, and surveying botanical resources.  Volunteers will return at a later date to install additional markers, gps the entire trail and include mileages.

Hey, where is “the gorge” anyway?
Volunteers point in different directions before signs clearly mark the trail

The Laguna Mountain Management Area is closed to motorized vehicles and is accessible by foot, bicycle, and horseback. A somewhat rugged hike brings you up and over a ridgeline and then drops you into Miller Creek Canyon. By following the creek, you eventually will find a series of waterfalls up the gorge. Laguna Mountain area provides one of the best areas for hunting opportunities for deer and pigs. The Diablo Mountain Ranges were inhabited by the Ohlone Indians for thousands of years prior to Spanish, Mexican, and American colonization of California.  The Laguna Mountain area has many prehistoric remains of the Ohlone’s big game hunting and acorn collecting activities.

 Looks like the gorge is way over there.
Volunteer uses a map to point out where the gorge actually is

Each volunteer picked up a marker and proceeded down the trail.  Everyone took turns lugging the heavy post pounder.
Volunteers carry marking posts

 Installing a marker
Installing a marker 

Adding the final touches
Applying the final touches to a marker post

Selecting the right spot for the marker is a role everyone plays.
The group offers suggestions on the best place to put a marker

Laguna Creek is also a good place for R&R.
A good place to lie down and take a break

Sierra Club trip leader Vicky Hoover relaxes by the creek before preparing the dinner meal for all of the volunteers.
Sierra Club trip leader Vicky Coooper relaxes by the creek before preparing the dinner meal for the volunteers. 

Then all of the volunteers scatter to their sleeping bags for a quiet cool evening under the twilight of the stars.
Volunteer cook Vicky Hoover sits on heir sleeping bag after nightfall

Laguna Mountain Gorge at sunset April 27, 2008, while evening snow fragrance the air.
A field of white flowers at sunset

Sunday morning everyone woke up, ate breakfast, and trekked to the waterfalls -- with the way now shown by this marker:
A sign shows the way to the waterfalls

This is a smaller one...
A small waterfall pours over rocks in a field

...here is one with an eight-foot drop...
This waterfall has about an 8-foot drop over rocks

...and this one falls about 16 to 20 feet:
This waterfall has about a 16-  to 20-foot drop

There’s another 25 ft waterfall just beyond this one.  Who would have known that such beauty lie hidden in the Laguna Mountains? 

During the course of this project, Botanist Bruce Delgado and volunteers performed a botanical survey.  So, if you should decide to embark on this moderate hike, don’t forget to take time to smell the flowers.  Like Downingia cuspidate:
These flowers are purple with yellow centers, and a band of white between the colors

...and more flowers...
purple flowers amid the bare ground
A close-up of a hand holding a pink flower
Delicate white flowers with purple highlights

By the end of the weekend – 24 hours later of hard work, volunteers had come and gone but the remaining volunteers posed for a group photo.
A group photo

- Lesly Smith, 5/08

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 331

Last updated: 05-14-2008