Sally, Raven and their human pack had been holed up inside for too long, a result of our recent storms. We didn’t have to travel far to find good snowshoeing, interesting things to see and Mother Nature’s snow art in Fish Camp.
Where: Sierra National Forest
Distance: 5.09 miles (but you can go more or less if you want to)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Elevation Range: 4,990′ – 5,422′
Date: January 31, 2017
Topographic Quad Map: Ahwahnee Topographic Quad
Dog Hike? Absolutely!!
We drove north on Hwy 41 and just before the Tenaya Lodge, we turned right on Jackson Rd./Big Sandy Rd. We drove down, just far enough that we could park well off the road so we wouldn’t block any snow equipment or cars using the road. The area where we parked was super icy so I put on my microspikes, then we started walking down the road toward the Pack Station.
We hadn’t headed up too far until this Snowman said howdy to us.
We wandered down to Big Creek to check out the creek.
We headed up the hill to meet the Big Sandy Road that we started out on toward the Pack Station. There was a tree across the road at the upper end of the Pack Station and since we were going to head up and off the road, it was a good spot to stop and put our snowshoes on.
At least it seemed like a good place until the dogs decided to help me.
We all lined up for the next phase of our adventure.
We headed uphill, skirting the northeast side of the Pack Station corral. The snow was so deep, it almost covered the fence posts of that corral.
Deb and Raven led the way, breaking trail.
We came out at the old cabin and checked it out.
We decided to continue up the diversion ditch to check out the waterfall, which is at the junction of the Big Creek and the diversion ditch.
The Madera Irrigation District (MID) has pre-1914 rights to divert water from Big Creek (Big Creek Diversion). The Big Creek Diversion originates in Big Creek, a tributary of the Merced River. This Diversion is located just upstream of Fish Camp, Calif., where the water is redirected to flow down Lewis Creek, a tributary of the upper Fresno River.
We sure didn’t plan on the amount of down trees on the ditch. At the beginning we were able to climb over them.
We had to leave the ditch bank at one point to negotiate around some trees. That wasn’t as easy as it sounds on snowshoes because we had to climb down about 6 straight feet, then climb back up that vertical ditch bank. Deb demonstrates her technique.
We finally reached a point that just looked too tough and turned around, short of our goal of getting to the waterfall.
We headed back down the bank of the ditch.
Raven led us the way to our lunch spot near an old apple orchard. The old fence posts provided our seating and the dogs provided the entertainment.
We decided to head back on the road, even though it was a bit longer. We came across icicles along the road and down in the creek.
A snowcat had left tracks on the road, making it a bit easier for us on the return trip.
We came across some snow that had magically moved on its own, creating interesting designs. Some thought they looked like snails and others thought they looked like cinnamon rolls. What do you think?
We all had a wonderful day and some good exercise. One of the pluses for this hike, whether it is in the snow or on the dirt, is that it is close by. In the fall, there are oaks that turn beautiful colors and in the spring, the dogwoods put on their show. You can chose to walk farther up Big Sandy Road, even up to the Nelder Grove, if you wish. Lots of possibilities on this hike!
Dog Hike? Yes
Here are the Sierra National Forest rules for pets from their website:
Domestic pets are allowed in wilderness areas. You are responsible for their actions as well as their welfare. Pets should either be leashed or under direct voice control. When camping in areas with other visitors, pets should be kept on a leash. Wilderness visitor’s who plan to travel into an adjacent National Park should be aware that National Parks do not permit pets.
When in campgrounds, public beaches or on trails local ordinances require pets to be leashed. As a consideration to others, please refrain from taking pets to beach areas to prevent contamination. Domestic pets are allowed in wilderness areas. You are responsible for their actions as well as their welfare. Pets should either be leashed or under direct voice control. When camping in areas with other visitors, pets should be kept on a leash. Wilderness visitor’s who plan to travel into an adjacent National Park should be aware that National Parks do not permit pets.
- Clean up after your pet. It will only take a few minutes and there is no single action that will more favorably impress your fellow campers.
Map and Profile:
Prior Blogs in the Area: