On the Eastern Sierra, high colorful peaks of red, white and gray are incredibly beautiful all on their own. But wait. Picture them decorated in fall colors of yellows and reds, then add a dusting of white snow. And if that isn’t enough to get excited about, imagine covering even more ground exploring this country on the back of a horse. That is exactly what I did!
Where: Hunewill Ranch at Bridgeport, Humboldt-Toyiobe National Forest
Distance: 9.16 Miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Elevation Range: 7,150 – 7,564’
Date: September 29, 2019
Hunewill Ranch’s Fall Color Ride out of Bridgeport was an adventure that I have had my eye on for a few years and this was the year that I made it happen. This is the second of 2 blogs on my adventure there, the first blog was about life at the ranch and the second blog is about one of the horseback rides that I took up a beautiful canyon with fall colors accented with fresh snow.
We had a choice of rides each of the 2 riding days and we signed up the evening before. The rides varied in distance and difficulty, all of the non-meadow rides taking us through fall colors along the canyons and ridgetops. This was all new country to me and I had not explored any of these areas. It was a really tough decision and I finally landed on the Summers Meadows, Buckeye Canyon and Molybdenite rides.
Please meet my horse for the rides named Hollywood. He was a wonderful guy with sure feet. The below picture was taken on the first ride up to a ridge overlooking Twin Lakes then up to Summers Meadow and a bit beyond.
It was a cold morning after a light snow but the wranglers had the rigs ready and horses saddled, ready to load.
We all loaded up and drove to the Buckeye Creek Trailhead. The creek and trail are named after the lumber mill that Napoleon Bonaparte Hunewill started in 1861 to supply lumber to the town of Bodie, hauling the wood across Bridgeport Valley with teams of oxen.
It really wasn’t that cold, probably low 20’s.
And we were bundled up, feeling pretty toasty.
We headed up the snow dusted trail, lined with yellow aspen trees that sparkled in the sun.
It wasn’t long before the country opened up and we could see some amazing views of ridges with the names of Flatiron and Buckeye, with high peaks of Eagle, Victoria and Hunewill.
When we arrived at the open area, the wind was doing its thing and all of us were no longer feeling very toasty. We worked our way out of the creek bottom, a bit higher and into the trees to get out of that cold wind. I am sure our ponies enjoyed their break and I hunkered down behind a big rock, enjoying my lunch.
We headed back down the same way that we had come up the trail. I probably would have taken more pictures if I could have felt my fingers when I took my gloves off to be able to turn my camera on. But that is the way things go sometimes.
When I got home, I learned that Sharon Giazomazzi had written an outstanding book on hikes in the area that I had visited. Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons Sonora Pass to Pine Creek has detailed information on this ride/hike, along with the Molybdenite ride I went on. She has written many books that serve as wonderful resources to have, chock full of trail information and loaded with interesting history. So, I got this book and sure wished that I had it before I rode. But now I have learned of many more trails in this area that I need to explore.
Dogs are NOT allowed on the Hunewill Ranch or their rides. If you are not on one of their rides, dogs are allowed on leash in this area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Below is the dog policy for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest:
Be sure to keep pets on leashes in restricted areas, especially in cattle and sheep country. Bring water for pets and make sure they have nametags. Watch for injuries to your dog’s footpads in rocky areas, on ice or in extremely hot terrain.
- Along roads
- Hiking trails
- Picnic areas
- Other developed exterior areas of the forest
- Must be restrained or kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times.
- Dogs must wear a collar with current tags at all times
- Pick up after your dog at all times – Leave no trace
What is a Doarama? It is a video playback of the GPS track overlaid on a 3 dimensional interactive map. If you “grab” the map, you can tilt it or spin it and look at it from different viewing angles. With the rabbit and turtle buttons, you can also speed it up, slow it down or pause it.
Map and Profile:
Prior Blogs in this Area:
Giacomazzi, Sharon, Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons Sonora Pass to Pine Creek, Bored Feet Press, Mend0cono, CA2005