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Walking up a Dirt Road: Worman’s Mill and Beyond

Taking a walk up a dirt road close to home got me out of the house on a small adventure with some exercise. No wildflowers on this hike but a few views along the 953 foot gain helped make my outing a good one.

Distance: 8.42 Miles (but you can go shorter or longer)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Range: 3,409′ to 4,362′
Date: March 31, 2020
Maps: Ben Hur and Daulton Topographic Maps
Dog Hike: Maybe

I started my walk across from the Worman’s Mill, parking off the road in a wide spot at the intersection of Road 601 and Worman Road and making sure I wasn’t blocking anyone. I headed across the street to take a quick picture of the old Worman’s Mill.

There is an outstanding book by Zelda Garey Dubel on the history of our area called To Yosemite by Stage: Raymond to Wawona and Remembering Cedarbrook Inn. It is full of interesting history that I often reference and it has a section on the Worman family and Worman’s Mill.  That is where my information comes from for this blog.

The mill was owned and operated by two brothers, Daniel and Russell. They first left their home of Augusta, Illinois with their father to Bailey Flat around 1907 where they lived on a ranch. After a bit of traveling between Illinois, they returned to the area in 1910, purchasing a ranch at Nipinnawasee. Their father had died by this time but their mother Mary homesteaded near the ranch and in 1920/21, Daniel and another brother George received patents for acreage in the area. They were listed on census as ranchers, had an apple orchard, raised hogs, cattle, turkeys, sawed lumber and carried the mail from Raymond to Wawona. The Worman Brothers Mill operated from 1918 to 1938, most of the logs coming off of the Worman Ranch but some came off of federal land. They had a water powered sawmill, gravity fed through a ditch about 1 1/2 miles long that was initially dug to run one of the placer mines near Ahwahnee. Cross cut saws were operated by two men who fell the trees and the logs were first brought to the mill by five horses pulling a high wheel cart. Later a 60 Caterpillar tractor moved the logs down. The mill had the first electricity in both Madera and Mariposa counties. Dan had located an abandoned Pelton water wheel with the date 1893 in the Mammoth Mine on the Fresno River in Grub Gulch, purchased it and moved it to the Worman Ranch.

In 1960, Dan was injured when he was pulling a tree with a tractor and a log rolled over him. He was taken to a hospital in San Francisco and after that the brothers retired, selling the property. George passed away in 1976, Russell in 1980 and Dan in 1984. The Harlow Fire in 1961 came up to the boundary of the Worman property.

 

 

 

I headed up Worman Road which turns into N-6S24.

 

I came across a few areas that gave me peeks at views into Nipinnawasee, Ahwahnee and Oakhurst.

As I looked back at Miami Mountain, I could look into Mariposa County and the valley beyond.

I continued up the road.

The road led me through tree skeletons still standing from the Railroad Fire that burned 12,407 acres back in 2017.

The road then wound its way up to a gap between two hills.

After I made it through the gap, I walked a little farther to receive one of my prizes on this walk, views of snowy higher country toward the Fish Camp area.

The road starts going downhill from here and you know what that means. If I headed down it, it would mean that I had to do some more uphill walking and that seemed like a good reason to turn around. If I had walked a little over another 2 miles, I would have reached the Lone Sequoia.

I met one person on a bicycle while I was heading down but you can expect to see 4 wheelers and motercycles on this road.

Dog Hike? Maybe

This could be a good dog hike if your dog is a good fit. The road is lightly traveled by vehicles so you would need to keep an eye open for a vehicle coming around one of the curves. I would imagine in the summer that you could run into a rattlesnake out here also. This is mountain lion country, along with other wildlife that you could encounter. There were a couple of areas with running water on my hike but it probably dries up in summer, so you would probably need to pack dog water.

Doarama:

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.

Worman Mill Hike Doarama

Map and Profile:

Worman Mill and Beyond Hike Topographic Map

Worman Mill and Beyond Hike Profile

Sources:

Dubel, Zelda Garey, To Yosemite by Stage, Zulu.com, Third Edition, 2011.

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