Say you heard from a friend who heard from a guy about a hidden pool-side campsite somewhere off a trail that you thought you knew. Well I'm here to tell you that the guy was right! The campsite does exist, is quite hidden from the average observer, and the site is such a naturally sheltered spot that it has likely been in use since indigenous times. The later statement is verified by the presence of a detailed petroglyph (see below) in the rocks above the site. The site is nestled on a flat earth floor under a massive rock overhang from which drips two springs. California live oaks cut the wind and a large area of the site gets sunlight in the winter. Nearby is a nice pool, large enough for several people to bathe in, with a steady flow of water coming from above. It is a very nice place for a secluded escape, and no signs of recent human use. The photograph below shows the site. Wanting to keep this site to myself I will only divulge two clues to it's location: the site lies under the summit of Pine Mountain and is less than 1mile as the crow flies from Hwy 33. That's all I'll say except that it's pretty cool finding places I had no idea existed.
I found many bits of animals (above photo), mostly birds, that provided ample evidence of a healthy predator in the neighborhood. My vote would be for a bobcat or a clever fox.
In addition to finding the rumoured campsite, I made numerous stops on the way up the 33 for photography purposes. The light was unusually flat because of the overcast skies. This made for a few good photo opportunities. Below: autumn color, a bowl shaped by the endless drip of water from the rock overhang at the campsite, and the tunnels below Wheeler Gorge.
Ortega Hill and Ortega Peak
1 week ago