Some days are just for exploring.
It can be awfully nice not to have a stated goal, just to go see what's what and come home with sore legs and some nice pictures.
|Downstream of Devils Gate.|
Devils Gate on the Lower Sespe marks the end of wilderness on that waterway. I'd say that the Sespe from Alder Creek to Devils Gate is the only true and untrammeled wilderness along it's entire length. Chalk that up to it's rough and remote nature, I've been through there a few times, but on those prior occasions I was generally too thrashed to pay much attention to my surroundings. The Sespe between Tar Creek and Devils Gate is somewhat tiring and difficult to navigate due to thousands of gigantic boulders. Good route finding skills can spare the traveller a lot of effort but it's a tough stretch whichever way one goes. I call this stretch of habitat the Sespe Rock Garden, and there are some truly titanic examples in there. I'm going to have to schedule a day to go back and just shoot artsy black&white photos of rocks and water. This is also prime real estate for many species of migratory waterfowl, and this day's showing was good. Somehow the water levels are holding up, the pools are deep, and the many small cascades are still kicking, the trout still swimming.
|Devils Gate from upstream.|
I was joined on this day by a fellow named Mike who I've linked up with recently for some rock art stuff. He was game for some exploration off and above the creek so that's what we did. We selected a random rocky drainage to climb and get above it all. No real idea what we'd find, if anything. We sure didn't expect to stumble into a few acres of pristine oak forest well above the Sespe, but that's what happened. We had some fun rockaneering the immense talus below this eden, climbing for a good 1,000ft before the land leveled off and we found ourselves traipsing through the trees. I have to say it was really neat to uncover this totally unexpected little gem (which is why they call it "exploring"). After a nice lunch and with nothing else to see up there we dropped back down to the Sespe where I stripped and ducked in for a quick bath. The rest of the day we spent fooling around near the Gate. All in all, a fun day of exploring for exploration's sake. Enjoy the photos.
|Mike, gettin' sketchy.|
|A thin slice of paradise.|
|One of the many naturally occurring oil seeps in the Lower Sespe.|