Day 17: June 25, 2011
Half a Canyon
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Today it was Jim Bomar's turn to lead a tour on his side of the state line. That means Nevada and Jim's choice was Kings Canyon. I knew that high clearance vehicles were required and had been looking forward to driving the road in my new Forester. But I had second thoughts when Jim stated that vehicles "will get some Nevada pin striping" (i.e., small scratches from bushes and branches) and that fact was further stressed in a handout. I know I should probably just take a hammer and get it over with but, at just two months old, going out of my way to get my car scratched didn't seem wise. I wimped out and landed a ride in Jim Steven's Forester. Jim's car was also relatively scratch free but he decided it "was about time". Jim Bomar's jacked up Cherokee and his sons' stripped and ready Renegades raised both confidence and doubt for those driving an assortment of mild mannered SUVs.

This was a wagon road in the mid-nineteenth century but was pretty much abandoned when the railroad came through. It was resurrected as the route of the Lincoln Highway between 1913 and 1925 but was never paved. After crossing today's US 50 and driving a short distance up the dirt road, we regrouped in a large open area where Jim shared some words of wisdom. Then it was off to see the ruts, drop-offs, encroaching foliage, and gorgeous views.


There is lots of rock work along the road to support and level it. While we were stopped to look some of it over, I grabbed a vehicle group shot and a shot of some of the local flora. Some in the group called this a Snow Flower and others called it a Red Popup. I, of course, have no idea. We eventually took off to add mud to the list of observed trail features.

This small turnout provides a pretty good view of some rock work and it also lets us see the trail ahead. The third picture looks back at the turnout from where we came to a stop just around the bend.

The first picture is the view straight out my window. The second is the view ahead. Word filtered back about a blockage and everyone but me went forward to take a look. I didn't fancy opening my door without someplace to put my feet. At last curiosity got the better of me and I climbed across the car and out the driver's door.

A cyclist and a runner had passed us earlier and both had told Jim about the rockslide. Of course they weren't able to pinpoint it exactly or describe it completely though both expressed doubt that we could get through. Jim was hoping that it would be small enough to move or positioned where we could get past. It was neither. The last picture shows the other side of the window I was looking out of a bit earlier.


What next ensued was some fairly high intensity backing and some careful multi-point turning around. Experienced offroaders helped guide and sometimes drove the vehicles until all were pointed the right way. In the last picture, Jim's Jeep is still sitting where it encountered the rockslide. The slide can technically be seen in the picture but it sure isn't obvious and, even zooming in on the area where we now know the rocks to be, does not show the blockage.

The adventure ends with two group shots. One, at our lunch stop, showing that all the vehicles survived and another, back in the parking lot, showing that the people did too. I believe the estimate was that we made it through about five of the old road's twelve or so miles. The rest is still waiting.

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