I’ve always been attracted to “blank spots” on the map. In this case, the map was “blank” when looking at thisarea on Geocaching.com and was also interesting in that it’s not too far from Coe HQ, but gets almost no visitors.
I had been from Manzanita Point to Madrone Soda Springs a few times, including a “scouting trip” in this area once before. During April 2010 I got a late start in the day and made it part-way up the OBSCURE Sycamore Canyon Trail and attracted the attention of about 30 ticks. Today I got an earlier start, had my navigation plans prepared a little better, and saw ZERO ticks.
Like last year, it was very slow-going on Sycamore Canyon trail, but I at least had the trail entry point scouted-out (and a Geocache placed theer last year as a navigation beacon). It helped me quite a bit to get up and out of the Madrone Soda Springs canyon much faster.
After completing the “on-trail bushwhacking” and breaking-out into higher elevations on the Sycamore Canyon Trail, I found my path to be wide-open, as I expected it to be from my satellite route-planning. BEAUTIFUL!
There were absolutely no signs of hiking or bicycling tracks, new or old. There was one set of recent truck tracks, presumably a local rancher. (One of the senior volunteers at Coe HQ said nobody from the park had been there for several years. A rancher used to allow a Park truck to drive-up on Fitzgerald Ridge Road, but not any more.
If you’re tempted to go: The navigation from the Madrone Soda Springs trail to lower Sycamore Canyon Trail is a bit tricky. The trail is overgrown and seasonal ticks are waiting in large quantities. Good navigation skills and a sense of direction are important. Also, look for faded pink ribbons and newer orange ribbons as a partial guide. I can answer some basic questions by e-mail if you’re thinking of trying this.