My hiking buddy and I went on a little exploratory trip this past weekend to an area I’ve wanted to visit for some time. Neither of us have been in this specific area before but knew the general directions and areas we wanted to visit.
This was a true bushwack trip. We began our hike at the curve in the road heading downhill into Thompson Trailhead. Leaving the vehicle, we quickly saw a trail to our left and took it. It was well trod and easy to follow. That quickly changed as the trail suddenly vanished without a sign of a trail in any direction. We discovered the “flagging fairies” have been having a war in this area. There were orange, pink, blue, green, red, and even a white with orange polka dots flagging tape all over the place. Since this is an official wilderness area, flagging trails with tape is not only frowned upon, but also illegal. I wish people would remove all of this as it’s an eyesore. The flagging didn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason so we bushwacked (and I mean bushwacked) in a generally downhill direction because that’s where we were headed.
After some time we began to follow a small stream (still without any real trail in sight) and after some sliding/scampering we FINALLY found ourselves in the splendor of a box canyon. It was beautiful! There were huge icicles hanging from nearly every ledge.
We continued downstream toward Quillan Creek and found the juction easily. Our route led us upstream, so away we went. Here we found an unofficial trail and followed it quite easily. The walk along the creek was beautiful – I will be coming back to this area to explore more in the future. Since this is an unmaintained and unofficial trail, we had to cross the creek a couple of times. The water was very cold, but thankfully less than knee deep.
Once again, the Sipsey Wilderness has many surprises. This area is amazing!
We followed Quillan creek upstream to the old Arnold Motorway and followed it uphill and out to the main road. Our vehicle was just downhill from where we exited the forest. It was a great area that I plan to visit again once it’s a bit warmer. This time, I’ll take someone who knows the area a bit better to point out the easier way as well as several items I know are in the area but I missed.