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Jackrabbit Lake '04

38.49 miles
March 28-31, 2004
Jared Atkins, Dave Sholer, Brad Steiner

Day 1: 17.39 miles; +3795', -5120'
We started hiking probably around an hour before sunrise and reached Jackrabbit Lake in the late afternoon. Once past Los Cruceros, we saw no one again on this day except for a patrolling ranger truck on Orestimba Creek Road. Water was definitely scarce and the trail grade intense. "Rollar Coaster Ridge", since renamed Willow Ridge, has no shade to speak of and should regain the appropriate title it once had. I would recommend carrying at least 4L of water if not more. Note that most of these backcountry reservoirs do not have flowing inlets or outlets for collecting & filtering water. Most lake water needs to be pre-filtered to get out the muck that will clog your filter. The backcountry trails in the Orestimba Wilderness are not labeled very well, sometimes don't exist, and often have significant overgrowth. Jackrabbit Lake is a nice place to stay. We had tried on 2 seperate occasions to reach the lake in a day; this was the first time we made it successfully. The were no man-made camping areas around the lake, which holds a certain solitude that might resemble creepiness at dusk, due to the towering ridges surrounding above. We slept under a GoLite Cave 2 tarp.
Day 2: 13.91 miles; +2017', -2015'
Early in the morning as we were packing up, Jackrabbit Lake had a thick layer of fog sitting on top of it. We hiked back to Orestimba Creek Road and headed north, quickly heading west onto Red Creek Road through Paradise Flat. As there were no trail signs (or often trails) to speak of, we thought we may had past the turn-off for the Chaparral Trail but, after a few quick compass readings, we found the correct "trail". The Chaparral trail is steep and, at times, directly follows the narrow ridge, almost always in direct sunlight. We had lunch in the middle of the County Line Road. We cooked some chili (which we decided not to cook at Jackrabbit) right in the road, figuring we had little chance of having a truck come through during our meal. We added a significant amount of Tabasco sauce, quickly forgetting that we were out of water (even after planning ahead). After lunch, we hiked the rest of the way up to Bear Mountain and then followed Bear Mountain Road all the way back down to the creek, where we knew water was awaiting us. We hiked another 30-45 minutes at most, almost until sunset, and then quickly made camp for the night, just right off the trail in a clearing (just short of Arnold Horse Camp).
Day 3: 7.19 miles; +2021', -1257'
We headed straight back to Henry Coe Headquarters via the Narrows and up China Hole Trail to Manzanita Point. We arrived back at HQ by 9 or 10am.