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Sespe Wilderness - have you been?

I know its not part of the San Gabriels, but has anyone hiked much around the Sespe Wilderness? I'm thinking / planning on doing an overnighter to check out the Sespe hot springs - which are supposed to be really hot - and just wanted to get any tips/info on terrain, camping area, etc... It seems the best hike to do is to start from Mutau Flats and head down 2000 ft 9 miles one way.

I will of course call the ranger's to get more info on conditions / permit info but just wanted to see any opinions here of what they thought of that area.
EnFuego

Hey Ze' - I haven't been there yet, but it's on my "soon to do" list.  In fact, a couple other members and I were talking about it two weeks ago.  If the cooler weather keeps up (without rain of course) I hope to do it very soon.

I hear the hot springs/pools are very nice.  If you do a search on Backpacker Magazine, there is a pretty nice write up.

If you get there before I do, I'll prod you for information.  And Vice-versa of course.

~EnFuego
lilbitmo

Sespe Wilderness

Ze or EnFuego
Give me a hint as to where this is located Question  Might be a good place to go to soak my "Left ACL" that feels like someone hit with a baseball bat.

If it's not to bad a hike I might do it for a chance to soak all day. Wink
Zach

hehe its in the los padres nat'l forest. the hotsprings are so nice because its a bitch to get to... something like 9 miles for the shortest route and up to 12 at other trailheads. it would be a perfect overnight trip.

hi Zach,

 yes that is the one. I'm planning on doing the 9 mile one way route.

are there decent flat spots for camping around the springs?

I will let you guys know how it goes. I'll give a nice TR with all the info you want!
Zach

i myself have not been to the hot springs but have been eying it every time i go up that way. An 18 mile round-trip just seems like it would suck the relaxation right out of the springs... that's why i'd camp... I'm sure there's spots along the way or even right next to the springs that you can just pitch a tent or bivy.
Zach

check out this video... looks like plenty of good places to camp:

http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-trw-sespe7-2008dec07
Taco

Been there a bunch of times. Did some canyoneering down a big waterfall. Mostly stuff accessed by "Goodenough Road".
AW

http://travel.latimes.com/article...ough+slog.&single_page=y#show

http://www.outdoorsclub.org/PastTrip/PastTripDetail.asp?id=13511

thanks for those links. I've read the LA times article before, but did not see the outdoorsclub one. I think they went to the Willett hot springs, which is another hot springs in the Sespe.

the rangers claimed that all the dirt roads to access to of the trailheads are closed right now, and that the 3rd (piedra blanca trail) has many river crossing which they think are dangerous now.  Confused
HikeUp

Zé wrote:
the rangers claimed that all the dirt roads to access to of the trailheads are closed right now, and that the 3rd (piedra blanca trail) has many river crossing which they think are dangerous now.  Confused


Not sure what trail/road this story is about, but it was in Sespe and it certainly was dangerous.

http://outside.away.com/outside/d...a-sespe-wilderness-tragedy-1.html
lilbitmo

Sespe Creek

That's one of the most profound, sad, tragic stories I've ever read and it did not have to happen. Why is it that when people are safe and doing the right thing, others come along and try to play hero? It's beyond me.

I was at the bridge (101 in Ventura) back the early 1990's when the same kind of flood hit that area and wiped out that whole trialer park just north west of that bridge - it was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen. I arrived there just as the CHP's were reopening the Pacific Coast Highway and the water was still touching the bottom of the "Arroyo Overpass", that's thirty plus feet high and about 100 yards wide right where it meets the Pacific Ocean, I cannot imagine what it was like back up stream in the canyons back in 1969 after 16 inches of rain.  The scene I saw back then was like a "War Zone", like a bomb had gone off. People and trailers were swept out to Sea.

Where I grew up in Michigan I saw a 100 foot tall crane sink on a job site after a week of rain into a hole and only the top 10 feet was sticking out after all the rain and mud sucked it up.

I don't care how big the equipment is if the water is channelled moving down hill it can do amazing things - look what it did to form the Grand Canyon - I don't get why people keep messing with "Flood Waters"? You never come out a winner.

This story reminds me of all the examples in Lawrence Gonzales's book "Deep Survival", great read for those who go into the wilderness thinking you know what you are up against.

Hike Up thanks for posting that article, will keep me more aware, especially if I go to Sespe Creek.
Very Happy

damn, that was freaking awful
cougarmagic

Re: Sespe Creek

lilbitmo wrote:

This story reminds me of all the examples in Lawrence Gonzales's book "Deep Survival", great read for those who go into the wilderness thinking you know what you up against.


That is an amazing book - definitely at or very near the top of my list for survival/outdoor drama reads.
Kit Fox

http://www.geocities.com/troop484.geo/camping/hot_springs.html

http://suif.stanford.edu/~nickola...tos/2005/11.19-sespe-hot-springs/


Here is a Google Earth File




Click to download file
AW

Couldnt find the story, but I remember you dont get any breaks parking your car in the Los Padres than you do here...so be advised...hopefully not like the Highway 39 folk..http://www.sgvtribune.com/ci_9134307

lilbitmo,

Are you saying the rescuer(Mr.Sears) was at fault? As I understood it, all Mr.Sears knew was a bunch of kids were out in a dangerous storm along the Sespe...I dont remember it as he knew they were safe in a cabin. Its tough to decide it in hindsight. If they dont make a move to rescue the kids, those same blaming parents would have given them hell. Without a helicopter available(and that too can crash), it didnt seem like there was a solution really available. Have to admit never heard of using a tractor to travel the Sespe, but I think it should be a lesson learned.

I am not sure about the exact details, but Im not sure those kids were forced to be rescued. If a rescue takes place, it doesnt mean people are forced to go with the rescuers decision...as long as they are doing anything illegal, I doubt Sears could have forced anyone to do anything...but I am not sure about that completely.

At that point he had over-confidence in that tractor...but whats odd to me is that outdoor deaths are mediacized as blame blame blame, but urban deaths(such as traffic related) are simply dismissed. A outdoors death is a choice, while being a resident in a city with murderers and people who dont know how to drive is intelligent...it doesnt matter who you are you will always be at fault in an outdoors death if you are somehow associated with said person..as if these same people who think they are so intelligent didnt already know the second guessing started well before they started spouting off.

Finally, IMO, a real tragedy that his son bought into that same lie...that if a person goes to the outdoors they truly are not a family person. Yeah that worked, thus thats why hes back out in the Sespe...nah it wasnt some "psychologist" overconfident in philosophy.
lilbitmo

Misunderstood

What I was saying was that "to often people will respond too strongly with what they think is the best solution to the problem" without thinking it through all the way. I don't care how big that tractor was, how much it was raining - starting in the day light would have been a much better idea for all concerned - for one thing it's hard to reference "Rising Water" in the dark, the landmarks you would use are not that reliable in the dark.

Being in a cabin, warm, with a choice as to weather they should go or not should have fallen to a day light choice or rescue - not a "let's get the hell out of here attitude". Most people do better with "Descisions" after a good nights sleep - as the story states they took some time to get all the way out ther there to that cabin, and it was going to take some time to get out - they had food for another day, what did it matter going in the morning? The parents were going to be antsy no matter what - live people can take the heat and anger - those that don't come out alive make no difference.

I don't blame anyone for the decisions made, I've made some that could have cost me dearly but when it comes to others - especially children that rely on "Adults to make good choices" I think they missed the boat on this one, hindsight or not. Raising water is one of the most unpredictable things there is - and as the story relates it was still raining - which means the river was getting higher - if anything - if need be - they could have used the tractor to channel water away from the cabin they were in and waited for a helicopter rescue in one or two days or gone to higher ground if the cabin was in danger of being "Swamped" - the story does not relate the level or conditions surrounding that cabin.

What was the hurry? Better to be late and alive then to have it end the way it did. As the book "Deep Survival" points out some of the greatest "Survivals" that have taken place are where those that were in trouble"Re-assess" the conditions as they changed and knew that "Prudence" was sometimes better than "bravery". I just feel that there was too big a price to pay to "Go Balls Out" without the kids having a choice about what they were getting into.  

I think everyone should go into the wilderness and do it often. I think it makes us better people, better able to handle "Urban Life", better able to be productive in society as a whole. But when things go south as they often do, I think that people doing rescues should either have the proper skills or at least of all consider all possible solutions before taking action. From the recounting of this tragedy by the one survivor, nothing like that happened - he was out voted by the other adults and only one options was truly looked at. They were in too big a hurry to get out - but we will never know the extent of all conditions becuase we were not there at that moment.

It's my hope that someone will learn from this and not always trust equipment based on it's size - Gonzales book talks about the breakdown of a "System", the more links in the system the easier it is for those to breakdown and the potential to cause bigger problems when all involved are dependant on that system - in this case the tractor.

Blame suggest I know better, I don't. They made a fatal mistake that cannot be undone but all of us can learn from it and I highly suggest that more people read books like "Deep Survival" it opens your eyes to how easy it is to compound problems and how important it is to pay attention to changing conditions and have the best attitude possible to save yourself when in those situations.

I hope I never have to make that "Big" of a decision - they were brave men trying to do the right thing. But if I do, I hope that I can remember the mistakes others have made and make decisions based on the best outcome not the quickest. We tend to want to be out of bad situations fast (and understandably so).

It's like the sign on the floor of the "Stone Cabin" on top of Mount Whitney that says - do not take refuge in this building during rainstorms or lightning as it has a tin roof - but folks still do it.

Sometimes the signs are there but we are so into being "out of there" that we misread them.
AlanK

Re: Misunderstood

lilbitmo wrote:
It's like the sign on the floor of the "Stone Cabin" on top of Mount Whitney that says - do not take refuge in this building during rainstorms or lightning as it has a tin roof - but folks still do it.

Funny you should mention that subject.  There was a pretty extensive discussion of the lightning protection system of the Smithsonian Hut on Richard Piotrowski's message board about 18 months ago.  If and when the board comes back, I'll provide a link.  Basically, a grounding system was designed before the fatalities in 1990 and installed afterwards.  The discussion was... well... enlightening.

Re: Misunderstood

AlanK wrote:
 The discussion was... well... enlightening.


Laughing very nice
Hikin_Jim

HikeUp wrote:
Zé wrote:
the rangers claimed that all the dirt roads to access to of the trailheads are closed right now, and that the 3rd (piedra blanca trail) has many river crossing which they think are dangerous now.  Confused


Not sure what trail/road this story is about, but it was in Sespe and it certainly was dangerous.

http://outside.away.com/outside/d...a-sespe-wilderness-tragedy-1.html
Yeah, I remember my dad telling me that story -- of the people getting sucked off one by one.  Freakin' horrible.  I had never really read about it in detail.  Sucks.

I still remember the Jan. 1969 rains to this day even though I was only 6 at the time.  I remember it just raining and raining and raining.  We've had wetter overall years, but the timing and intensity of the '69 rains has not been equaled.  Big T canyon was awash side to side in the section down by the 210.  That's a lot of territory; that was a lot of water.

The '69 rains also destroyed the trails back in the Sespe that my dad and I tried to use on our ill fated 1984 one day hike that wound up lasting for three days.  I remember crossing and recrossing Sespe Creek after rains and flash flooding.  The creek was probably 35' wide and above belly button deep -- and freaking cold.  That hike was the time I crawled into some bushes to take shelter for the night -- and woke up in the morning only to realize that I had spent the night in poison oak.  

Scott Eckersly is right:  Life is a gift to be appreciated.  I didn't go through what he did, but I too survived the Sespe.

Hikin_Jim wrote:
 That hike was the time I crawled into some bushes to take shelter for the night -- and woke up in the morning only to realize that I had spent the night in poison oak.


Shocked

i don't even want to imagine that
Hikin_Jim

Talk about getting PO into your personal spots.  I was messed up for a month afterwards with PO.

I recovered from the hike in a day or so.  From the PO... that was actually the cause of most of the post hike suffering.

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