the old trail
We always stopped at the staging area at the west end of Lockwood Creek to air down, lock the hubs and shake it off before entering into the wild current. We are kindaí late and donít get started until noon. Depending on the time of year the creek can be 2 to 3 feet deep and raging with enough force to literally push you downstream. Extreme care was always our concern and slowly moved down stream. The visibility was poor, however, we paid close attention to how the water was rushing over the rocks. A few would get high centered and then the current would help release them from the hidden boulder and slide from side to side like in those bumper car scenarios. We continued our momentum down stream, up the ledge and finally were out of the water for now. We arrived at the very first campground and decided to set up camp. Evening came quickly and so did the drop in temperature. Just before we retired I could smell gasoline. Everyone started inspecting their rigs. Damn it... it was my F-150. One of the side tanks had been slammed into the spring hanger bolt and pierced a hole into it. So I plugged the hole with a small piece of cloth and smeared silicon sealant over it. Weíll see what kind of results are in store for me tomorrow.
The next morning we made breakfast, packed our gear and I check out my handy work. That silicon crap is amazing. Hardened up real nice. Now everyone is ready and weíre off to do some more river rafting. Our next stop will be the campground across the Piru Creek just to the right of the Miller Jeep Trail. Very nice location up against Alamo Mountain. Off we go. The trail is not to bad and really no worse than the drier times of the year. We just are extra careful not to do anything dumb. So itís passed the old gate opening in the fence and down into the creek. We traverse the creek over to the over side where it is normally dry. The water is up onto the left bank and spilling back into the normal waterway. Itís a little dicey but we all manage. We continue on by-passing the Yellow Jacket turn off. We reach what we normally call the mud sluice, but discover that we can only see the high reeds bent over from the force of the water. We know that this area can be treacherous and we slowly inch our way in. Again the current helped out. Felt like we were going to sink a couple times. One by one we make to over to the rock face and try to climb out. Everything is so wet we are having a tuff time getting traction. We would get the front up, but then the rear would start to dig a deep hole. I decide to try and by-pass this area by going to the left. The holes and rocks made the job almost impossible. Ahhhh I make it, but tell everyone not to try it. I move my truck over to the Rock Face and pull everyone out of the creek. You could hear the bubbling from the tail pipe as they approached the rock. It was nasty. We are on our way again. Most everything was okay except the crossing that goes under the trees. Here you have to maneuver down around some obstacles, then into the water and up the other side. We got a little sideways here a couple times. We continue on by-passing the next turnoff (124,125), I forget the designation. We are now getting close. Thankful for us we used good judgment and kept our cool. We arrive at what we call Lockwood Flats. This is the large open area just before turning right to go over Lockwood Creek again and then up Miller to the left crossing Piru Creek. The crossing here was kindaí scary for some of the smaller vehicles. The water was so high that it actually blasted its way over the hood. I could feel the truck slipping sideways, but I inched my way across. At this point I think I need a change of underwear. Just in case someone should get wash down stream we fastened two 30 foot snatch straps together and always had one end anchored at all times. We made it. One more crossing and to camp. Well we had a similar problem on the next crossing. Piru Creek in this section has two raging streams at the crossing. Once across the first one then it became easier. The thick brush helped a little and then itís a quick right turn to the campground. We all get there safely, my engineering plug held, and there was no other mishaps. We had a couple hours before dark. We set up camp, relaxed and got totally hammered. Nothing like good tequila to settle your nerves at the end of a wild adventure.
We stayed a few days. Went up Miller without any problems. Some snow at the top. Actually Miller was a cake walk compared to Lockwood. Perhaps itís because we do the trail so much. No pictures of this event, however, hereís a few from other trips.
Very little talk about the 'old' days and 'old' trails. Have something to share? E-mail us.