Trail Report: Weekend at Manastash Ridge

Last Saturday, our small convoy of Jeeps left a Starbucks in Vancouver, for the 4 hour drive to Manastash. Leaving at 7:00AM, we made great time on the way North.

We decided to fill up on last minute supplies and top off the tanks at Whistlin’ Jack’s in Cliffdell.

Stop for fuel and firewood.

We took the second right after Kaner Flats campground (off FS 19), airing down just off the road before Kaner Flats trailhead (trail 676).

The following images are a collection from that trail.

Jesse on Kaner Flats.
Jeff tackling a tough line on Aardvark Hill.
The Jeep and M416 waiting to climb Aardvark Hill.
The rock fields are pretty amazing.
Jesse right behind.
Jesse navigating a tight spot on our way to Manastash Ridge Trail.

Kaner Flats trail is a sampling of just about all the different trail surfaces in the entire Manastash Trail system.  It starts on soft, silty (and dusty) dirt, changes to rocks near the rockfields, and enters rooty, rocky forested taiga.  As the trail nears the intersection with the Manastash Ridge Trail (trail #306), it enters deep forest with some daunting hill climbs and larger rocks.

Kaner Flats trail ends here, at the intersection with MRT.

As we climbed up toward Quartz Mountain, the trail dished more or less of the same terrain.  Snow pockets became more frequent, and the trail was visibly less used.  Areas of trail erosion (from melting snow) added to the challenge and the deadfall trees ensured we had adequate pinstriping.

One of the short (but difficult with a trailer) climbs on the MRT.

 

A pretty nasty washed out section of trail.

We were just about a half mile from the summit of Quartz mountain, when we saw an imposing sight – a series of 12 foot snow drifts.  There were tire marks across them, but the potential for side hilling (and thus rolling over) was very high.  A quick chat with a couple of YJ drivers enforced our decision to retreat.  They spent two hours digging out.

Not happening.

So we turned around and headed back about 1.5 miles to trail #328 where we decided to call it a night and camp in Wells Meadow.

The day would not be complete without someone getting stuck.

 

Wells Meadow is a beautiful alpine meadow with a small stream that ran along the campsite.  And, while the site was just off the trail, it was very quiet and provided easy access for the morning’s drive to Funny rocks.

Camping in Wells Meadow.

I was also a little bored, so with the beer came some drone flying.  I launched the Phantom and flew it around our little meadow to check things out.  The stargazing was also amazing.

Camp from the drone’s eye view.

The next morning, we headed out about 8:30, finishing the small trail to take us out to the main “road,” Manastash Drive (#3100). This road was VERY dusty, but fast and let us make up some lost time due to our relaxed morning.

Jesse leading us down through the snow drifts on trail #328.

We pulled off Manastash Drive at trail #3104, passing Manastash Camp. This led us to trail #307 then #694 on our way to Funny Rocks.

Tight trees and beautiful forest.

While at Funny Rocks, Jeff and Jesse played around on the various rocks and I flew the Phantom and spotted.  Jeff needed a winch on the “V Notch” option.

Jeff, climbing the V Notch!
Jeff and Jesse coming down from the playground.

Shortly after that, we drive up to Moon rocks for a lunch break before deciding to hit the road and head back toward civilization.

We took forest roads back to highway 410 where Jeff noticed a U-joint issue.  We helped him with the axle/hub removal and he had it fixed temporarily (enough to get us home).

Jeff fixing his broken Jeep.

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