Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fraser Flat Campground

I love hiking...and I really enjoy hiking with my husband and my dog. So, I'm always looking for new hiking places that are dog-friendly. Luckily there are still places in the Sierras that allow dogs on trails, and Stanislaus National Forest offers many interesting places in which one can do so.

Not far from Fraser Flat campground is the wonderful Sugar Pine Railroad Trail. My husband, Meeks, and I hiked the section from Fraser Flat campground up the 3% grade trail to Post #9 and back, total ~ 7 miles. The trail was once a railway line used for logging in the early 1900s.

The trail runs beside the South Fork of the Stanislaus River, which provides plenty of opportunities for those that love to fish; but for us, it provided a place to experience springtime nature.

Shortly into the hike, we noticed the contrast of the vibrant, red snow plants against the brown, wooded path. While we hiked under the canopy of pine and deciduous trees, we vigilantly watched for the "mileposts" along this section of the trail. 

At each of the nine post markers, I read from a pamphlet about historical highlights that can been seen from the marker. Across the river, was a flume and ditch, the Philadelphia Ditch, that was built in 1899 to supply gold miners with water to work hydraulic diggings. Today, the flume is still used to carry water to Spring Gap for power generation.

Being a person that grew up on the East Coast and thinking Dogwoods are an East Coast tree, I was surprised and delighted to see the Dogwood in bloom.

The diversion dam provided us with a waterfall. It was wonderful to see that this winter's snowfall was filling the river with swiftly moving water. We were told that the fishing hasn't been good though.

We came across Cardinal Catchfly in a section of the trail that was out in the sun.

On the return to the campground, we stop at the bridge to take in this beautiful view of the Stanislaus and the flow of the swift current moving down the mountain. The elevation here is about 4,800 feet.

Back at the campground, we were just one of three campers. The weekend crowd had headed home-thank God.

The campground is situated along side the South Fork Stanislaus River. This campground was once an important railroad logging hub. 

This was the morning view from the RV dinette of empty campsites. The sites are spaced generously away from another site. Even though the road passes by the campground, we only saw a couple of trucks heading off to a campground further in the forrest.

Meeks was always inspecting the site for critters.

 Fraser Flat is now on our list of campgrounds to visit in early Spring.