After our wonderful camping trip and hiking adventure at Fraser Flat, I decided that my husband and I would explore more of the campgrounds and trails off Hwy. 108 this summer. In the past, our Sierra car-camping trips with our children would always be to Utica Lake off Hwy. 4--another equally beautiful area. On this trip, we were rewarded with the beautiful setting of TeleLi puLaya a.k.a Black Oak campground nestled in the Jeffrey and Yellow pine forest just above Beardsley Lake.
Since there isn't a trail from the campground to the lake, I planned a hike that would take us into the Emigrant Wildness which is located on the other side of Hwy. 108 from where we were camped. After stopping at the Summit Ranger Station for additional information, we were off to explore. And explore we did!
First adventure was off-roading up to the parking area at Gianelli Cabin trailhead, about 8,600 feet. From there, our next adventure was a relatively easy climb up to Burst Rock a.k.a Birth Rock. We stopped numerous times on the way up taking in the views of the granite boulders covered with snow and far off volcanic rock formations, such as the Dardanelles and the Three Chimneys.
Close to the top of Burst Rock there is large sign with historical information about the pioneers that pulled wagons up the mountain. In addition to that information, which is difficult to picture, there is information about a legend of one pioneer lady that gave birth on Burst Rock. Eeks! All I could think of was OMG that poor woman. After the climb, we descended to find Powell Lake, about 2.3 miles from trailhead. The lake can't be seen from the trail coming from Burst Rock. It is located left side of trail coming from Burst Rock and is nestled in granite below the trail. A faint trail junction is the only clue that something of interest is in that direction, no sign.
Once we found the side trail that leads down to this pretty lake, we sat to soak up the peacefulness of this small, pristine lake.
Surprisingly, the walk back to the car was fast and equally enjoyable as heading to the lake. While walking back, I noticed different flowering plants along the trail that I didn't see while heading to the lake. Total miles hiked was about 5 miles and at an altitude above 8,000 feet. Back down the mountain we headed for our traditional camping hour of appetizers, tea (for me) and cocktails (for husband) while resting our weary bones and planning the next day's adventure.
The next morning we headed off thinking we could hike the Trail of the Gargoyles, but the forest road leading back to the Gargoyles is extremely rutted and better for high clearance 4WD vehicles than our new tow vehicle, a diesel Cayenne. So, we decided to drive down pass our campground to look at the campground at Beardsley Lake. That's one steep and curvy drive down to the lake--but well worth the look.
A view looking up the lake and canyon from the west side after the dam. The campsites at the lake look nice, but I would NOT tow a trailer down to camp since the road's incline is very steep. We headed back to TeleLi puLaya for lunch and a walk around the campsite. While walking the campground, we noticed an old forest road near the trash dumpster next to the camp host site. We followed that road until we came to a T-junction, another forest road. From that junction, we just headed back the way we came to the campground. Along the forest road where signs that some folks had driven their dirt bikes sometime recently.
Numerous butterflies were frequenting some milkweed that was along one sunny location of the forest road. We counted five different types of butterflies enjoying the milkweed nectar.
In one large area along the forest road there is a field of Mountain Misery. I get a kick out of that name. Mountain Misery is also known as bear clover, bearcat, or kit-kit-dizzy, a Miwok name.
Interestingly, it grows only on the western slopes of the Sierra Range. This plant, a member of the rose family, is very important agent in building a healthy forest environment as well as being a main source of winter food for black-tailed deer. The Miwok Indians would make a tea from it to fight off colds and ease rheumatism.
TeleLi puLaya is located far from Hwy. 108, but well worth revisiting in order to explore more of the forest that surrounds this lovely campground. There is a large rock that can be seen from the campground. The friendly camp host told me from that rock, shaped as a glove, one can see all of Beardsley Lake and the Stanislaus River Canyon. Next time I come back to this delightful campground, I'll hike over to the rock for a picnic lunch.