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Old 10-24-2011, 06:45 AM   #1
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2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

It was getting late in the year and I hadn’t made a single ride to any of the Sierra hot springs.

One of my favorite is the Buckeye Hot Springs located near Bridgeport. I usually get there once or twice a year. I had been trying to get on a camping ride up there for weeks but other events got in the way.
I finally couldn’t take it anymore. Especially reading about a fellow riders upcoming ride to Bridgeport.
So I assembled the gear for a night (or two) of camping and on Tuesday, Oct 18’th I headed to the high Sierras!

My route this time would be from the South Bay (San Jose area) up 108 to Bridgeport, camp at Buckeye Hot Springs, and ride back via 395 to 89 to 4. The timing was good for some nice fall color with some groves already having lost the majority of their leaves. Many of the streams had golden leaves floating down and backing up on the logs and rocks in the streams. Two of the more spectacular areas were near the top of 108 and at the summit of 89.

Hwy 108 at 8000 feet…

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There was random brightness of leaves in their fall colors.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:45 AM   #2
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

Took a break amongst some large old weathered bristlecone trees.

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Found a waterfall there too.

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Leavitt Meadow was looking magnificent!
Ok, here’s where I had problem with posting “a” picture. I took one from near the same spot with one focused on the color in the valley below and the other focused on the blue sky. I like them both but couldn’t decide which I liked better.
So here they both are…

Valley

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Sky

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A zoom in on the color patch

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:46 AM   #3
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

But as fun as it can be, or so I’ve been told, all good things must come to an end.

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But hey, now I’m on the last short stretch of 395 to Bridgeport!

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Along 395 there were also large groves of color scattered on the hillsides in the distance in what appeared to be areas that have more water, such as springs, canyons and streams.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:46 AM   #4
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

And then I was in Bridgeport where I usually shopped at the old market located just as you come into town (from the north) but when I pulled in I found it was closed and the building for sale. Bummer.
I went to the small market located in the center of town and bought ice and water. Then headed up to the hot springs to set up camp and get in a soak.

I found there were only a few campers so picked a quite place close to the trail down to the hot springs.
I also scrounged the empty campsites and gathered enough wood for the evening and morning fires (and a nice sturdy box to use as a table) . Also found a couple planks to make a cooking area table.

My initial setup, before I headed down for an evening soak…

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Here’s what it looked like the next morning after coffee and before next trip down to the pools.

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A colorful small bridge crossing on Buckeye Rd near Twin Lakes Rd.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:46 AM   #5
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

Here’s some shot’s of Buckeye Hot Springs…

These springs come out of the ground about 50 feet above the creek and over the centuries have built up the formation you see the water falling from.
The streams flow down small channels about 1-2 inches deep and 2-4 inches wide. The hot water flow is directed and regulated with socks filled with sand and placed in (desired) channels.

From the camping side of Buckeye Creek. (looking basically North)

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From the hot springs side. (looking basically East)

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These Hot Springs soaking pools are washed away every year or two and get rebuilt. This year the pools were much larger than usual. Depth was anywhere from 1 to 2 ½ feet. The largest pool (closest in the above photo) was medium warm, about bathtub temp. The next pool was much warmer at probably 102 to 105 degrees. The water falling into this pool was too hot to leave your hand (or any other body part) in for too long. The third pool down was smallest and coolest in temp.

Here you can see the larger amount of water flowing into the hottest pool.

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Buckeye Creek was pretty cold so a cool off dip was just a couple steps from the hot water. Looking upstream. (west’ish)

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The view from inside.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:46 AM   #6
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

Cooking Dinner on night two.

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35 degrees air temp, Steam and Sunrise on the pools on Thursday morning, last day here.

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Old 10-24-2011, 06:46 AM   #7
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

Heading home Thursday I took a few more shots of the fall colors.

Along 395 near Fales Hot Springs.

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The largest area of fall color I saw on this ride was along Highway 87 near Monitor Pass. I had the video rolling so didn’t stop except for the pass marker itself.

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There was more color along Hwy 4.

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Reached the top of Hwy 4.

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Then it was just a nice ride back with almost no traffic. In fact, my ride on Hwy 87 and 4 was almost traffic free. A very very fine way to enjoy these types of roads!

The fall color in the Sierras is on strong now but will probably not last but a couple more weeks. If ya wanna see it better get up there!
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:18 AM   #8
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

What a beautiful weekend ride, John and it looks like you pretty much had it ALL to yourself. I love those moments of introspection where no one else matter but you. Glad you found that gorgeous spot and got a few soaks in. I love hot springs, especially the natural ones.

Gorgeous fall shots. It seems I will miss them this year as we are immersed in buying a home in Sac and it's definitely sucking away any riding time. Grrrr, but it will be worth it...it will be worth it...it will be worth it...
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:39 AM   #9
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

Great pictures and prose John. I see that you were in good company on this ride. Sometimes it is better to ride alone, no one to disagree with that way. Thanks for your always good adventure posts. I still recall the trip you took when you lost your dog and the pictures you shared on that ride..........Ken
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:22 AM   #10
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Re: 2011 High Sierra Fall Color & Hot Springs ride

great pic's
thanks
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