The beautiful granite of Devil's Slide

Mountain Secrets

Tony KrizanFebruary 9, 2012 

Here we are in the middle of February and still very little snow above 5,000 feet. Today I'm driving up Beasore Road above Bass Lake to hike the area around McLeod Flat. I've hiked through this area many times, just as a turnaround point when hiking from the Willow Creek Trailhead on Road 274. Today I'll also visit Devils Slide but start this adventure from the Beasore Road location.

If my memory doesn't fail me, only a 10 minute drive up Beasore Road and on the left should be an old forgotten dirt road that will lead down to the upper McLeod Flat. Time does change landmarks and today someone has painted a large green (X) on an old tree stump marking the roads location.

With our area experiencing extremely dry weather, it was easy to drive down to the upper flat with the stock suspension on my Jeep. Beyond this point a special designed 4X4 with high ground clearance will be needed.

Joining me today is a close friend from Southern California, Randy Heimlich. A qualified hiker with years of mountain experience, he is looking forward to this new adventure. Once we arrived at the flat, now to locate the trailhead and proceed down the canyon to Devils Slide. Directly ahead of me were two huge granite boulders and the beginning of this wilderness trail. Following down through the canyon the forest was thick with oak, manzanita, pine and cedar trees. Missing are the bright colors of spring when the wild flowers are in bloom. But our dry conditions this late in the season made this trail easy to follow.

Soon from off in the distance I could hear the sound of water flowing through the canyon. As the trees opened, the first glimpse of Devils Slide came into view. The exposed granite extended for hundreds of yards uncovered by time and the extreme force of water cascading over its surface.

From my previous hikes along this trail, there should be a secondary route leading down to Devils Slide. Roughly one mile from the trailhead was that path intersecting the main trail.

After only a few minutes there in front of us was Devils Slide. From centuries of water erosion, these giant slabs of granite are polished and sculptured into art forms. Today adding to this spectacle from the cold night temperatures, ice has formed along the edges and covered a few of the still pools.

Even with the bright sun and clear blue sky painting this exceptional portrait of mother nature's handy work, it is time to depart this historic area and start our second half of this adventure. From the original trailhead at Mcleod Flat we'll continue north down through the rocky surface into the tree covered canyon concealing Willow Creek.

Just before arriving at the creek another surprise -- on the flat rock surfaces were grinding holes. The Native Americans were here centuries ago also enjoying this special place.

If we are lucky, maybe a pine tree has fallen to offer a bridge for crossing to the opposite bank. I would like to locate the trail that follows over the ridge above the creek.

With last year's heavy snow pack, an ancient pine tree extending more than 200 feet in length had fallen and offered a bridge across the creek.

We managed with caution, watching our balance as we crossed. Just beyond the gigantic root system of this fallen monarch was a trail leading down-stream. After only a 100 yards this trail turned inward and crossed another old logging road. Now I have another hiking adventure to explore next summer.

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