If one thinks it is impossible to enjoy a Sunday afternoon at a remote location close to home with a moderate hike, think again.
Shortly before Father’s Day I started searching for this type of area that would have a distant view of snow-covered mountains and still feel sheltered by majestic trees.
Yes, that area does exist, and from Oakhurst the drive is only 90 minutes. Drive up Beasore Road to the junction marked Chilkoot Lake. Turn in and park at the parking lot. You can grab your day pack and start following the dirt forest road only two miles for a moderate hiking adventure called Jones Overlook.
The following Sunday, Nancy and I decided to take a Father’s Day lunch and hike that forest road to the overlook. It was a very easy hike following a remote forest road lined with live cedar and pine trees. Thankfully it looks like the bark beetle hasn’t reached this remote area of our mountains. I’m estimating this hike is only 2.5 miles before arriving at the end of road for the overlook.
Around us was a beautiful setting with large rock croppings, shaded with seasoned pine trees and distant views of our snow-capped mountains. Looking into the valley below through the trees is the Jones Store and Resort. We arrived around noon, rolled out our blanket, set out our wine glasses with a sandwich and enjoyed a view that is priceless.
At this location I noticed two separate interesting rock formations. One was a natural seat eroded into a boulder. Its design would let you snuggle into its seating area with natural arm rests. During our 2.5-mile journey to the location we picked up a few discarded items left over by previous visitors.
One item was an empty spirits bottle. Since I was posing for a photo shot within this unique seat, I felt I needed a photo prop to express my enjoyment of this location. What I’m holding in my hand is empty and someone else enjoyed the nectar of the gods it contained prior to my arrival. They should have ‘packed-it-out.’
The second rock formation resembled a large mountain lion print embedded into the side of another boulder. If you are interested in climbing the ridge to the south, it can be climbed with little effort to enjoy the distant mountain views from the opposite side.
After three hours we started our return hike back to the parking area. What impressed me the most, was the lack of people on this trail. We had this mountain to ourselves. We met our first fellow hikers just before arriving back to our vehicle. This adventure wasn’t over until we drove to Jones Store for dessert.
One cannot drive into this area without sampling the store’s famous fresh fruit pies with ice cream. Even though the history of this store reflects back three generations, I was hoping that owner Vern Black was their today. He is in his early 90s and was a decorated WW2 pilot that flew with the Flying Tigers in China in 1942. I always looked forward to listing to his stories on the early history of aviation.
I missed Vern today, which means I’ll have to revisit Jones Store and sample another fresh fruit pie to enjoy aviation stories from our nation’s historic past.