The Bennett Juniper is the oldest and largest known juniper of its species. Twelve and a half miles of forest service roads will put you at the doorstep of this protected 80’ tall behemoth that is estimated to be over 4000 years old! Two minutes of walking on a well-graded trail will put you in the shade of one of the most magnificently gnarled trees you’ll ever see.
Once you visit the juniper, return to the spur road and turn left instead of returning to the main 5N01 road. Take the small spur north about a half mile to its cul-de-sac end and enjoy a lunch while taking-in the glorious views of the Dardanelles and the Stanislaus River canyon. This lunch spot sits on a volcanic mudflow deposit that bulldozed some trees as it covered this area 10.5 million years ago. As a consequence there are many small pieces of very white petrified wood scattered about the hillside. There are worse ways to spend 30 minutes than perusing a hill for ancient forest bits. Please only take photos, though.
For specific directions and more info on the tree, visit the SAVE THE REDWOODS site.
Zephyr, Laura, Grandma H and I went for a lovely short hike to May Lake, taking advantage of the short drive afforded to us by base-camping at our Twain Harte cabin. Knowing that our Yosemite Pass was a precious commodity during the Time of COVID, we wanted to make sure we got at least two hikes completed this summer in Yosemite. The hike to May Lake is short and steadily climbs 500' in just over one mile. Normally extremely busy during the summer, COVID had reduced the number of folks in the area to late-autumn numbers. It was very peaceful and quiet and with an anomalous low pressure system overhead, the temp only reached 55 degrees with a breeze and no mosquitos.
The lack of crowds also was apparent in the results of our fishing. Z caught a lovely 13" brookie, got excited and called it a day with his goal of catching a fish having been accomplished. I went on to catch and release another 10 brookies (10-12") in the next 30 minutes. It was a lovely, perfect day. And oh yeah, the geology here is first rate!
Ryan J Hollister - Geoscience & EnviroSci Educator, Avid hiker, Landscape photographer, WildLink Club Advisor, Central Valley Advocate.