We had a rough plan for checking out and mapping the area between Houser Road and Old Highway 90. We did all of Houser Road from east to west, and now we'd go from west to east in a big loop. Big Bucktail Creek was a relatively short trip to see the western side of the big area, but it ended up being a bit obnoxious.
The first part was very easy. We cruised around through the trees, passing Ray's Spur at forest service road 614.1A. We had planned on taking that spur to connect to Ray's Trail, but it really looked tight and overgrown. We would come back to it and decide later.
When we got to 604.1A there were quite a few trucks and tents with hunters camping along the entrance, so we decided to skip it. Instead, we headed down 604 to see the scenery at the end of the main trail. It was uneventful, but as we got almost to the end it was getting tight. We were at a wide spot, so we decided to walk in, instead.
It was a short walk, and we explored all around the end to see if we could see some scenery. It wasn't easy. It was overgrown, and trees and scrub oak were in our way. It was nice to get out and walk around, though.
We also spent some time smelling the Ponderosa Pine trees. They smell sweet, and seem to smell like vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. We found one that smelled like caramel popcorn, and that started a craving that lasted throughout the day. It was good for a laugh, and it was a fun break.
We eventually headed back and found ourselves at the spur. Should we try it? A quick vote had Monica going in first and radioing back on the CB about what she found. She drove in, and it stayed tight and scrapey, dragging scrub oak through her paint. At a place where she could finally turn around, she radioed back but the rest of the group decided to follow her in. That may not have been the best decision.
The spur wasn't long, but it never let up on the scraping. We all got some new, deep cuts in our paint while we were out there. It was pretty slow going, but we eventually came to a fun but short hill of loose dirt and rock. We popped out of the tight trees, bummed that no one was there to call us crazy as we did it. Yikes!
That put us on Ray's Trail where we ran up to Houser Road again. We then turned around and headed back in. For a relatively short trail, Big Bucktail Creek was a bit obnoxious and a learning experience. It's funny how we've done so many trails but we keep learning. That definitely keeps it interesting!