Dick's Adventures of 2019 - Part 5

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Buffin Meadow Hikes
Buffin Meadow

My drive up Highway 41 to Fish Camp on October 28 took a little longer than usual. Due to the PG&E preemptive power outage, traffic lights were out from the North Fork cutoff through Oakhurst. It looked like most restaurants and many other businesses were closed. There was a gas station open in Coarsegold and one in Oakhurst, both with LOOOONG lines.

My destination was Buffin Meadow, about two miles east of Fish Camp. I went there for the first time in June of last year. At the junction of White Chief Mountain Road and Mt. Raymond Road there was a sign, "Buffin Meadow Loop Trail." I found no sign of a trail, but walked down to the meadow. It was green and very wet, and I could not go across.

Wes and I went there in November and easily walked across the now dry meadow. A short distance into the woods Wes came across a rocky trail, but we did not have time nor inclination to explore it. However, it seemed likely that it was the elusive Buffin Meadow Loop.

Despite the dry grass, there were wet spots where I crossed the meadow Quite a few ancient stumps appear in the meadow and the woods

I parked where a narrow, brush clogged track leaves Mt. Raymond Road, walked down to the meadow, and crossed it. At the trail I turned right, and soon came to a place where there was a pink ribbon across the trail. Just past this a fork led to the right. I reasoned that the barrier was intended for those coming from the opposite direction. I continued on, eventually coming to another fork where signs pointed west to Fish Camp and east to "Buffin & Grove." A sign on another fork read "Old RR Grade." I went in that direction a short distance, but turned back at a fairly good size creek. The sign pointing to Fish Camp, a sketch of a horse head on the sign, and the fact that the trail was cut deeply below the surface of the forest floor combined to make a light bulb go on over my head. "This is a horse trail," I realized. If I had followed it toward Fish Camp I would probably have arrived at Yosemite Trails Pack Station near Fish Camp, but it would be a fairly long way.

The well-defined trail has some helpful signs This is apparently Rainier Creek 

Instead I went back the way I had come, but turned left at the pink ribbon. This route led me to the lower end of Buffin Meadow, through a shady area where people have camped, and back to the access road.

I considered going to El Cid, then realized that no one would be cooking in Oakhurst. I had brought a sandwich, so I set up my chair and TV tray at a place where people have camped, just past the Goat Meadow Snow Play area on Mt. Raymond Road. It felt quite cool, and since I had my thermometer with me, I put it in the shade, where the temperature was 52. A fire would have felt good.

The lower end of Buffin Meadow Black oaks, large and small, were putting on a show

Although some questions about the trial were answered, I had more. What does the reference to "grove" mean? It seems likely that it refers to the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias, which lies at the southern edge of Yosemite National Park. And if so, how far is it? Also, is it worth finding a place cross the creek in order to see the old railroad grade? The woods are full of these, and they are usually just an overgrown track through the woods. It would take a return trip to further explore the area.

--Dick Estel, November 2019

More Photos



Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in a new window)

Buffin Meadow Hike


Buffin Meadow Hike

It took three tries, but I finally hiked this trail Trees in the area include, cedar, pine,
fir, and black oaks 
It's not hard to get past this "barrier"
Big boulder by the trail This tree was about 35 years old when it was cut Fall color along the meadow access route
Related Links
 Fish Camp Goat Meadow Snow Play Area Yosemite Trails Pack Station
Buffin Meadow Map El Cid Mexican Restaurant  






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Updated November 6, 2019