Day 5

April 15, 2018

Red Reef Trail to Lady Bug Camp


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Today's route stats: 

    Distance: 5.0 miles

    Elevation Gain:  2400 feet

    Elevation Loss:  200 feet

Our first objective of the day was to determine exactly where the trail started.  I had two versions of the USGS 7.5-minute quad, and they showed different starting locations for the trail.  Once we got that figured out, we had to cross the creek and find the trail.  More bush-whacking.  The trail, once we got on it, was in very good shape.  It had been worked on fairly recently.  But the brush was beginning to take over.  I suspect it will be become a difficult trail in only a few more years if more maintenance isn't done to cut back the brush. 

Tunnel on Lower Red Reef Trail Approaching Lady Bug Camp View Back Down Towards Sespe Creek.


The hike begins by heading up Red Reef Canyon.  There are some beautiful rock formations here, but unfortunately I took no photos.  We soon came to a tunnel through a rock.  It looked like it was blasted through.  But why? Surely the trail could have gone around the rock.  Anyway, after almost two miles, it crosses over a low divide and drops down into Timber Creek.  The trail continues up the west side of the canyon, with occasional switch-backs.  The grade is pretty constant.  Eventually we could see the thick stand of Bigcone Douglas Fir deep in the canyon ahead.  This is where Lady Bug Camp is located.  Apparently the Bigcones are extremely fire resistant. 

To get to the campsite, you have to walk down the streambed for a couple hundred yards.  Here we ran into large numbers of ticks, more than any other place on this hike.  The thick stand of trees made the campsite seem rather dark and gloomy -- not very inviting (except perhaps on a hot, summer day).  There was a picnic table and a couple of ginormous logs set on end to make tables.  There were also some tools left by a trail maintenance crew.  We were all tired and glad to be at camp. 

When I was first here in 1977, there were huge concentrations of lady bugs (ladybird beetles).  There were some small logs on the ground that were so covered with lady bugs that you couldn't see the log.  For some reason the lady bugs like to over-winter in large groups.


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