5 Hi Mountain to Caldwell Mesa.
This section is almost entirely within wilderness. The trail climbs to
Hi Mountain lookout, currently a condor observatory. From there it
descends to Hi Valley and Hi Valley Creek, the first water since the
spring behind the water tank at Little Falls (water here cannot be
depended on). Hi Valley is a scenic oak and grassland the trail travels
through it, and then across a brushy hill to the Hi Mountain road and
trailhead. We descend the road to the north reaching Trout Creek which
usually has water. Our trail follows down this creek to a poorly marked
left turn ascending to a campsite at Buckeye (there are no buckeyes
here), but there is water.
Just past this the lateral trail from the Salinas River and American
Canyon joins us. We continue to Stony Creek. Stoney Creek usually has
water. Our trail ascends to the broad tableland meadow of Caldwell
Mesa. There is a stock pond here which usually has water. This is a
great camp site with nighttime views of the lights of Arroyo Grande and
the South Country far off and far below.
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