I've been curious about Bobtail Ridge #194 after a failed attempt 4 years ago with Chris, Wally & Stefan. After careful planning I threw together a loop with two mines noted on topo. Knowing the destroyed nature of Bobtail it was necessary to put it last to be sure there would be no turning back.
Pioneer Trail #196 is currently an all out friendly brush wade for roughly the upper 0.75 mile. This was my first time completing the lower end. It impressed me more than anticipated. The pines keep rolling all the way down to the lower end. There are a few non-pine stretches. The views are top notch IMO. I'd do this again in a heartbeat. On the way down we passed a family of all ages, a pleasant surprise.
Next up were a couple old mines spotted on topo with some defunct roads viewable on satellite. Didn't look much for the first. It may be there but it isn't easily visible. The second was fairly well cleaned up based on other mines I've seen over the years. A few relics linger in the bushes if you look around. Of more interest to myself were the nice views.
To get out of the tangled web I saw something that looked cleared but not a road heading straight back down to FS221. Took a bit to find but it worked nice albeit sliding steep in areas. Bruce called it, it appears to be a fire break.
Back on FS221 we headed over to the bottom of Bobtail. Along the way we found a shady Arizona White Oak to make due for lunch. It wasn't particularly comfortable, the views aren't much from the lower end and it was the warmest segment of our loop... nevertheless a break
Excitement kicked in approaching Bobtail as it has nagged my mind for years. No sign. Since it rides a pitched ridge it's difficult to see what lies ahead. From what I gathered this trail was not a Bruce "favorite". It could use a clip. A cairn here and there would make it easier to navigate. In the end Bruce looked like he'd jumped into a sausage grinder. It didn't seem like a Twin Peaks Trail #240 torture chamber yet I'm glad it's over. Outstanding views in the upper 2/3rds and nice pines in the upper half are the pleasant thoughts I take away.
Wildflowers ObservationLight here and there, nothing to write home about