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  1. #1
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    John Nicholas trail status

    Anyone have any idea when it may reopen? I went on the Facebook page, which stated that it was permanently closed. Santa Clara county website states that the trail is closed, with no information regarding future plans for the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EDRN911 View Post
    Anyone have any idea when it may reopen? I went on the Facebook page, which stated that it was permanently closed. Santa Clara county website states that the trail is closed, with no information regarding future plans for the trail.
    Nobody knows. We have to get through this storm today and tomorrow. 5 days of clear then more rain comes again.

    The officials have to wait and see how much more damage happens in these rounds.

    I hear the trail itself from Skyline blvd is in good shape. It's just that the exit trails at the bottom are blocked. Thus they cannot responsibly open it.

    But if someone goes from the top, down then climbs back up, that should be good trail since the new build is bulletproof. But not allowed since officially closed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I hear the trail itself from Skyline blvd is in good shape. It's just that the exit trails at the bottom are blocked.
    There are five "trails" coming out of Lake Ranch, of which three are vehicle-sized trails, all three of which were completely obliterated in at least one spot last I was there (before my recent knee operation).

    That means they can't get a vehicle into Lake Ranch, even though I saw a SJWC pickup truck go by me and then turn back. I flagged him down and he said he was trying to get to the lake and I told him there was no way he'd do it in a pickup (even 4WD won't help when there are landslides and canyon washouts).

    I posted pictures of all three roads' obliterations here:
    - Landslide completely closes Los Gatos Lake Ranch

  4. #4
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    It's unreal how bad the exit fire road is right now.
    There are downed trees and huge slides in at least a half dozen spots
    and many more spots on the fire road are ready to collapse.
    I don't see it opening until at least July.

    On a positive note, besides the small branches everywhere, the trail itself all the way down to the lake is in great condition right now.

    John Nicholas trail status-jack-devastation.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crooked Cop View Post
    I don't see it opening until at least July.
    With all the trails around Lake Ranch closed, I was calling Sanborn Park Rangers to ask about the rules for off-trail riding and hiking.

    I keep getting just their answering machine, but the encouraging news is that the current answering machine message says that work has started on clearing the trails.

    I think part of their problem is that all three dirt roads touching Lake Ranch that can support a truck are closed by landslides so they have to pick a direction and tunnel in from there.

    I haven't been riding the area due to an ACL replacement surgery.

    Anyone know which direction they're bringing in the heavy equipment?

    Black Road?
    Sanborn Road?
    PG&E Road?

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    On my way home today I stopped off at Sanborn Park where the ranger on duty (Leroy Rodriguez) told me that the section of the John Nicholas trail from Black Road to Lake Ranch is NOT handled by the county.

    The SJWC is responsible, according to him, for the maintenance of the spur from Lake Ranch to Black Road.

    The park is responsible for the spur from Lake Ranch to Sanborn Road, so the park is already working on clearing up the landslide that I first reported the morning after it happened overnight, on January 12th.

    PG&E is responsible for the spur that goes from Lake Ranch to Montevina Road, but he didn't know anything about whether they have started to work on that section since it's not a public easement and has nothing to do with the parks.

    LeRoy also told me that Caltrans is trying to grab an easement from the parks near where the road collapsed near Las Cumbres where the road collapsed, where Caltrans is presenting the parks with a proposal soon.

    Anyway, that answers the question of which way the park is clearing to Lake Ranch.
    If you see heavy equipment there, snap a picture for us, as it will be interesting to see what kind of equipment they use to clear the obstacles.

  7. #7
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    [/QUOTE]

    Damn, that looks as bad as Tamarancho

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    The ranger I talked to Saturday said the water company is hoping to fix the road from Black to lake ranch by some time in May. I've not seen any sign of activity but I dont' go by there that often these days. For the slide on the Sanborn side he said they had to hire a special and expensive crew to take down the large trees on the slide itself. That's pretty hazardous work so I can understand it being expensive.

    It also sounds like the work fixing Skyline north of Las Cumbres will interfere with the skyline trail (like by dumping fill on it). There's surveyor marks on the trail just south of the washout. He seemed to think the Skyline road fix (whatever it is) would be done in 8-10 months.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The ranger I talked to Saturday said the water company is hoping to fix the road from Black to lake ranch by some time in May. I've not seen any sign of activity but I dont' go by there that often these days. For the slide on the Sanborn side he said they had to hire a special and expensive crew to take down the large trees on the slide itself. That's pretty hazardous work so I can understand it being expensive.

    It also sounds like the work fixing Skyline north of Las Cumbres will interfere with the skyline trail (like by dumping fill on it). There's surveyor marks on the trail just south of the washout. He seemed to think the Skyline road fix (whatever it is) would be done in 8-10 months.
    Thanks for the intel.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The ranger I talked to Saturday said the water company is hoping to fix the road from Black to lake ranch by some time in May. I've not seen any sign of activity but I dont' go by there that often these days.
    Thanks for that update from the ranger on the SJWC section from Lake Ranch to Black Road.

    While their section is relatively flat, I think they have the lions share of the work to be done because there is so much damage between Lake Ranch and Black Road.

    I suspect the SJWC may also be waiting for the park to open up the way from Sanborn Road so they can get equipment in from both sides, especially since Black Road is apparently marked for 2-Axle vehicles only.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    For the slide on the Sanborn side he said they had to hire a special and expensive crew to take down the large trees on the slide itself. That's pretty hazardous work so I can understand it being expensive.
    I agree that it isn't going to be easy. When I was there last, I spoke to workers who said the still-standing trees are the hardest part. The one tree in the middle of the trail is a hundred (or so) feet tall.

    If it had fallen, it would be easier; but it simply slid into the middle of the path!

    I think there is some danger to the work crew because the slope is pretty steep and they are, by necessity, on the downslope (and it's a cliff below and above).

    If I were attacking that landslide, I'd rather attack it from above than from below; but they have no choice until SJWC cleans up the entrance from Black Road, which isn't likely to happen first.

    They can't get in from Montevina Road either, as the PG&E Service Road is washed out in multiple places, with landslides too, and, according to the park, almost all on private property anyway (so they'd have to get permission from a dozen people).

    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    It also sounds like the work fixing Skyline north of Las Cumbres will interfere with the skyline trail (like by dumping fill on it). There's surveyor marks on the trail just south of the washout. He seemed to think the Skyline road fix (whatever it is) would be done in 8-10 months.
    I don't know that area well, but the park ranger I spoke to was unhappy that Caltrans was proposing to allow people to cut through the park property to get around that problem.

    Does anyone have a marker on a Google Map where that cut-around might be?

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=woodrock;13083001

    Does anyone have a marker on a Google Map where that cut-around might be?[/QUOTE]

    John Nicholas trail status-screen-shot-2017-03-14-5.51.32-am.jpg

    John Nicholas trail status-screen-shot-2017-03-14-5.53.54-am.jpg
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    I sure would not want to cut down a 100 foot tree on a slide that could come down any time, and whose roots were ripped out and it's being held up by mud. I'm glad they found someone to do it and no one was hurt. It did sound like they're working on the Sanborn side already.

    The slie on Skyline is in a place where the skyline trail loops out away from the road a bit. In some places the trail is very close to the road. But in this section there's a small hill between the trail and the slide, though the trail comes back close to the road on either side of the slide. Especially the south side where it's close to the road just a short ways from the slide. I think Caltrans may have to take out some of the trail on the south side to make the curves on the new section of road wide enough... which is probably why there's surveyor marks on the trail there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    attached photos
    Thanks. I used the GPS location in the photos to figure out where it was as the news just said it was "near mile marker 10.47" on Highway 35 (aka Skyline).

    Your GPS location is fuzzy but it seems to be Latitude 37.222334 north, Longitude -122.102514,15 west.

    What's interesting is that it seems that it's park on both sides of the road, with Castle Rock on the west and Sanborn Park on the east.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I sure would not want to cut down a 100 foot tree on a slide that could come down any time, and whose roots were ripped out and it's being held up by mud. I'm glad they found someone to do it and no one was hurt. It did sound like they're working on the Sanborn side already.
    I agree with you that the tall tree that is "standing up" is almost certainly precarious, since it slid into the middle of the trail still standing; so, they probably can't just climb it and lop it off from the top down nor can they just cut it at the bottom easily.

    At least not without risking the whole tree (with crew) tumbling down the 100 feet slope to the stream below and/or popping out of the mud, like a straw in a milkshake flipping the crew up in the air.

    From my thread on the Lake Ranch Trail closure, here's a photo I took from the other side of that mess, at the time that the park was first surveying the damage, where you'll note that I said at that time that they knew they'd need to call in the professionals.


    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The slie on Skyline is in a place where the skyline trail loops out away from the road a bit. In some places the trail is very close to the road. But in this section there's a small hill between the trail and the slide, though the trail comes back close to the road on either side of the slide. Especially the south side where it's close to the road just a short ways from the slide. I think Caltrans may have to take out some of the trail on the south side to make the curves on the new section of road wide enough... which is probably why there's surveyor marks on the trail there.
    Thanks for that description. Without a topographical map, it looks like Caltrans can crob space from either Skyline on the east or Castle Rock on the west, but according to the ranger I spoke to, it's clear that Caltrans is proposing looping around that hole in 35 by strong arming an easement from Sanborn.

    The location seems to be near latitude 37.219002 north and longitude -122.0755417 west, according to Google Maps.

    Here's a road-closure map:

  15. #15
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    Having been there to see it there is NO chance of going west. East is the way they will go.

  16. #16
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    The south/west side of the hole is private property, not Castle Rock. Location is just to the right of the marked spot.

    John Nicholas trail status-skyline2.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    Having been there to see it there is NO chance of going west. East is the way they will go.
    Yes. The west side is STEEP. And it's made of fill. That's why it slid- when they built the road they just piled material they'd removed from the road cuts in there. On top of a known spring, according to one old-timer I heard from. And yes it's private property. There are houses on that side just to either side of the slide.

    The part of the trail that looks to be affected (because it's marked) starts at the top of the rocky chute just north of the stairs and runs north about 200' to where the trail tees with a short stub that goes out to the road (you can see the barriers on the south side of the slide from there) and the north continuation of the skyline trail along an old fire road, which curves around a hill that 35 cuts through.

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