We went out and did this short( 2.4 mile roundtrip) hike on Sunday. We had tried to do it a few weeks ago,but were turned back by lightning and rain. The trail follows an rapidly disappearing road full of chunks of gray limestone. It goes down steeply at first, but eventually levels out where a side canyon comes in from the south.
Here,we found a beautiful meadow with widely spaced old growth trees, including some truly massive ponderosa pines. We sat on a log here and ate our sandwiches and chili cheese Fritos. A little further on, there was a livestock tank with a small amount of muddy water in it. There is no other water source in the canyon. Past the tank there were huge oak trees and eventually an " end" sign, along some others prohibiting unauthorized vehicle use which marked the beginning of Camp Mary White and private property.
On the way back up deep blue Stellar's Jays glided with wings outstretched from tree to tree. A nut hatch couple moved up and down a fir trunk before flitting away. Red backed squirrels easily climbed high up into the pines to the consternation of my earth bound dogs. The breezes also stopped,the humidity soared and the sweat poured. I had planned to hike the nearby Prestridge East Trail ( FT 9611 B) but that humidity had it seeming like a less than pleasant prospect, so when we returned we explored along the road( FR 551), which has wonderful views to the east, before getting in our vehicle and heading back. It was too much driving( around 4 hours) for such a short hike( around 2 hours), but at least I can recommend the trail as a nice place to get away from the crowds( well, there was one group camping nearby) in the Lincoln National Forest.NOTE; you may find a loose sign at the trailhead that says FT 9611 B. It's not. The sign at the end of the trail that was sunk into the ground indicated that this was indeed FT 9611 A. Although I didn't see it while there, FT 9611 B looks to be( on maps) about 4/10 of a mile further south on FR 551.