01-Jul-2003 -- 37N-119W is located in the Sierra National Forest. After a very scenic drive up and up and up California 168 we
realized that it would be almost dark by the time we reached our destination. We were planning to camp and found a great site all to ourselves with picnic tables and an outhouse just off the right side of of McKinley Grove Road at 37 01.442N and 119 06.778W which, at an elevation of 6371 (over 6000' above the central valley), gave us a
tremendous view to the west.
The next morning we proceeded towards the intersection. We were less than a mile from the McKinley Grove of trees. We easily found the dirt road off to the right with less than a half mile to go. We left the RV in a convienent spot and proceeded in our Eurovan to see how far we could get. About 300 meters from the intersection, the road is blocked by some big boulders. It was time to hike.
4 Garmin RINO's each arrived at the point from a separate path - some were more circuitous than others. It was
great family fun for my wife and two kids to follow the RINO's guidance to the point - our dog was running between
all of us - herding us to the point. Once there you overlook the Wishon Reservoir (more on that later).
Photo 1 looks east towards the Wishon Reservoir. Photo 2 looks south. Photo 3 shows the rock conveniently located
at what Photo 4 will show as a quad redundant GPS solution for this confluence.
My mission planning for this section of our trip was not as thorough as previous segments. Looking at the maps,
from where we were, it seemed much shorter to continue clockwise (southbound) towards Balch Camp and then to
re-intercept CA-99 south of Fresno. We drove over the one lane road on top of the Wishon Reservoir and noted that
this was an absolutely beautiful recreational lake that was being enjoyed by the occupants of only two vehicles who
were fishing. This place is a well kept secret because we encountered very few vehicles since we had turned east at
Shaver Lake the day prior. We stopped to look at the dam and then continued on our way. As the road twisted and
winded along, it became narrower, and then slightly overgrown on the sides. Eventually, it turned to dirt - as
expected from our maps. What they didn't show was that it was almost a jeep trail at this point - definitely not RV
capable and most likely would be a challenge for our Eurovan. We had to turn around and backtrack almost 3 hours
before we were once again southbound on CA-99.
The area around Wishon Reservoir is definitely worth another camping trip - the next time for a few days. We were glad that others on vacation chose to go to more touristy places. The views, tremendous elevation changes and possibilities for day hikes without worrying about traffic jams are limitless in this area. Sometimes the road less travelled is the better one to take.
It was beautiful day for a drive - and we had one more confluence to go (36N-119W) before our trip would be