It was Memorial Day weekend and there were still more California confluences to visit! Slowed by a tremendous amount of traffic from people going out and about for the weekend, we laughed that they were all going to try to fit into Yosemite Valley and betting that there would hardly be anyone in the Stanislaus National Forest. We were right.
We decided to take our 4WD Tahoe for this trip mainly due to previous visitors reporting their use of 4WD and that the National Geographic TOPO! California 1:24000 maps depicted the Forest Service roads as dirt. We secured a room in Sonora around 5pm and proceeded on towards Tuolumne. Outbound on Buchanan Road which later became Forest Service road 1N04, I was surprised to find the road paved and in relatively good condition. The road was overgrown along the sides in places and there were also instances where rock debris from the winter had yet to be cleaned off. As I followed my planned route, my wife followed along on our Toughbook running the moving map features of National Geographic TOPO! California. She let me know we had deviated off of our planned route. We were still on the main road towards Cherry Lake but had definitely missed our turn to the north. We determined that the road would eventually circle counterclockwise back around the point and to where we wanted to go so we elected to continue. We made our way past Jawbone Falls with the intention of coming back and eating dinner there after our visit to the confluence.
We stopped at a fork in the road about .4 miles northeast of the confluence and my daughters and I went hiking into the forest. Many of the trees here were marked for thinning and there were several piles of forest debris. The actual confluence itself is located in a heavily wooded area. The forest floor was relatively clean and no bushwacking was required.
My Garmin RINO's had a much harder time locking on than my Garmin eMap. The trees were masking reception quite heavily to the north and south resulting in a satellite geometry that was creating a large north-south error ellipse of position uncertainty. My north-south confluence dance of about 2 meters (which should have zeroed my reading) resulted in indicated position changes of two to three times that. I decided to wait and let the position settle for about 15 minutes. It was getting later than I had planned - we would not be back in Sonora until after dark - so I took a bunch of pictures of my GPS and would have to settle for a one-thousandth of a degree away from all zeroes.
For future visitors, a 2WD vehicle is more than sufficient (summertime). I wish I had taken my Eurovan - there were several beautiful places to camp and play nearby and would have saved us the cost of a room! Best of all - on one of the busiest weekends of the summer, you could go for miles without seeing another vehicle!
From the confluence, it took 1 hour and 45 minutes (hike + drive) to get back to CA-108 west of Tuolumne.