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We made it a bit further than last time. At least we made it to Tadpole Creek. The hike to this point was extraordinary, me being with my kids and all. Some parts of this section of trail (~2 mi to Tadpole Creek) have several washed out spots that are too narrow to cross and force one to bushwhack up and down hills. Luckily, a fire came through here in 2008, which made it much easier.
As one will see in the slide show, because we did bushwhack, we came across a section corner for Township 16 NRange 15 E for Section 31. Also we saw a tree with a "Bearing Marker" on it to indicate which direction and distance from the tree the section marker is located in case it is obstructed by brush.
It was a good day for to hike this section again after a couple of weeks. The fact we were out on the trail much earlier and we didn't run across the squatter again. He left is mobile homestead and must have parked somewhere else.
We came across many interesting features of the Iowa Hill Ditch (or what remains of it). We found numerous hand hammered nails from ca 1850-1880. I am not sure of the exact dates as well as wire, iron stakes sticking out of rock, and splintered wood from when the nails actually held the wood together to form the Iowa Hills Ditch. This ditch, from what I read, was built by Chinese labor and ran for 40 miles. This section is at the 5500' elevation mark and runs the contour for a number of miles from Beacroft trail head East to Iowa Hills. It also continues along West, but I am not sure how far. Consult the USGS topo for more information. This "abandoned" ditch is on the USGS maps. You can also find out more here, at Russel Towle's blog.
I spent more time driving here than hiking (again). With my 7yr old in tow we set off for another adventure in the North Fork. This time I was hoping for an "easy" trail that we could stroll along for a couple of miles or so. The hike didn't last long due to a washed out area that I didn't really want to take my daughter on in the middle of nowhere and the fact we passed some squatter at the trail head in his beat up trailer and truck. I will definitely come back here, since the ditch is noticeable in many places and covers several miles to the east and west of Beacroft trail head.
Fire ripped through here in 2008 as one can see from the photos.