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Tori's Trails: Pack Saddle Trail

Posted at 7:52 AM, Jul 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-14 10:52:03-04

Pack Saddle  Trail is 15 miles north of Kernville just beyond the turnout for the Fairview Campground. The trail is 2.3 miles each way so almost a total of 5 miles long.

According to The Now’s Bakersfield’s Tori Cooper she had an archeologist with her along her journey so that she could find out more about all of the hidden ingredients one can find on the trail.

"This is definitely already harder than the last hike that I did it's a much steeper incline, a lot more gravel and you have to be aware of snakes for sure," Cooper said.

About 50 miles northeast of Bakersfield in the Sequoia National Forest, day hikers will find Pack Saddle Trail. After hiking up over 800 vertical feet hikers will be rewarded with mountains made up variations of limestone, meta volcanic and sedimentary rock, according to archeologist Tim Kelly who joined Cooper on the hike.

You will find a few hidden streams ducked off into an oasis, Elderberries that Kelly said were traditionally used by Native Americans to treat infections, make jams, syrups or juices, but that visitors should  stay away from the bark and leaves.

If you keep going you will find another  medicinal ingredient on the trail. The plant known as Ephedra is a commonly used to make Mormon tea, which Kelly said can help you when you catch a cold.

This trail was also used to enter into mines containing tungsten metal, which was used to harden steel according to Kelly, so keep your eye out for random holes in the mountain side along your way.

 Don't quit because the best part is this cave at the top, “It was dissolved by water, eating away at the rock over a period of hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of years," U.S. Forest Service Archeologist Tim Kelly said.

The Pack Saddle cave has a number of crawl spaces. Using Kelly’s head lamp he checked some of them out with Cooper by his side, before catching the rain on the way back down the Sierras.

There were definitely times where Cooper said she had to stop and take a break on the Pack Saddle Trail. She said it seemed like a more moderate hike.

According to Cooper It was a very clean trail so if visitor plan on going, locals asked her to remind everyone to make sure to throw away their trash. It took Cooper 90 minutes each way but she said the cave certainly made it another worthwhile hike.