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près de Snow Creek, California (United States)
I wanted to explore the Snow Creek wilderness area. I chose to 4x4 into an area and start my hike from near one of the large power line structures. While I saw many signs saying that off-road vehicles were prohibited to the East of Snow Creek Rd, there were no such signs posted to the West. So that is what I did.
I trail bashed my way in. There were no evident trails so I rock hopped to keep my impact at a minimum. I was trying to explore the areas of verdant green you can actually see from I10. I figured they must be deciduous trees which must mean surface water.
I was right. I encountered the creek and followed a pretty good flow until I decided to cross the creek. There I found an actual trail as well as "ruins" of several structures and some sort of water catchment.
After reaching a saddle on the trail I encountered, I found a sign saying this was a protected reserve and that an ecological survey was underway. I immediately turned back and followed the trail out. I did not retrace my steps the whole way since I wanted to stay on an established trail and get out as fast as I could with minimum impact.
This warning sign was not visible from where I entered the wilderness. I did not cross any fences nor barriers until much later on my final few steps out of the wilderness and back on to Snow Creek Rd.
I stress that I had no idea it was a preserve and no intention of entering a protected area. As soon as I learned of its status, I left via the most direct route with the least impact.
All that said, I can understand why the Nature Conservancy purchased this land. It's an oasis in the desert.