Our Cody Lake & Homestead Expedition In Strawberry Valley - 09/1/19

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Sep 18, 2019, 3:40:38 PM9/18/19
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The more I spend time up in this area the more I fall in love with it some of the best kept gems of the high sierras can be found here if your willing to leave the pavement a little. Every year we select only a few places that we conduct our bigfoot research at and this was one of our picks. Were very limited because winter comes early up in these parts so if you do not get a summer exploration in then your stuck waiting till next year.

I was really excited about returning to the Strawberry Valley it sits right within the old Pony Express. But it also sits between the Crystal Mountains and those mighty peaks of the Carson Pass. So there are all sorts of lakes, back country roads, places to backpack and explore. Strawberry is more of a outdoor recreational Mecca for skiers, backpackers, folks renting cabins, white water rafting etc. With that being said we would visit one of the oldest most primitive Boy Scout Camps in the country known as Camp Cody which would be the main focus of our trip along with Cody Lake, Meadows and Homestead Site.

I have spent most of my summer hiking and working with this area. The sierras are a massive mountain range so often I like to take it in regions every summer and there just is not enough time for me to see or do it all. But at least by working with a given area it allows us to check off a bunch of places that are all related to one another. I also try to incorporate history into my expeditions and nature which make it a little more fun then your typical paranormal groups out there. This entire expedition would be a mix of history and beauty all combined as one.  Do not confuse this with another Strawberry found out in Sonora Pass they have entirely different histories and locations 

This would be a very special trip also as it would be my puppies first expedition outdoors now that he had all his shots. These are critical outings for him right now so he can get his training on how to be a member of our Bigfoot search team. I was not sure how he would do or if he would be able to even handle such a large hike. But we had to at least try and get him out there so he can get use to the type of things we do when we do our bigfoot research.

The area has quite a bit of fascinating history beginning with the Native American tribes who migrated here seasonally to the first White European Explorers who set eyes on Strawberry Valley for the first time in the 1840's. Then in the 1900's Troop 1 from the Sacramento Boy Scouts came here during the summer to enjoy the sierras. The camp that was built at Cody Lake was built to provide youths with an opportunity to enjoy nature and the mountains something they did not get much of living in the big city. So decades of history of boys fishing, sharing spooky tales around a campfire and generations of families who have enjoyed all this area has to offer.

Its a very wholesome place but its also a hard to get to place there are no roads most of the time the scouts would have to start from Strawberry Valley and hike a couple miles up to Cody Lake. It was a long trek and because of its remote location it makes it hard to maintain the cabins up here as wood, tools etc have to be carried on in. Nothing like having the youths do a little hard work its good for them and they get to be a part of the history that has surrounded this lake for nearly a hundred years. I am finding out that many of the scouts that came here now have kids, grand kids etc that also come up here.You could have had a grandfather who served in WWII and was a scout which really makes it such a fascinating place at least for the youths who attend camp up here.

Tammy and I wanted to hike early because we had a long day ahead of us. There is more then one way to hike up to Cody Lake. One of the easiest ways is to go into Strawberry Valley crossing Strawberry Creek then to ascend into the high sierras and come in from the west side of the lake via dirt road. There is an area you can park and then descend down to the lake for about a half of mile. This is the easiest way and most efficient. However, if your a scout you probably would hike from Sciots Camp on foot from the valley all the way to the lake ascending rather then parking at the top and descending.

I was very excited to explore this area because there was so much to see. Its one of the more beautiful lakes in the sierras. But anytime I can get out and about to chase that squatch you can count me on in. While we were up near the Crystal Mountains the last few weeks we would be across from them at another beautiful high lake in the sierras. What is there not to love? So we grabbed our backpacks, coffees and set off on another grand adventure to make our summer of 2019 even more memorable.

Cody Lake California

It was a very chilly morning even in the summer in the morning temps dip down to 20 degrees. It warms up fast when the sun is up but still its a reminder of how life is much different in the mountains. You can have two extremes in this area real hot days and very cold nights. In between the trees as I was journeying through the Eldorado National Forest I could see the Crystal Mountains including Pyramid Peak, Just two weeks prior to the expedition I was standing below that peak and from afar it looks allot different and quite a bit bigger then when your standing in front of it up close. Pyramid Peak is nearly 10k and its a focal point for bigfoot sightings, vocalizations, tracks and strangeness so bare that in mind.

The hike is fairly easy to Cody Lake from the western flank as its a half mile through a beautiful forest then you begin to descend down onto it. Id say the worst of it is making sure you do not follow because the trail has allot of big steps down off the rocks to get down to the lake. It was a bit difficult because I had Winston secured to my belt so he almost pulled me off the rocks a few times. He has never hiked in his life let alone gone out doors. He was a rescue born in the shelter so when I got him he was two months old and so he was only hiking at 4 months old so still very young but he did manage for the most part to do quite well hiking down to the lake.

Most of the lakeshore is very primitive at least half of it is the other half is much more open where your able to swim or fish. I heard the fishing is good here and it would have to be since it serves the scouts. But others come here to fish also especially for the lakes Rainbow Trout. I seen myself as I was on approach quite a few trout jumping so I know the lake has fish. The lake is probably about 9 acres its not as large as some in the region but its super remote and private which is how I like my hikes to be.

When you get to the bottom you follow the shoreline for a bit some of it is overgrown but there is this really nice flat area you could pitch a tent with a sandy area you could fish from. There is also two cabins you will approach with massive cliffs that backdrop them both. If you were to cut primitive through the woods instead of descend you could technically stand up on those cliffs and get a nice view of the lake from on top. But I would not risk it with the puppy.

The first cabin I came across was the Hetherington Lodge and the second was named the Silvius Lodge. Both of the cabins look very similar in size and shape. Both have a front deck or porch rather and a loft. I know they have lofts because in the front are loft doors so they probably have cots or beds in the loft. They were sealed up tight wood shudders closed, door with a pad lock and stood on wood beams with concrete underneath. Over the years such cabins were reinforced, rebuilt and renovated because the storms had not taken a liking to these cabins. Over the years the scouts have had to make repairs and allot of volunteer work has been done to make sure cabins stand on the shores of Cody Lake. People generally refer to this place as Camp Cody.

There is a small bridge in front of the cabins that goes over a dry creek but I read in the Spring its not so dry but you do have to cross it if you come in from this end. There are also some cooking pits,a fire pit and what appears to be this big grassy area near the lake where the scouts can tent camp. On the south end of the lake it begins to get woodsy while the east end is rocky and the north end is covered in brush and trees. The west end is cliffs which we came on down from so the shoreline is a bit diverse. The south and SW end seems to be where the scouts though do there fishing, camping and swimming on the lake.

There is this little cute woods trail or overgrown trail on the west end also that goes out to this private little area that extends out into the lake a little. If you look to your right there is tall grass and its a bit marshy. But where the swimming area is there are no rocks its smooth sand. I could see fish swimming in the water we also saw a pretty cool frog I photographed. Even though its later in the summer flowers, birds, frogs etc were all very abundant up here. This area really is untouched honestly the only time it was used was once a year when the Scouts did there summer camping trip but for the most part the place has been desolate for years. It would seem much more recent that with the growth of Strawberry Valley that it has drawn in more hikers to visit this lake since its only a few miles away.

But I read in more recent years the camp is being used much less sad to say. I know in August they had an event where they did some work on the cabins asking folks to bring nails, lumber, tools etc and they would have a bbq up at the lake. So if anything the Scouts hope to continue to maintain traditions here for generations to come. One year the weather was so bad that it caused a roof to collapse on one of the cabins. So many cabins have been a victim of previous winters that most of the cabins here are much newer built with the wood from previous cabins or rebuilt. Ideally though I bet even without the wood cabins the scouts would continue to camp up here its just overall a beautiful place.

Across the lake you can see great views of Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Mountains. I love that mountain range its full of mystery, lore and great views. Not every lake in the sierras has a view such as this but this place has great views of a sub range in the sierras that bordered the Desolation Wilderness. Its a very nice view to BBQ, fish, swim etc with that is for sure. We actually sat awhile on different parts of the shoreline just to enjoy the views share a snack and a drink. Believe me at my old age I am in no rush but to enjoy those things in life most folks take for granted. Bigfoot can wait a few more minutes and trust me I will get to that part too.

If you head south of the two cabins you will see another cabin named Link Lodge. The door is much wider on this cabin my guess is this is the main headquarters cabin when camp is in session. This cabin just seems a little bigger but then again maybe not. Its a nice cabin that sits in the shade woods residing behind it and to the right large granite rocks which ascend up the cliffs of the mountain overshadowing Cody Lake. We took another break sitting on the steps of Link Lodge. It use to be the back packers pack back lodge but was replaced but at the time gear and the war canoe use to be stored here. I do not think much has changed they probably still use this cabin to store things for the scouts.

Behind the cabins is a canyon its full of animal trails, massive rocks, narrow overgrown paths and cliffs. My goal was to go up into the canyon climb up over it and into Cody Meadows. We ended up veering to far to the left and were descending towards Strawberry and Twin Bridges. Which would be a great hike to take on but we were going the opposite way so we had to turn back. Finding the trails up here is a bit difficult nothing is marked at all and there is quite a few other paths some dead ends that connect with the trail so at times its easy to get turned around. But as I descended I could not help noticing the wood frames just below the Link Lodge which probably was where archery took place maybe even other games that they would play. I seen similar wood post and frames up near the cabin sites.

But its a bit eerie I mean everything is taken down there is no flag, welcome signs, archery bails etc. Its like being in a scouts ghost town lol. But I bet when the boys come up here they make this place come alive. I really have admiration for the scouts my sons were in Cub Scouts and I was involved with being one of the leaders. We would host events like trips, crafts, pinewood derby etc so in a sense I felt at home up here. We would have to go back about a quarter mile and this time find a path up into the canyon. Since we could not find one we begin to rock climb and on occasion we would find a small path between the brush but the canyon was simply a giant uphill maze. It was very strenuous.

I kept rock climbing till we begin to climb a couple hundred feet above Cody Lake and its Cabins. There was areas in the canyon it leveled off then we would go up the rocks 50 more feet. The brush was ridiculous in the canyon and it just keep getting steeper. There are no trails well there was some primitive ones but then we would hit more rocks and lose site of it again. I read on some sites you can hike through the canyon up to the meadows via trail but these were not trails just paths between rocks. If you ever have gone primitive canyon hiking in the high sierras then you know how difficult it is at times even deadly if you make one mistake and fall. I also thought I heard something up here I told Tammy about it sounded like whispering or talking like something was hiding watching and trying to shush.

I think I was just following a seasonal creek but it was no longer flowing we did find these patches of water growing plants nearby so that tells me the canyon does get wet enough to grow this type of plant. I did find this flat area in the woods up in the canyon where we took a break. I went wandering and exploring let the puppy and Tammy break for awhile. I climbed this steep hill up to this flat area where I found more giant granite rocks, trees and steep mountain side. I was trying to figure out ways to get on the next ledge above us in this canyon. I could not see to far into the canyon just trees, rocks and foliage all backdropped by sheer cliffs.

There was two strange incidents that occurred up the canyon the first was Tammy seen a woman walk right by where we were breaking. She said to shhhh there is a woman walking by and I guess I was talking about inappropriate things what's new right? Sometimes my dirty sense of humor gets the best of me. But I then told her there is no woman let alone anyone up here I mean we literally climbed tons of steep rocks, pushed down a narrow dry creek between brush with a 1 foot opening and hiked through the forest to get here. While I see on occasion women alone hiking the high sierras we were in the primitive zone. I just cant see someone hiking along past us after how hard it was to get up here and I am not saying its not possible but I am saying that I seen nobody so Iooked at Tammy a bit confused.

I even shouted out real loud can someone help me with some directions nobody replied back. Really there was nobody up at Cody Lake when we came here. I did see a father with his son and dog but that was about it. But as the day went on we found out the place gets really busy but in the morning not so much. So we did not see anyone up here and we spent a couple hours before I decided to go primitive high up in the canyon. But it was odd just being in this little patch of woods after going through brush, climbing huge rocks, up the cliffs etc and resting only to have someone just walk on by.

Honestly, I think Tammy seen a ghost I might be wrong but quite a bit of folks die in this range or come up missing. You have missing hikers, campers, murder victims etc etc up and down this entire mountain range then of course the missing. I do not think anything sounded strange about how Tammy described this woman but she did not have a backpack and based on where Tammy seen her coming from that my friends is all rugged wilderness without any trails so yeah strange.

The second strange thing I came across is when I came up to this big granite rock at the bottom of it was this massive track. My entire foot fit inside of the track and when I put my foot down it was very deep up to my ankle. The ground here was rather hard yet someone weighed enough to make a huge impression and yet had a foot larger then mine. Bigfoot? I think its quite possible! The rock that the track was found in front of was a few feet straight up it would make no sense for a human to step in front of it and climb it when there was to the left of it a much easier way. So easy in fact it had a dirt path going around the rock so no need to climb the rock.

It looked like based on my observation something came out of the woods crossed this dirt path and took a single step in front of this rock and was trucking it up into the canyon. Honestly, it looked like something jumped real hard in front of the rock then climbed up the rock and continued to go up the steep rocks into the canyon. While the track was old it had size and depth something made it human, bigfoot or one hell of a large bear. Tammy even thought this was a very strange track based on its size, depth and where it was located. This canyon is very rugged its nearly impossible to navigate there are no set paths just rocks and foliage everywhere for hundreds of feet up into it. If you can get through it then you can descend down onto Cody Meadows but after a couple hours of climbing we turned around we decided it was becoming to horrendous and I had a plan B. Which was to take a jeep road along a ridge then hike down into the meadow this way.

Keep in mind Cody Meadows goes for a few miles its a very long and large meadow. But I was interested in visiting the Cody Ranch and Homestead Site which later become a Ski Hut. I knew I could not cover a seven mile long meadow in what time we had left of our day. I really wanted to hike from the lake through the meadows up to the homestead. The canyon just was not working although its possible maybe to go over the lip of the lake and down to the meadow this way because my guide does show a path below the lake through the meadows out there we just never found it because some websites talk about taking the canyon through the south end. That canyon was a bust and it ate into allot of our time so we went back down to the lake.

I took some Friday The 13th blooper photos at the cabins before we left Cody Lake. I mean after all Friday the 13th was coming up so we kind of wanted the whole camp crystal lake feeling. By then to many folks were hiking, fishing and wandering around. Man this place had gotten busy and it was a Sunday then again ti was Labor Day weekend so I guess its expected. I talked to a guy who had hiked up there with a few of his kids and they all had fishing poles. I seen his kids climbing up into the canyon and warned him how bad and dangerous it was. He told me he was just letting them wear down a little.

I mean you still have to be careful this is one of the most offbeat primitive boy scout camps in the country really its the only camp like this of its kind making it a historic site. But the dangerous are still there I mean whatever made that track above Cody Lake in that canyon is probably still around somewhere so I would not want my kids wandering in the canyon up there without being watched. Not only that but we may have just seen a ghost to of some woman who knows. I wont lie there is a bit of a heavy feeling up here or strange feeling I cant pinpoint what that is but something feels off up here. Not saying its a bad place but there is a bit of a creepy feeling.

You have hundreds of boys who have camped here years and years of Boy Scouts sharing tales, scary stories etc. It has deep native roots up here and it is in a bigfoot hot zone area. Many of the men decades ago who came here as Boy Scouts are long gone these cabins were all named after previous troop leaders and scouts. Many of these men went off to war a short time after graduating from Scouthood and who knows maybe there spirits have decided they like Camp Cody better then haunting a house. But there is quite a bit of energy here and years of good times. Even before the 1930's when this was established as a camp the Boy Scouts were said to have been coming here to hike, camp and fish. However, it would be in the 1930's when the first permanent structures were built.

We would eventually hike out of the lake basin along the cliffs back into the woods. When I arrived at my truck there were quite a few vehicles here. So its a well visited place even if the scouts are not using it. I was not sure what would have happened if they were because honestly I did not want to hike through the middle of there camp. But they have a website and there calendar stated that they would not be using it labor day weekend so we were able to spend sometime at the cabin sites. I took some EVP also while up here you never know every old camp has a resident ghost.

I then took the dirt roads and trust me there are quite a bit dirt roads up in this area. You can drive from the American River Pass of Route 50 south to the Carson Pass by taking the roads found through here. My goal though was to drive south then easy and on this jeep road where I would park on this ridge and we would hike down to Cody Meadows. This would put us a mile or so hike away from the old Cody Homestead which we had more then enough time to get to and check out.

My drive was scenic I kept climbing higher and higher as I worked my way through Packsaddle Pass. Some of the roads were rugged but man what a view. The higher we climbed the more we could see the Crystal Mountain Range and Pyramid Peak across the other side of the valley. We could see where we went up into the Wrights Lake area a couple weeks prior from afar. Strange thing is I have photos taken from both sides of Strawberry Valley from the top of the mountains. This time I was staring north towards the Crystal Mountain however two weeks prior I was staring south at the heavily forested peaks I was now skirting around to get down to Cody Meadows.

I took this jeep road it climbed up to the top of the range on this ridge line which eventually gave us some really awesome views to the south of the mountains of the Carson Pass and to the north mountains of the Crystal Range. Its not often you can see views of the sierras looking at peaks that line both passes but we were nearly at over 8k so we were way above Cody Lake and high above the passes. Id say it was about seven mile between the two passes and we were in the middle of them at the top of the sierras.

We would grab our packs and began to head east. The jeep road was rocky but it was doable but I was not taking it any further. I could have probably driven down to the meadows but that would have been pushing it. Over the past few years I learned that its okay to take a few risk but if the road is going to get you stranded your better off hiking the last couple miles. If you hike you come across tracks, bigfoot sightings and other evidence. So I was okay with hiking 1.1. miles down to the meadows no big deal. But time was really not much on our side. On a good note we were the only vehicle up here or person it does not appear these primitive roads get to much attention unless your a serious offroader.

Man the views of Thunder Mountain and Round Top Peak were amazing from afar. I climbed both of those years ago and on both mountains I had some compelling bigfoot evidence and encounters. So while I was hiking I kept looking south and staring at those peaks wondering if the big ole boy still navigates those peaks. Its quite possible Round Top Peak was still snowcapped and here it was September 1st and well we start getting snow up there in September so technically we can say that these higher peaks are going to stay snow covered all year which is a rarity considering the milder winters we have had recently. But this past winter was furious we had record snowfalls so that is probably what attributed to snow still being up there.

Eventually we descended down to this area where there are four crossroads it gets very confusing up here. Because then when you take one of those roads it splits three ways again so very very easy to get lost. I should have marked the road but I did not which would hurt us later on when we came through here at night woooo that part of my story is coming bare with me. I did not mind the hike out to the meadow but we were only a couple hours from sundown we spent most of our day trying to climb in that canyon above Cody Lake.

When we got to the bottom of one of the dirt roads we turned left there was this section of woods that was so overgrown and shady it was creepy. But at the end of the road through the meadow you could make out the old homestead site so I was getting really excited. I mean finally something I could actually explore and do a solid paranormal investigation at. Even if the homestead or ranch did not turn up to be haunted I did not care I at least was able to explore something abandoned and historic in no mans land which just adds to that eeriness.

At the end of the road you come on out to this big meadow you can hear water trickling as a matter in fact there are multiple tributaries of Cody Creek but some of them were try. The creek kind of spidered out in different directions right out in front of the Cody Homestead. Also besides the homestead was a garage or workshop perhaps it was used for storage. There was also a outhouse on the property toilet seat and all in tact. Its possible there were other outbuildings maybe even a barn standing up here at one time but as far as I could tell I only seen three structures in total all next to one another.

The meadow is a bit narrow not as wide open as I thought surrounding by woods and to the north was the hill we would have came over if we continued to climb through the canyon. The woods sat all along the back side of the homestead and its other structures. The meadow had a few wild flowers growing but not much you could tell it was drying up and that winter was coming soon. Most meadows by labor day weekend are brown and have no wild flowers. That is because the seasonal creeks run dry then the meadows are no longer lush. Then Fall comes with that the rain then the snowfalls and then in the Spring the snow melts and it all starts over again as creeks are flowing once again.

Even though it was not sundown just yet the sun goes behind the mountains off to the west so it was already darker in this meadow then it would have been earlier in the day. Tammy told me she thought the two story homestead was creepy. I thought it was to imagine this old abandoned house in the middle of the mountains its two stories tall, no windows, door laying on the ground off its hinged at an angle where you can just walk right on in, shingles of siding blown off with logs exposed, metal roofing twisted all pulled up and sitting in an overgrown meadow. I read it was built around 1914 and was a cow camp or ranch rather. I also found out they used it later on a couple decades later to graze sheep and the property had changed hands a few times and was even leased out to others who wanted to graze livestock in Cody Meadows. Back in the day this homestead and the land around it totaled 1500 acres so it was a very large ranch at one time.

I did quite a bit of research before I went here because I wanted to know more about the property itself. For example the door was made out of one giant piece of wood which you could open by pulling a draw string and they had a bucket which came in from a spring in front of the homestead while cooking was done via wood stove. I know it had a wood stove because the homestead did have a chimney in the den which you can see just standing at the front entrance. I read one mans account who worked on this ranch back in the 70's and lived here. He would also take his family during the summer months to stay up here and marked his daughters growth on the door frame. I did look at the door frame never found it but that is because the homestead today is dilapidated.

Just from standing at the entrance you could see the place had been infested with mice maybe even rats who knows. But paper, furniture etc is torn up to pieces to an extreme. As a matter in fact between the vandalism, litterers, garbage and the elements the place is looking in bad shape. I did suit up to go inside but not without having something over my nose and mouth. You do not want to breath that air in there if you stir up rodent droppings you could get sick or worst remember that. People die every year from the hantavirus. I have some pretty cool bandanas and cloth mask I can wear my one cloth mask is Jason Vorhees and it just goes over most of my face pretty bad ass if you ask me and it helps keep those particles from getting in my lungs and throat.

Tammy opted out she was spooked by the place but not as much as how disgusting she found it to be. You see back in the 1980's a man by the name of Fred Hartmeyer turned the homestead into a ski hut for Nordic Skiers. Most winter weekends skiers would rent or utilize the hut. Fred had a dream of having a few huts in the area that skiers could bunk up at. This was a good way for skiers to get out of the cold rest of the night have a hot meal then get back out there the next day and perhaps make there way to another hut. Most winter weekends the hut was occupied by skiers who came out to Strawberry Valley. Basically the first day the skiers would get there then day two was a fun day for skiers to do that which is ski and explore while day three was leaving. The skiers would start at the Strawberry Lodge which we would visit at the end of our trip and make there way up the gorge which was very steep passing not to far from Cody Lake.

Fred urged travelers to only carry day packs as bedding and food stocks would be provided at each of his huts. The hut could fit up to a dozen skiers and they could sleep upstairs in one of the two bedrooms. Then again I found signs that the bottom room may have also had a couple beds as well. The trip leaving the hut was mainly all downhill back into the Strawberry Valley. In the mid 80's the hut was a popular little attraction. Groups of skiers were staying here every weekend during the winter months. I am sure it was a really cozy place to stay at and warm up in. Its so remote and in the winter I am sure beautiful up here but as far as services go there are none so if you were a skier you definitely had salvation here as a winter retreat and safe haven. I guess Fred got terminally ill and passed away but his dream died with him. Which meant this place fell into disrepair because it was not being maintained.

When I entered the homestead I was impressed with how much bigger it is on the inside then how it looks on the outside. The home inside is very dark you have some light peering in through cracks but it is minimal.. The homestead sits up on a stone foundation so to enter you have no steps you have to climb up the door which is fallen to the ground. Upon entering I see a broken tea cup, quite a bit of 80's furniture like the couches. There was books laying around everywhere, torn magazines, dirt covering the wood floor, boots, broken china and in a cabin I saw some mice poison a big bag of it enough to kill a few elephants I am sure lol.

There is just plenty of garbage all over the place for example a bag of doritos from the 80's. When you walk in through the front door to your left is the den, straight ahead a small kitchen area which is really part of the den,in the middle is a narrow steep wooden stairwell going upstairs and then to the right a downstairs bedroom. That bedroom had a couple couches in it, a shower and bathroom believe it or not. There was a sign hanging off the urinal that said John not usable. This room had two couches in it too one an ugly green another bright red and I think also a cot perhaps for an extra skier or two staying here. You could clearly also see the logs used to build the homestead with insulation behind them and then the shingles. Really this is a log cabin so yeah at the time it would have been the perfect ski hut because it would have retained heat but also kept out the elements. It was built and made to stand it just had gotten let go for so long that now its beyond being able to be saved.

The upstairs was a bit hard for a tall guy like me to get through its very narrow and steep up a stairwell which has a hatch you have to open. The hatch is also on a rope with a latch that you pull to open. When you get upstairs there is the main room to your right and to your left you take a single step up into a smaller room. The floor is really bad in the big room and it shakes not sure its very stable. But there is a hole in the floor and if your not careful it might give out and you could fall through so a heads up because folks still like to go out here. I seen some beer bottles around and paint cans to scattered about.

Upstairs is full of chewed up bedrolls, blankets and mattresses. I would say that the first room has four beds/cots a table in the center of the room and a no smoking sign above the window. The second room upstairs has about  four to five as well with another end table of sorts in the center of the room. Both upstairs shudders are open but the glass windows have been smashed out. Downstairs windows are all boarded up so its really dark inside. One of the beds has a ripped or shredded mattress cover and the shredding's been tied off around some light fixture or what appears to be a smoke alarm thought this was a bit strange because there were multiple strands tied to it forming this teepee like pattern.

I looked out the top window had Tammy take a photo of me thought it was pretty funny to tell you the truth and I was happy to get some fresh air. The place is really dingy and dusty rodents have torn everything up. When I was inside I heard rodents scratching and it made me all the more weary to get out as soon as I can. I realized I video taped with the wrong camera inside so the footage is dark and after leaving I was not going back in. I got more then enough photos to show off the place and well the photos are what is relevant. The place is torn to pieces tea pots, plates, broken glass, boots, insulation everywhere etc its just hell inside. While I may not have experienced any ghost here the place is just creepy you look out a window and all you see is dark woods and meadow right before sundown.

I did not have much time once I left the home it was almost nightfall and I wanted to revisit the workshop which had these two big drums in it and a work bench. I revisited the outhouse a second time too just trying to make my rounds while recording EVP's. Now that I think about it I heard some kind of weird noise in the woods it sounds like whispering maybe a vocalization sort of. We were the only ones up here there were no people in the meadow or in the woods behind this place. Hell this location is hard to even get to and if you do get there you probably wont see anyone because the one thing that lacks up here are good hiking trails so you just sort of have to rough it in or offroad on the jeep roads to work your way back here.

It was almost dark my dogs were just chilling out on the grass out front. Tammy got to eat some dinner we brought subs for dinner I had a big ass turkey and ham sub but I did not get to eat. I wanted to eat it after my investigation of the ranch site and homestead but it was nearly dark and we had to hike over a mile up hill across a woodsy ridge back to the truck. I figured id just get back to my truck offroad out of the area and by an hour id be on my way home while eating listening to music boy was I wrong. We were in over our head for the long run and it was going to be a long long night.

We grabbed our gear begin to backpack down the dark woodsy road from there you make a right then ascend up to these cross roads unfortunately the road we needed was this diagonal road its easy to miss because its narrow kind of woodsy and a bit rugged. The other roads are wider, softer dirt and its all sort of wide open. All roads go in different directions so it gets a bit confusing especially since by the time we had gotten there it was nearly dark and when it gets dark out here it gets really dark. You see nothing but stars and space above you so finding roads, paths etc is a bit challenging. I did not bringing extra batteries we had one bright tactical light, a crank light which is bright which I forgot about and another tactical light low on batteries which I was carrying.

I did get my bearings via gps problem is that its not allocating right and it has not been working right for a few months. Which has caused us to get turned around because when I turn it wont turn and the needle gets stuck the opposite way so it gets confusing. Well we took one road a quarter mile and I did not see our tracks so I told Tammy we need to turn around. We took another road which appeared to be leading south towards the Carson Pass definitely not it. We were on the right road then Tammy pulled up the GPS on her cell phone saying that its showing the road we were on is a dead end. However my GPS showed this road going all the way through. Reason why phones show it as a dead end is because a portion of the trail is a jeep offroading trail so it gets bad and on maps kind of fades. But my GPS showed it as a through road. I told Tammy I feel were on the right trek but she swore up and down my GPS was lying and her phone is showing a dead end so it would be a wasteful mile jaunt if the road just dead ends.

So silly me did not check for tracks because you cant argue with women they generally have to be right so I told Tammy take us to where you think our truck is. I sat back let her hike ahead by 50' stayed behind because my light was so dim and there was boulders all over the road we were on and deep roots. Definitely easy to sprain and ankle or fall and hit your head here so you have to be careful. Tammy was taking us down a road that went SW descending kind of steep. I told her look I do not see our tracks however I also told her on my GPS were roads that jetted to the right which meant we could just take one of those roads maybe get to the top of the ridge and find that road the truck was parked on.

Well we came across about four or five roads to the left and right some were out with barriers others went diagonally. But none of them seemed to go up to that ridge. I knew by now we were probably 2k below the truck and ridge instead of ascending to the truck like we were suppose to be doing. We kept trying roads to the right they were no goes hell we thought okay will find the main road from here that intersects with this jeep road well we never came across the main road because id just hiked the main road for a few more miles then found the turn off for the truck. It was getting darker, cooler and we were wearing down. It was around midnight and we could barely even hike more we had been hiking for four hours down this road imagine four hours of nonstop hiking so we were now miles and miles away from salvation.

The woods on both sides of this road were so dense with giant rock formations, brush, mountain sides covered in dense woods etc. Tammy's light begin to dim mine was just about out and well we had a crank light which is bright at the time I did not pull it out because cranking every few minutes is kind of a pain when your hiking with your four month old puppy who has never been outdoors and probably is not use to hiking on rocks in the pitch dark. My other dog kept going far up ahead he sees good at night but I was worried a mountain lion or worst might get him because he would run off in the woods then run back to the road a few minutes later and all you would see is his glowing eyes come running back down the road towards us.

Tammy was hurting the first time she fell she completely cut up her knee, shin and ankle bad it was bleeding. A few minutes later some loose sand on another boulder made her fall back she hit her head had a concussion. I was so worried about her but she also begin to really get angry about being lost and really was not paying attention to the rugged road we were on. This is a real jeep road meaning big rocks some are jagged, deep roots, dirt, loose rock etc and we were going down hill so its real easy to roll an ankle or fall. I rolled my ankle it hurt like hell but I was okay but man that hurt for a bit.

On top of it we were cold we wore summer clothes because we figured before it got dark we would be back at the truck. I mean in the summer it can get to 18 degrees overnight up here even if you have a 88 degree day doesn't matter. Nights are really chilly up here and if your caught without extra clothing for warmth you might be very cold. Eventually I told Tammy we need to stop were going further away from the truck and we cant see anything. Even a couple hours of rest is good so I decided to take it and then we could find the truck as dawn.

It took me a half hour but I found this massive tree on a hill side just off the road surrounded by brush that we would camp at. I did not have my tent or sleeping bag so we just had to sleep on the ground maybe use the backpack to rest our heads on for awhile. I was so freaking tired I really at this point did not care if I slept in bigfoot's den to be honest as long as I got some rest. I did not want to be on the road what if someone drove past and seen us sleeping then what? People are not always right in these real remote areas trust me I have had to deal with some weird people who probably would butcher you if they had the chance not to get caught.

We slept the night was cold I guess Tammy said a vehicle drove by at like 3am maybe 4am past us did not see us. But then at dawn just as it begin to get light out my gf seen a vehicle tried to flag them down and the dude was being a creeper telling her to come closer where he could see her then he realized as he pulled up a little more then I was there and got spooked off. Maybe he thought he was going to get lucky but he tells Tammy oh yeah your seven miles from Cody Meadows and did not even offer us a ride halfway there just says good luck at hiking back there after we told the dude what happened. People are just jerks id be okay I guess hopping in the back of someone's pick up or whatever if need to be.

We start hiking down the road its barely light out but this time were hiking up for miles back to those crossroads. Its amazing during the day how different this area is the woods seem more friendly when you can see into them. There were meadows and even about four to five primitive campsites with firepits. One of the campsites had a stack of fresh cut logs. We could have camped out with a nice warm fire but Tammy missed them all. I told her while we hiked keep an eye out for any campsites along the way because often campers will create camp sites along jeep roads to camp at in case they break down or they are on a long 40 mile rocky journey. She simply could have found them by shining her light along the open areas along this road in the forest so she was kicking herself for it and so was I because man it was still very cold in the morning. It took nearly three hours for us to even warm up from the long cold night.

It was a rough night believe me we just made mistakes then again half of it was because her phone showed the road being a dead end even though where the truck was parked on was not a dead end while mine would not allocate. I should not have taken that jeep road for seven miles down hill but I figured we could cut right just skirt around the mountain the truck was on but it was a no go. However, in the morning Negro Canyon was beautiful lots of butterflies, flowers etc when we took breaks along this road. The road was tough to hike to many rocks, holes, ruts etc its just overall to terrible to even take some jeeps on. I seen some guy alone in some soccer moms mini van driving a portion of the road and I told Tammy their is no way I am hitching a ride with that guy. Anyone with a minivan in the high sierras on a jeep road is not right in the head lol.

Eventually we got up to the cross roads and I seen a small brown forest sign. I went back on the road Tammy said not to take because it dead ends and I found over and over our tracks coming down this road and I knew this would take us back to the truck. If you get lost just follow your tracks that is one policy I try to implement but we did not because we spent a half hour bickering over whose GPS was right when all I had to do was finding a few of my tracks. My sneakers had circular impressions very few folks have that so you cant miss a track like that. But I followed my tracks all the way back to the truck for over a mile. When I seen the truck I never felt so happy to once again stand on that ridge see the mountains of the Carson Pass to the left and the Crystal Range to our right I felt somewhat again whole again. We almost hiked down to the Carson Pass on foot we were not far from Caples Lake or Creek which is a hike I did last year ago on.

We probably hiked nearly 18 miles in total on this trip more then we should have or wanted to. It was just suppose to be hike to Cody Lake visit the camp perhaps climb through the canyon to the meadows and homestead then go home. But instead one thing led to the next and soon we were hiking seven miles at midnight in the dark trying to find a way out of this rat maze. Even though I found the truck I had many miles of rock crawling and journeying just to drive down into the Strawberry Valley. I was not taking any of the crappy roads to find another way out of here the safest way is to go the way I came back so I drove the jeep road on the ridge which takes you to a main dirt road which is still a bit bumpy but its doable.

I would make it back to Strawberry Valley and descend upon it. My work was still not done you see there are places in Strawberry that have connections to the Cody Lake area. The first stop I would make was the Strawberry Valley House plaque. This use to be at one time a resort, stage stop and back before a Pony Express Station. Who would have known the Pony Express ran through here but the truth is route 50 is the original Pony Express Route through the pass. I guess the riders had some other roads in the valley they would go up into also. But along the road there is a plaque where it use to stand other then that nothing is visible of its remains today. But I had to stop because for me history is a huge part of what we do here its not all about chasing monsters or ghost. The first men to have braved this frontier were not members of PGS but rather the men who were employed by the Pony Express and the miners who came up here seeking out gold.

Adjacent from that is the old Strawberry Lodge it was established in 1858. I am thinking about getting a room here sometime maybe enjoy the restaurant. Behind the restaurant is Lovers Leap I should have talked about the history during my video filming but did not. Their is an old native legend about a Miwok Maid and a Washoe warrior who fell in love but the medicine man forbid it or village Shaman. Since the pair was unable to wed I believe they stood up at the top of Lovers Leap and jumped to there deaths. The leap can be seen anywhere in Strawberry and yes you can hike to the top which is something maybe we can figure out and do in the future if anyone wants to climb it with me and stand at the top lol. The leap is somewhat visible behind the old lodge. But the lodge itself is significant in other ways to since its really the only remaining historical building of that era stills standing in Strawberry and back in the day skiers would start here skiing to the Cody Ski Hut which we explored the evening before.

I love this rustic lodge there is even an old truck on site. The lodge is a bustling place people come to stay here so they can enjoy the area and all it has to offer. The entire lodge is built out of stone and wood its really nice but also one of the oldest structures standing in Strawberry or the area and its not a small lodge trust me. Its a few stories high with nice views of the mountains surrounding it including the leap. I did walk around took some photos Tammy took a nap I mean we just had a hellacious night in the woods sleeping in the cold and instead of going home to warm up here is good ole Lord Rick still exploring like none of that shit ever happened lol. But the old lodge was one of the only lively places on the Placerville Stage in between Virginia City and Placerville. The inn did burn down but was rebuilt but when Strawberry nearly became a ghost town it was the lodge which kept operating that kept the dream alive and today its a really bustling area.

Just down the road from the lodge is Sciots Camp which boast  around 77 cabins along the American River. I did not go there to rent a cabin but rather to see the plaque which commemorates John C. Fremont and Kit Carson. Being a history buff these are two of my favorite western explorers they really explored the hell of the sierras including set eyes on Lake Tahoe before any other White European. They camped here in 1844 then moved on along the river till they reached Sutters Fort. This was their campsite of the second expedition they made. As a matter in fact it was Fremont, Kit Carson, Tom the broken hand Fitzpatrick, Charles Preuss and two dozen other men. They camped right along the river here with fifty horses and mules. He was descending off the sierras traveling along a ridge between Sales Canyon and Strawberry Creek that led out from the Carson Pass. As a matter in fact the ridge ended at the top of Lovers Leap then he made his way down into the valley crossing the river and stayed at today's Sciots Camp I guess Fremont fell into the American River while trying to cross the rocks Carson probably saved his life near this location.

Sciots Camp is a cozy little place the river was actually raging which is rare for this time of year. The plaque on the wall of this cabin is small and its easy to miss. Tammy found it I thought I missed it and was about to turn around. I stopped by the bridge at the river to photography some purplish pink flowers when this humming bird flew right in my face and it hovered just out in front of me it was really cool. I think it was a really nice on the way home type of experience. I did get a photo of it I mean how can I not? Sciots Camp, Strawberry Valley House and the Lodge are all within a short distance of one another. However, if you wish to cross the river and do the hike to the top of Lovers Leap that is quite the jaunt unless you can find a primitive short cut to it. Also I wanted to see Sciots Camp because that is where the scouts hike from to go up to Cody Lake and its quite the jaunt from there but worthwhile if you want to see Cody Lake.

It was nice to go home though and for me its a nice drive around Lake Tahoe so I cant complain. I was a bit tired did not sleep well but did get some rest out in the woods. I was happy to be home so I could see Fear The Walking Dead. Tammy and I decided to order Panda Express I was not going to cook dinner after the day I had hiking nearly 20 miles and shivering all night in the wilderness. But I did get a ton of work done and all the places I went to all tie into one another. So this was a big project for us because so much revolves around Cody Lake besides its been rated one of the most primitive beautiful boy scout camps in the nation. Very few boy scout camps are primitive where you have to hike up into them to stay and so I think its a great thing for those city kids who never get to experience the great outdoors.

Whether or not Bigfoot roams out here I cant say I found a few strange things then again this entire area has a long standing history of Bigfoot sightings and experiences others have collected. Its possible that the ranch was haunted and Bigfoot was off in the woods behind it making those odd sounds I heard nobody knows but I like to keep an open mind while doing my research. I may come back up here to primitive camp we have talked about packing in with our tent and sleeping back setting up something just above this lake to do a little fishing, swimming, exploring etc someday so look for a second expedition. Who knows I may stay at the Strawberry Lodge one night and do an investigation there too so were open to more explorations and possibilities. Lovers Leap might be a fun little side trip too which is these massive cliffs near the lodge or adjacent to it. So with that being said I left Pyramid Peak and Lovers Leap behind me looking back thinking to be continued! Were far from done with the beauty and history The Strawberry Valley has to offer! The end to a crazy Labor Day expedition that is for sure!

Lord Rick

PS This report is a rough draft and may have renditions once it gets indicted on our website.
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