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Author: Subject: Oak Tree Campground, Santo Tomas- GONE!
thebajarunner
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[*] posted on 10-29-2017 at 01:05 PM
Oak Tree Campground, Santo Tomas- GONE!


Picked up a sad note out of David K's excellent trip report concerning one of our favorite stopping places.
This campground, about five mile in on the La Bocana road out of Santo Tomas was a wonderful first night stopping place.
Shaded, along a creek (which even sometimes had water), off the beaten track....
It was just such a great place to camp out after a long day's slog down through California.
Grab some quick takeout at El Recreo in Maneadero, whip into camp, have some cool ones with great food and spend a safe night.
Wondering why it has been fenced off?
Bummer, for sure!!
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David K
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[*] posted on 10-29-2017 at 01:11 PM


Yes, I was bummed because that field south of the oaks and giant sycamore has some adobe bumps... all that is left of the first mission site for Santo Tomás (1791-1794). The access was 3.4 miles from Hwy. 1, then 0.5 mi. in. All fenced off now and the creek was dry.



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[*] posted on 10-29-2017 at 09:30 PM


The Rio Santo Tomas has been dry in that upper stretch for many years now, since the expansion of the farming operations in the valley. It runs underground until it comes out at the lagoon on the coast, but has been reduced to a trickle compared to what it used to be. Last winter's heavy rains flushed the lagoon, but the water table is still very low. I don't know specifically why the camping area is fenced off, but I suspect that there were just not enough people using it once the river dried up.



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David K
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[*] posted on 10-30-2017 at 09:03 AM


Here are some photos of the picnic area, creek there, and mission, from July 2011:












The mission ruins from 1791.









Here they were in 1975 (academicanachist photo):



and in 1967 (Michael Mathes photo):






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[*] posted on 10-30-2017 at 09:16 AM


:(
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thebajarunner
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[*] posted on 10-30-2017 at 05:35 PM


Yeah, the pix show why the loss of this quiet campground is so sad.
And, contrary to some reports, there has been water in the stream in several of the past years, generally early March
In fact one year we had to leave boat trailers on the far side, they would not likely have made it across the stream.
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David K
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[*] posted on 10-30-2017 at 05:59 PM


Every time I pass a mission site and don't go in for a fresh look, I worry if it may vanish or be fenced off when I want to see it again?

My photos above are from July 4th weekend in 2011. While I have driven by (well on Hwy. 1, 3.9 miles away) dozens of times since 2011, never had a new need to pop in and check on those 'stumps' of adobe from 1791-1794. They (and the picnic area) haven't changed too much since my first visit in 2005:











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