Gunnery Creek Topo Map

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This is the creek distinguished by O'Shaughnessy Falls No. 2. Locals refer to it as "the creek at Gunnery Grade". Let me explain. A little farther west, above the present highway, you can make out the line of the pre-1920 road blasted out of rock by Billy Gunnery and called "Gunnery Grade under Billy Gunnery's Mountain". Back then there was a steep drop from the road to the Highwood River which has since migrated across the valley bottom. Continually undermined by the river and blocked by scree slides, it saw frequent accidents and closures. One scene from the 1926 Hollywood western "His Destiny" was filmed on this spot with ranger Freddy Nash, dressed in drag, doubling as leading lady Barbara Kent. Unfortunately, the movie's not available on video. Use this lovely valley trail as an alternate route into Wileman Creek, as a quick approach to Holy Cross Mountain, or with Grass Pass (see #260 for details) to make an easy circuit nearly all on grass which is sure to become a classic. Alternatively, if used to steeper slopes with scree, and are capable of routefinding, climb to the notch or Gunnery Mountain for the view. From the latter two you can make loops using the highway—a chance to examine Gunnery Grade at firsthand.
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Mar 2018