Just finished reading the entire thread. Great report with tons of information. The Sequoia's have some of the most amazing single anywhere.
A few friends of mine tried to clean up the Verplank trail a few years ago but it was too overwhelming for them. They tried from the top and bottom of the trail.
Rode with a few friends in the Piutes in Oct. 2011. We started in Lake Isabella, then 34E31, then Jawbone Canyon Road to the Jawbone Store and then took the pavement back to the Isabella because we didn't have enough daylight to ride the dirt back.
Decided to get some video because I wasn't sure if or when I would ever ride there again. Here is what it is like after the snow melts: