Friday, December 30, 2011

Mormon Island trailhead: Folsom Lake SRA

A nice foggy day for a walk.

There is a parking lot associated with this trailhead (pay to park) but that lot is closed to the public and full of construction equipment right now. So once again Folsom Lake SRA loses out on my parking fee. I hope they are getting paid rent for that parking lot.

No official parking lot also means no porta-pottys at the trailhead (a sad lack when one hikes soon after one's morning coffee).

Folks park along Sophia Parkway just across Green Valley Road from the dirt road leading to the trail.

After you've crossed Green Valley Road (push button pedestrian signal) jog around to the right of the closed yellow gate next to the parking lot entrance and go left to walk along the Mormon Island Dam or pick up a steep righthand use-trail that connects quite soon with the official trail.

The markers on the trail are sparse, but that does not mean the trail is hard to follow: it has been pounded down to dirt (and sometimes a foot below level) by runners, mountain bikers, and hikers.
I did not see any hoof prints today but I think equestrians are allowed on this part of the trail.
I did see one mountain biker creeping up a steep hill, but I was not fast enough to get a picture. She didn't look extremely excited, much less hysterically happy, more like direly drudging.

The base of the Mormon Island Dam: left from the trailhead takes you along the top of this dam.

You don't have to stay on the official trail if you want to get closer to the water. As dry as this winter's been so far, it will take a little walking to get to the shore.
After the winter rains and spring snowmelt, those little trees on the mini-peninsula are nearly underwater. High and dry now.

Low lake

The trail winds its way along the lakeshore, cutting inland to cross drainage areas, but staying near the lake when possible.

Hikers on the trail as it turns towards the lake

I did not go very far along this trail today, but it eventually hooks up with the trail from the Monte Vista trailhead I wrote about in this post.

In past years I have encountered a lot of poison oak along this trail, but the trail seems to be getting more use these days and the vegetation intrudes much less.

This is a good trail (as are all the low elevation trails) from fall to spring. Summers are quite warm, but an early morning hike - especially after a night of Delta breezes, can be quite nice.

The lake level is right about 400 feet today, so the 400 ft contour line on this map gives a good idea of the shoreline I walked along today. The peninsula you see in the photo above (and the other lake picture) is the two little hills in the map, just above an imaginary line between the red 20 and 21.

This is where I find out about the lake levels. CA Dept of Water Resources.

The trailhead is at the right hand end of the Mormon Island Dam.
I walked north east along the shore today, to just past the first sharp jog of the 500 ft contour line.

Part of the enjoyment I get from hiking is messing around with topo maps and a compass. So you get to enjoy/suffer also.

For a little information about what else I take on a hike besides a map and compass, see this post about the 10 Essentials.

The seasonal time-sucking but enjoyable invasion of family is almost over, so I expect to get out more frequently from this point forward.

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