Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Darrington Trail: Folsom Lake SRA

Wednesday, January 18th

It still has not rained, so I 'celebrated' by revisiting the Darrington Mountain Bike Trail, which runs along the South Fork American River. It is rocky and narrow and curvy so I pick my hiking times carefully: not on weekends or holidays, school or otherwise.

Parked at the P, walked across the bridge, followed the trail until the arrow, about 1/2 way up the cut at Big Ravine.

Today I saw 3 other hikers and 4 bikers, typical for my weekday experiences on this trail.

At the beginning of my hike, as I was poking around the Skunk Hollow parking area in a vain search for an unlocked restroom, I ran across these two fellow, shovels, buckets, and pans in hand, looking for a good way to get up river.

Yep. Gold seekers. They were eyeing the South Fork Trail, but I told them they'd be better off walking up the river bed itself since that trail is quite a bit higher than the river.

It is hard to tell where the river ends and the lake begins, but I suppose where I hiked today is really the lake shore, since with the water so low, there are many building foundations visible, flooded with the building of the Folsom Dam.

You could walk down to this one from the boat launch on Salmon Falls road.
A lot of the trail is red dirt, plenty chewed up by mountain bikes, but the red makes any photo look better!

My footprint looks lost among all the treads.

Some of the trail follows an old road bed. The rectangular shape you see is part of an old concrete bridge railing.

I was wearing nylon hiking pants, a midweight merino wool top, and I started off with wrist warmers and a wool shirt, buttoned up to my neck. The lack of sunshine and the cold breeze was quite a shock after the past few weeks. By the time I got to the old bridge, I was ready to shed a layer.

Walking on the old road bed was quite different from the earlier red rocky section. It was easy to imagine folks in the early 20th century going into town on that road, shaded by oaks, listening to the rapids on the river.

Eventually, I started moving away from the lake shore, along the edge of Big Ravine. I considered cutting across the outflow of the ravine, but decided to turn around and head back instead.

The skinny green stripe at the left of the picture is normally full of water. Actually, the bare sandy area in the foreground is also. The trail (on the right) loops around to the left further on at a narrow portion of Big Ravine (there's a little wooden bridge there, if I recall correctly), then heads back towards the lakeshore.
I think if I'd tried to cut across I would have found shoe-sucking mud, since that whole area smelled a bit swampy.

On my way back across the old concrete bridge, I stopped for some tea.

Supercat stove, runs on denatured alcohol.

Are we there yet?


I saw some really nice looking lichen today.

Fractal nature at its best

and mountain-bike humor?

Bandaids stuck to the information kiosk at the trailhead. I have no idea why.

Don't know when I'll be out again, hopefully it will rain and I'll have to go test bike rain gear instead!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monument Trail, Monroe Ridge Trail: Marshall Gold Discovery SP

Wednesday, January 11th

Went on a hike today with a crowd of Sierra Club Seniors, with a few Foothill hikers mixed in. We took in the sights of the original "there's gold in them thare hills". The gaggle of people in this photo are staring at the river where the original lumbermill was where gold was found in the outflow of the water powering the mill.

The leader of this hike was Sheila. She was informative and entertaining. We got some painless doses of history along the trail.

Saw a grinding rock.

We went up up up up to the monument of James Marshall (there were a group of school kids there also learning).

We crossed this ditch twice on our hike. It was originally dug for goldmining purposes.

Then we went up up up some more along the Monroe Ridge Trail, getting several nice views of Coloma along the way.

Sheila pointed out that Manzinata and Madrone trees always feel cool to the touch.

After this, one guy in our party made a point of checking this fact on every manzanita we saw. "Yep," as he touched the cool bark.

We made our way down off Monroe ridge and ate lunch.

I boiled some water for tea on my homemade catstove. Between the tiny stove and my custom pack, I was probably pretty memorable. I was also the only one in shorts. If the weather's going to act like summer, so am I.