Monday, March 25, 2013

West Ridge Trail: Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park

1/2 hour's drive followed by1/2 hour's hike and I get this.

I love Northern California!

After far too many minutes this morning running around collecting scattered hiking gear, I drove off in the direction of Pilot Hill and Cronan Ranch Park. I've written about it before in this blog.

This time, I decided to climb West Ridge Trail. I had planned to come back on Up and Down Trail, but decided I had been out long enough and my ankles are still not ready for gonzo hiking. So back I went via West Ravine Trail and Cronan Ranch Road Trail.

I spent rather more time than I'd planned, chatting with other park users and trying to take non-blurry flower photos.

I also spent some time staring, slack-jawed, and vast swaths of extremely enthusiastic poison oak.

I'd better wash the bottoms of my shoes with Tecnu.

This is a very popular trailhead for horse-back riding. I saw some setting up when I got there and some more on the trail.

I also saw some mountainbikers arriving when I left (who generally don't frequent this area since there are other areas where horses are not allowed).

It was a lovely day for a hike, some scattered clouds and reaching maybe 60 degrees when I was done.

I'll be visiting this park again: close to my house, good for mild conditioning hikes. I may have even identified a couple more hanging trees (for my hammock, not for people who don't clean up after their animals but that's another rant) on one of the picnic-table-enhanced West Ridge Trail overlooks.

Here's a link to a mercifully short YouTube video from today's hike.
Trail Video

Monday, March 18, 2013

South Fork American River Trail, again

18 March 2013

I hiked about 2 hours today, going farther this time then I did last time I took this trail (blog post here).

The P in the lower left is where I parked: TH is the trail head, and the other white arrow is where I turned around. The scribbly lighter brown line is the trail. I'll give mt bikers this, their trails sure are distinct!

Here's part of the Pilot Hill USGS map. The X at the center top is about where I got today.

I seem to recall I whined a lot about this trail last time: I suppose I thought I'd have wonderful views of the river as I trotted along. So this time, knowing a bit what to expect, I decided to have no expectations and just walk. Much better.

Mountain bikers, one other hiker, some flowers, a few birds, and a few trees. And lots of poison oak once I got off the scrubby hillside. Will I get it? Ask me again in a few days. I stopped at the store on the way home and bought some Tecnu scrub and washed my hands and arms in the bathroom there. When I'm done with this post, I'll go scrub my hiking poles.

I parked, as usual, on the other side of the Salmon Fall bridge, where a couple of congenial mountain bikers were unloading at the same time.

This is, I suppose why no one parks here, even if it is not closed.

Spent some time trying for fancy video from the bridge and then proceed up the switchbacks, shooting flowers as I went.

Paused at the place I turned around last time (I remember the scrubby little pine tree) and decided to see that lay ahead.

DOWN was ahead! So DOWN I went, employing my hiking poles to keep me from descending faster than I intended.

DOWN into the Land of Different Vegetation including the Dread Poison Oak. It has been too long since I've been hiking and I'm not so good at keeping an eye out for it.

The trail turned into what looks to me like an old road-bed. I didn't follow it too far, since I needed to get home and do some tax stuff. Joy. I've since poked around on some old topos, but can't find what looks like a road there. Who knows.

At the bridge again, I noticed a ring concreted into a rock. Construction leftovers from bridge? Mining? Who knows.

 I enjoyed this trip on the trail much more than last time. Hurrah for no expectations!

And just for the fun of it, an under 6 minute video of my hike! I'm linking to YouTube since videos don't seem to work right in Blogger. So here's the link.