COLD CANYON LOOP 10X March 26, 2006

Figuring on checking the Fiske trailhead, I motored out northwest on CA 16. The weather was nice, and the skies blue. Regular, off Interstate 5, at Road 102 near Woodland, CA, was a nice 2.419. I got drink at the casino, and then came to the Cache Creek Regional Park a bit before Noon. I knew I was in trouble as soon as I glimpsed the river.

Walking down to the low water bridge, the water poured over with about one or two foot depth. Enough to wash you over into the deeper creek. I snapped a few photos, and will put one on my SummitPost page for Fiske.

Headed back south, I was determined to do a hike, today. Coming back to Interstate 505, I drove south about eleven miles to come to Winters, CA. The Cold Canyon Loop would have to do.

The primitive lot was full, but cars were parked on the shoulder, elsewhere. I started my hike at 1:25 p.m., walked to the main dirt lot, and took the trail from there. Crossing the highway, I took my standard, upper trail, to bag the low bumps, first.

Rain had hit here in the days before, so the trail was damp, and muddier in spots, worse than the weekend before. Chugging up the trail, I topped out on bump 1,475' in about 50 minutes. That gave me a rate of ascent of some 1,400 feet an hour. I carried my heavy day pack. I shot many more photos, but it was about the same as the week before. The vistas were clear to the snowy Northern Sierra, and the towns of the Central Valley, here, again.

Hiking along the ridge trail, I found another spot with paintbrush in the foreground, making a nice shot with the lake in the background. Other hikers were about. Most seem to take the lower trail loop, to pass the Homestead, and use the wooden steps to make their ascents.

Chatting briefly with another hiker, I went on to see more happy hikers. I was in my T shirt, and jeans. I figured to save memory this time, by not shooting too much. I did a close-up of a pretty white flower, and then came down to the trail junction. I knew it takes me about 30 or 40 minutes to get back to the highway, then, from here.

The water was higher, and I found a few hikers hesitant to make the three foot jump over the main creek. It is easier to do it the way I came. The water was flowing rapidly, and I cautioned the hikers, about falling in. The rock isn't slippery, but you do have to have balance. Hikers with long legs have little problem. One made his jump, as I headed downstream back to the cars.

Redbud had appeared, now, and the churned-up spots were bigger. But, still not enough to worry about muddy boots in my car.

Back at about 4 p.m., I had done well. I did, then, the four miles, and 1,500' gain. I kept the images and movie clips down to 60. I had to motor about 75 miles more, for my trip out to Cache Creek, all done without using too much fuel.

There were lots of bugs, but I saw no ticks. The turkey vultures flew about, looking for carrion to scavenge.

The deep green grasses will soon dry up, and the hills will turn brown. April can bring highs of 90 degrees, and I would then have to head for the high peaks. I was thinking of a trip out to Pinnacles, but that may have to wait. There's no great, clear weather window in the forecast, as I wish to stay overnight. I know of many distant peaks to climb, but have no takers, for companions, as usual.