COLD CANYON LOOP 16X January 28, 2007

With the extremely dry winter thus far, I wanted to do some hiking to take advantage of the fine weather. No partners, so this two gallon utilizing drive, for me, was the choice, this day.

Wishing to explore culinary items, lately, I drove to Winters, CA, and found a nice, busy cafe for a late breakfast. Relaxing in style, I had an omlette and enjoyed a full fledged meal, with toast and jelly, even, then walking about the old section of town. The redevelopment of this historic area merits my, albeit meager, financial support!

Starting my hike at Noon, I found the mile post reads now, "5.00" at the upper start of the loop. I hardly see how the hike could be extended a full half mile by the newest switchbacks, but it seems an official figure. I will now count this loop as five miles, then.

Chatting with another lone hiker for the duration of my hike, I checked out the new trail, which seems to be about complete. It goes to the main ridge, and I fail to see how much more they could improve it, aside from widening the ridge trail. The rest of the loop is more overgrown. It measures up to major quality trail work, fit for a national park. They do need water bars, and more signs, but I'll see how the work goes over the next few months.

The red dirt swath through the chaparral makes a new sight from the Bump 1,475', and it became a bit chilly due to a wind. I snapped some quick photos, and went on with my new companion for this day. I spoke more about the demise of local peak climbing and most good hiking, with the new chapter management arising to power back in 1987, but most will say I overwork this topic.

Many hikers going the other way asked about distances, and I was happy to apprise them. Some kids were "wowed" by the sight of the reservoir. The sky was cloudy with a patch of blue sky, and then it began to sprinkle. I donned my parka, mainly to protect my cameras, and surmised it wouldn't rain for long.

Right about that, I chatted more with the other hiker, and then I bounded down the wooden steps. Dried-out old mushrooms and still dry grasses were the result of this drought. The hills had not turned the bright green as the Coast Range usually does this time of year! I saw no flowers yet, either, but some manzanita were blooming.

We came to the Homestead, and people were enjoying. The rain had stopped, but the sky stayed fairly cloudy and dark. I knew it doesn't take long to return to the cars, but sauntered along quickly anyway. I had figured on doing Pleasants Ridge, too, but it was now almost 3:30 p.m., as I got back to the lower trail start.

It could have rained more, so I kept this hike as that. I had given a few people my website key word search term, "thousand peaks," to view my photos and posts on this hike. Some 15 hikes here, described with photos, to date.

I have done so many of these loop hikes, I may have to delete them altogether, for future, better, peak climbs to be posted, or get more webspace. The beautiful light and photographic conditions I have had here prompts me to make this a larger website. I see others on the Net pay a small sum yearly to post most all of their beautiful photographs of their hikes and climbs, and I have had such good information from other hikers' contributions. But as frugal as I am, and with as few hits that I get, most likely I'll have to bite the bullet and clear up room by deleting older trips.

This loop hike is now 5 miles, with 1,500' gain, round trip. I shot 131 images, and spent about $11 on the breakfast plus tip. My two liters of water kept me from buying any sodas or other drink, and I had to make no other stops.

The sunset was starting to look good, but another small meal in town, then getting back to my computer, occupied me fully.

Sighting a few non-aggressive mosquitoes, I saw no ticks. Several turkey vultures floated about, and we couldn't figure out what one distant, slow flying, white bird would be.

I wore three layers, with my parka then for the slight precip, and light bottoms under my jeans. Another photographer today recalled visiting my website. Maybe I should do a major upgrade! It'll be a lot cheaper, for a new thing in my life, than high speed Internet, or cable TV!