Waking at an early hour this fine Saturday, I spent time wondering what to hike. An inquiry to a former hiking companion was returned with a 4:30 a.m. phone call! I declined an offer to climb Pyramid Peak, as it'd take time to get out my old ski gear. Regular hiking wouldn't get very far, as well as I can imagine.

I hoped for a call back for more reasonable hikes or climbs, but nothing there. I wished to head for another short road trip, but for basic conservation. So, the choice was Cold Canyon, the loop, for my twenty-first time!

Hardly ever failing me in new, interesting, things, maybe some hikers would wish to speak with me. I left home and motored to the trailhead. Some new items were seen enroute, and I tried to keep track of what was different.

Starting my hike at about 10:30 a.m., I sauntered up the higher end of the loop trail. A small dirt slide went up to the edge of the trail, not far from the start. There had been a sign indicating a slide, back on CA 128. The recent rains had loosened the dirt, but not as much as I've seen elsewhere, at other times.

Encountering two separate hikers, and one couple, all each with a dog, I wondered about the presumed rules. I was to note later that the sign at the lower start must have been changed, although the signboard, if closely read, said no dogs in the preserve. The higher loop trail is now labeled "dog-friendly." On the high route, no paper sign barred any dog's entrance to the preserve, as seen a year ago, or so.

I shortly topped the first bump, and took a few photos. Nothing new, there. I had taken the short side trail to the overlook, noting a few paintbrush. These were now starting to bloom, although I had seen only several clumps of them, this day.

Seeing about a dozen hikers this day, some were chugging up without packs or water. I had my quart water bottle and two cans of cold soda. I was to get back thirsty, but with no great fatigue or headache.

Some snowy Coast Range peaks appeared to the north, and the distant Sierra could also be seen. A lone motorboat zoomed across the lake, and I had an energetic time making this high loop.

Soon over the high bump, and then down to the Homestead, a few hikers were resting. I took several movie clips of the small cascades (top photo) at one point. Such sights make the reconnection with nature so enjoyable! I glanced to the side and spotted a few old mushrooms, and saw that it was probably too late to witness the more abundant winter displays that I had once seen.

The main stream crossing was a good three foot rock hop, and the water was so clear! I looked for more photos to snap, but soon I came back nearly to the highway. About then 1:35 p.m., I resolved to do Pleasants Ridge.

Clambering up the steep, rocky trail, I enjoyed the exercise for gain, and then ran into some kids. No water or packs, so too much for them. I continued on to the first hill, as the rocks and a lone oak tree (photo right) make this side trip so nice!

Having the time, I sought to bag what seemed to be a higher peak. Obtaining good views of the local Central Valley to the east, I rested on a small second hill, and had my second can of soda, still cold. It was then time to head up again, and the trail, up here, climbs so nicely, compared to the steep portion lower down.

Hopping on larger rocks, I liked the geology. A few more wildflowers appeared, and I shot the best of them. The trail is then overgrown, but I had my long pants and shell parka on. I pushed through the thicker parts, and soon topped the high bump. I seemed to remember that I had been up to here before, and decided to make this the end of my day's uphill exercise. Two further bumps on this ridge looked about as high or higher, but I had no more water to continue on.

Turning back at 3 p.m., I savored the day, so nice for hikers! It would be a careful step down the rocky, steep parts, and then back to the main trail and cars. Someday, I'll explore further, and see what lies atop the two further bumps. I had seen a new plastic container, with condensation and paper inside, back on the loop trail, near the 1,580'+ bump. Didn't touch it. Registers, if that's what that was, really don't belong here, although there are two official ones at each trail start. Just too accessible!

Back to the cars at about 4 p.m., I thought to get liquid. I haven't been this dehydrated for some time. I drank up two bottles of refreshments bought back at a store along CA 128, and merrily motored home.

No bugs, and the sky was full of high clouds, so no sun block needed. I wore a heavier jacket at first, but all came off, EW bottoms included, to don myself in only a T-shirt and shell parka, with light pants. My ball cap served to keep the sun off my head. I used a very old, worn-out, pair of boots, figuring that the trails would be too muddy. Only a few churned-up spots had to be hiked around, and my boot soles stayed clump free.

Checking back, I saw that I had counted this double hike as 5 miles with 2,700' gain, for the day. With the new trail figures (4.75 miles for the loop), I'd think it comes to more like 6 miles, and perhaps, 2,800' gain. Captured 311 images and movie clips. Really a worthwhile hike for the 80 miles, round trip, of driving!