COLD CANYON LOOP 22X April 6, 2008

Wishing to get some exercise with gain, I motored off from home and arrived at the primitive parking lot for the Stebbins UCD Reserve. I needed a break from the work I've been doing on my computer and for taxes.

Along CA 128, they have done some work, being two new paved, public parking lots with stone restrooms, one signed Putah Creek Public Access. These are convenient for hikers who didn't use anything back in Winters, CA. There is no facility at the Cold Canyon trailhead.

Starting my hike at 11 a.m., I had been lucky to get a parking spot. Lots of cars, today. A group was standing on the trail as I hiked up from the highway, and I managed to get by.

The wildflower display wasn't too bad, much better than the year before. I had a good time with my camera, and the diffuse light. Clouds had come overhead, but I could shoot many close-ups. They have put in most of the wooden steps, and this uphill trail was now better than long ago. The old, steeper sections have been closed with cut brush, and paper signs advise of the change.

A few other hikers happened by, and I enjoyed a dramatic panorama of the Lake as I reached the ridge. I had taken the short side trail to see anything, to it's view down to the dam.

On top of Bump 1,475', I snapped a few photos, with another photographer looking about the summit area. He had a large, long lens, but stated not to be any professional. I quickly left him, and headed along the ridge trail, running into several other hikers. The sights of more wildflowers inspired me to more close-ups, and I then came to the highest bump.

Paused on top of some rocks, I saw some hiker had thrown away orange peels down over a rocky ridge, and they lay scattered for me to see. Two other hikers came by, and one of them declared that he'd pick them up. An endless job, I guess.

More hikers came by, some lightly dressed. It had been a bit cold and windy along the ridge, and one could hardly guess at the conditions from down below. Advising some people, I recalled, from the distant past, getting chilled and suffering a headache. Some of them had no water, too. Poison oak grew profusely right along the trail, and I made sure not to swipe by any.

Shortly coming to the main, lower trail, I shot a picture of the Homestead site, and quickly left to head out. The creek water was low, and someone had placed rocks in a pile where normally there is a three foot jump to cross the creek. The trail was all dry, and most all was bright green.

Figuring to get back home early, I didn't want to do Pleasants Ridge as it'd take another two hours. I already had my two cans of cold soda, and finished my quart water bottle as I motored back home. As I came to the lower trailhead, I saw someone didn't like this sign.

To the lot at 2:45 p.m., I drove back to Winters where I used a facility and had a smaller sub sandwich. My desire was to post my photos right away, and get some good sleep in preparation for some work in the next week.

Hiking my standard 4.75 miles with 1,500' gain, I captured almost 200 images and movie clips. I spent only $3.50 for a drink of 99 cent canned sweet tea and the sandwich. The 80 mile round trip used about 2 gallons of gas.

I wore a shell parka over a sweater and LW crew, with light pants. My worn out, low cut boots never gave me a thought about them. I sort of had to force myself to make this drive and hike, being that I wished to use up my allotted miles between maintenance.

Someone in that larger group had mentioned "ticks," but I never saw one. I saw the usual turkey vultures, and many lizards.

Looking at a shorter road trip in a few more days, that will depend on how the week and weather goes.