COLD CANYON LOOP 26X May 8, 2009

Recovering from a touch of some bug, I sought to improve my walking about town. When I was back to doing about 10 miles a day, I figured to start my peak climbing and hiking again. My prospects for partners remained dim, especially for some great ski mountaineering. I gave thought to driving up to Reno this day, as one of my packs, which had been returned from repair, incurred the same zipper giving out again.

To get started making trips along the Eastern Sierra, which I have not visited for years, I thought to get out my cheapo pair of skis and force myself to do it. Though, lodging where I wished to go was not cheap. Camping alone is a drag. I go through this many times, to think what to do. Most always, I deem backcountry skiing as too hazardous to do alone, though I have completed a few solo peak tours. But, maybe I have been lucky.

Waking up at an earlier hour this Friday, it was time to do something. I motored out to the Cold Canyon Reserve, and with not a cloud in the sky, started my short hike at 9:22 a.m.

In the least, I expected to see a nice wildflower display, so immediately stopped for close-ups. I had seen more of a variety of flora another year, so this was disappointing. Mostly, three or four species dominated the scene. Taking the high trail, I did my side trip to the dam overlook, and began to feel a bit dizzy. I had to be extra careful not to trip or slip. Yes, age is taking its toll on me!

Reaching the top of the bump 1,475', I rested with a cold soda. Lake Berryessa makes for a nice vista, and then I continued along the ridge. Plenty of paintbrush graced the ridge trail, and I was glad that I had started early to beat the warmer afternoon temperatures.

Not planning to do Pleasants Ridge today, I could relax. Only then, I'd hike the short time on the trail, and go back into town for the afternoon. Running into a small hiking group, I saw a few other hikers on the lower trail near the Homestead.

The creek was still flowing with clear waters and bubbling pools. I wondered how to stay out here to make better use of the drive, but then knew I'd just do more town walking when I got back home.

Finished with my hike by 12:37 p.m., I motored home after a big cold drink from a mini-mart. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking in the warm air, locally, and tried out a new eatery, with a mammoth double cheeseburger.

For the hike, I did my usual 4.75 miles with 1,500' gain. Driving about 80 miles round trip, I captured 175 images, a lot of the yellow hanging lantern wildflower that seemed quite prolific, this day. I saw only one Mariposa lily, strange as I had seen so many about this time of year, in another season.

Wearing a light two layers at first, I stripped down to a T and wore light pants. I drank up a liter of water plus a can of soda, saving my appetite for getting to the burger joint.