STEVENS TRAIL 20X March 29, 2009

Getting up at a rightful hour, I knew what to hike today. It was to be a bit cooler, with wind, so a canyon hike was in order.

Driving up Interstate 80, I got gas at 2.179, and found upon my arriving at the BLM trailhead for the North Fork of the American River via the Stevens Trail, there was a new outhouse. Starting my hike then at about 10:20 a.m., I found that the normally (in winter) red dirt of the first 100 yards was damp but not muddy. The dry spell and warmth is doing great for these types of trails.

The many streams across the trail were all running well, and the biggest one required a slightly exposed step over. Hikers that don't like heights shouldn't do this trail. It seems to be more eroded each time I do this, but I have a bad memory.

The wildflowers began to appear, and I snapped so many photos of some of them with the North Fork in backdrop. The poison oak was leafing as well. The roar of the river was inspiring, and I sought to make good time with my light pack and cold drinks inside. A few hikers were climbing out already, then I came upon the first of many dogs on the trail. Few of them were leashed. Most of them were behaved well enough, and I had some fright of being bit or attacked. It only takes one bite and there goes $100, for me, to get a tetanus shot.

Managing to hike down well enough, I noticed a new trail leading down to other rocks by the river. I'd check that out on my return. Getting to the end of the trail, I hopped the side creek, and saw an old sleeping bag and beer cans about the campsite. A few people were enjoying the day down here, and I sought not to disturb them.

Going back out, I went down to my favorite rocks with the green pools, then rapids. Another couple was there, but shortly left. I had a time with the photography, preferring winter's low light, but the rushing amounts of water made for nice movie clips. Back to the main trail, I wondered about doing a second hike today. I'd see about my time.

Checking the new side trail, I found it leads down to a roaring rapid, making for white water photos. Another good spot to have a picnic by the river.

I snapped more photos of the poppies, profuse, but not quite a carpet. Before the burn I recalled more flowers in more places, but that's what fires will do. It'll be fifty years before it all comes fully back. More hikers came down with dogs. Gad! I stood aside for all of them, asking if their dogs were O.K., a few times.

I was wearing a medium layer over my LW Capilene top, comfortable even climbing up, as the cool breeze made it even chilly. I shortly started my climb out of the canyon, and more hikers were still headed down. Thinking of a juicy burger or a taco, I hustled up and then was back at the cars at 2:30 p.m.

Not feeling like another hike to do, I had found out about the wildflower bloom, here, for the world. I motored back home with a traffic jam at the Highway 65 junction, then had some food once back to town.

This hike was 9 miles with about 1,000' gain. I captured about 300 images, and spent only for $5 worth of gas, with my buffet light meal to hold me till later this night.

Wearing light pants with my light pack, I kept cool enough, and my total round trip time was then 4:10. I was fit and fast enough, compared to other times in my life. The wildflowers perhaps need another week or two to come to peak, or maybe this isn't such a good year. I have photos of much better, before the fire in 2004 or so.

I could hear the train above, then the freeway once near the cars. The buzz of some ATV'ers and motorbikes, maybe, were heard as this is a multi-use area. No bugs bothered me, and I saw a ground squirrel and lizard.

Hopefully I can climb some peaks while there is still some snow, for interest before the summer. I like my ice ax along and snowy views, as from Ralston Peak last spring. But, locally, it's the same old thing, and I'll have to take some chances if I am to climb new peaks.