ANNIE’S ROCK (~2,200') November 13, 2013

Apprised of this new trail at my old hiking haunt, Cold Canyon, I determined that I needed more exercise. I had seen the sign indicating the new trail on a few of my past loops here. Determining by information on the Internet that this would be a longer hike than I am used to, here, I awoke early on this Wednesday.

Leaving home about 8:30 a.m., I took Interstate 80 westbound. Taking CA 113 north, I took the Covell Boulevard exit. To my delight, I found a new construction of fast food and cheap gas upon arriving to Winters, CA. Dining on two orders of low-calorie fries, that would be my breakfast. I also side-ordered a sausage patty, and then bought some cough drops from the mini mart next door. Making sure that I cleared my system using the restroom, I was never to degrade water quality, once again.

Motoring east on CA 128, I set my video to run to record the fall colors there. Coming into the primitive trailhead, I turned off the camera and started readying for my hike. By a Net venue that I had paid for, I had announced this trip, and gave a time of 11 o'clock to meet here. It continues to be zero interest in anything that I schedule, or I don't know if anyone is reading any of it. Not able to get a signal here, I couldn't tell if there had been any sign-ups. There was no one present at this time and meeting place, although some other hikers were about. I just deemed it par for the course, so waited 15 minutes, then took off for my hike.

Taking the Homestead Trail, I signed into the register box at the start of the trail, and noted the new portapotty. I did video of my $2 donation to the iron ranger. Taking lots of pictures, I hiked slowly up the trail. Carrying a heavy pack, I shortly ran into a large group of hikers coming down. To the trail junction by the Homestead in good time, I began the ascent to the ridge. Doing video as I climbed up the steps, I was having a good time. The trail junction came up quickly, and I took a good rest. Some other fellows came on by, and took Annie’s Trail, apparently in search of a workout.

I had to use my pee bottle, but it looked like human scat on the trail. This new trail, to me, started off pretty nice through a low forest. Quickly seeing that the trail work had not been very polished, I slowed down and had to watch my footing. There were stumps and steep dirt sections whereby my boots would slide. Then came some precarious narrow trail that edged along the side of the hill. The trail steeply switchbacks up the dirt, and I really had to be careful. Topping out on a ridge, I soon ran into rocks, and sort of a class 2 knife edge. With my camera dangling about my neck, I had to use my hands at one point.

As I had stopped for a rest and photos, those other hikers were now coming down, and said that the trail just kept going. I had the time, so continued on up. It looked like there could be a peak out of this. Finally, I came to the sign that marks the side trail to “Annie’s Rock.” Success! I did some video as I clambered on up, but then I had to stop it to use my hands. Doffing my pack, I wished that it wasn't so late in the afternoon, so I could enjoy this better. Doing my panoramas, I then started with some self video. Not sure if I'll ever be back, I am in the twilight of my hiking days.

The sun was getting low, and I had to worry about the map information being good. Back to the main trail, I continued on, expecting a loop to circle back. Yes, there was a sign to indicate a trail going downhill. Fearing a rough, tedious trail to have to descend, as the ascent trail, going counterclockwise, I couldn't stop to rest. Gratefully, it shortly intersected a better track on a roadbed heading back to the cars. Relatively then speeding along, I passed a bench and another sign. Not much of a view here due to the high brush, you could see the Central Valley at many points along this trail. Being alone and late in the day, I started to have some fears. Not stopping to rest, I got back to the intersection with the main loop trail rather quickly. Stepping down the stairs, I knew that this part doesn’t take that long.

To the Homestead trail, I now only took photos to mark the time at intersections. I was dragging and tired, but now assured to get back. Some other hikers came on up. I crossed the dry creekbed, and then along the stream, up and over the two sets of steps. Pretty safe, now. Close to the cars, I relaxed a bit, took more photos of the trailhead signs, then crossed CA 128 carefully. Loading my pack into my trunk, I drank water, and then took some time.

Motoring off, my video was out of focus, so my movie of my drive east on CA 128 will not be seen. Not a lot to have missed, anyway. Shortly back to Winters, CA, I went to the old part of town, and parked in a good spot. I shot photos of the sights about the main intersection, and then had a non-alcoholic beer at the saloon. Cleaning up, I decided to have a steak salad. Flies buzzed about, and the staff didn’t do much about it. I failed to finish my meal, so left without a big tip. Walking on the street, I shot photos of what night scenes, reminding myself of the approaching holidays. Towns are now doing a great job of window displays.

Taking Covell Boulevard back to CA 113 to Interstate 80, I was shortly cruising into town. Doing then some 7.5 miles with 1,800 feet of gain, I had driven 81 miles. Capturing 398 images and movie clips, I spent maybe $30. Usually, it takes me some 2 gallons of fuel.

I still need badly to lose weight. I will stop attempting by the Net hiking venue to gain any companions, as it is a complete waste. I feel better from my cold or what, and may spend a day or two back in town, then try to hike some more, and diet. My doctor will have to speak with me, as I may be in some medical change, then losing weight may be harder. Perhaps pills may help. The cultural trend to obesity has affected most all of my former companions. The thought of a long backpack trip did wonders back when I was up to 200 pounds, out of college. But fine dining is so luxurious!