STEVENS TRAIL 13X April 15, 2001

Choosing to do this long-time, stand-by hike, I wished to test my car before taking a longer trip. I came in the late morning to the gravel trailhead parking on taking the Colfax Exit along Interstate 80. This BLM development is at the end of the frontage road headed east on the south side of the freeway.

Ready to go, I began hiking at 10:53 a.m. The trail through the red dirt had been patched and repaired since the last time I remembered. Several small streams had to be hopped over, though. The hazy light came through the oaks and dense shrubbery.

Several hikers were already headed out and back, as I encountered at this later hour. I knew that this hike doesn't take me long, and this afternoon would be cool enough for the hike back up. Descending on the trail, there was a new, unsigned fork, where either way, apparently, will take you there. I took the lower fork, which seems better and gentler. Two mountain bikers rode past. On their downhill they go fast, and I heard them soon enough to step out of the way.

Passing the old mine, I gained the canyon views of the North Fork of the American River below. The Pioneer Bridge, seen downstream, now has paved road to it.

It was good green grasses and leaves highlighted by bright sun. Millions of flowers bloomed right along the trail. Miniature poppies, lupine, baby blue eyes, red maids, brodiaea, monkeyflowers, redbud, lanterns, paintbrush, Indian pink, tiny white and yellow flowers, canyon dudleya, and purple delphinium made some of the species here, seen this day. Poison oak grows profusely, as well. If you didn't know what it was, you might easily brush some of it.

The lower part of the trail contours along the side of the canyon. I kept notes on my little $20 recorder I picked up at a clearance sale. After a total of 4.5 miles one way, it comes to its end after crossing another side creek. Just before this, though, is a steep side trail leading down shortly to a nice set of rocks and slabs above a deep blue pool. I rested here, and took a few more photos. When the river gets low, this might make some good diving and swimming.

Once, trips ran with this in mind. We waterproofed our gear, and swam down along the river. These trips were called, "gorge scrambles."

I took some 1.6 hours to get down here. It was to take me two hours today to hike back up and out. I saw plenty of dogs (with people), and a trail runner. It was a nice day. A cool breeze helped on the climb out.

Back to my car by 3:40 p.m., I thought maybe to do another hike nearby. But, after my 24 mile walk along the Parkway yesterday, I simply drove home, relieved that my car did not act up.

I did some 9 miles with 1,000' gain, wearing mostly just a cap, T shirt, with long pants, and heavy boots. I used 1.5 liters of water. I shot 13 frames of film.