In need of more conditioning, as I seek to climb a desert peak soon, I left home to head for Davis, CA. Turning north on CA 113, I exited on Russell Boulevard to head west for the small town of Winters, CA. I had a rest break and drink at a gas station mini-mart along Interstate 505, and happily motored east on CA 128.

Less than ten cars were parked at the primitive trailhead, at about 300' elevation, for the Cold Canyon UCD Preserve. I got a spot, and started my three bump bag climb at 11:33 a.m. I wouldn't count any of these bumps as peak ascents, with my usual standards requiring the peak have a name and/or be a prominent mountain.

Headed slightly uphill from the signed, regular trailhead, I went along the highway, a hundred feet or so, to the unsigned, upper trail to bag the first couple bumps more quickly. Passing another three hikers, I took the steep trail with gusto. I had about 20 pounds in my day pack. Topping the first bump, 1,475', after 50 minutes, I stopped for photos of Lake Berryessa and another peak to the north. I sought to shoot a panorama sequence to show the expansive views, but some of my hand-held frames did not match up well.

Other hikers, warmed up from the short climb, sat about the ridge. I headed westward, and drank some of my two liters of water. With sun and the steep climb, you can sure perspire heavily!

Topping Bump 1,580+' by about 1 p.m., I enjoyed the views, however hazy. I was looking forward to doing some bigger gain today. The trail descends to the lower canyon, and I hopped down the wooden stairs. This makes the climbing easier, from the lower end of the loop. Fall colors in the form of wild grape, oaks, and big leaf maples, with plenty of toyon with red berries, graced this canyon and hillside.

To the homestead site by 1:35 p.m., I sauntered down the trail, built better here for more casual hikers. The main creek through the preserve is bone dry. Coming to the trail's start near the highway, I started up the steep Pleasants Ridge trail by 2:02 p.m.

This trail is unmerciful, headed straight up with lots of erosion. Small rocks in the soil make for tiny steps, and this does develop my climbing muscles better for a regular peak climb. I gained elevation fast, and then came to a leveler area where two other hikers were enjoying red wine in glasses. I stopped to drink in the views and more water. Only more adventurous hikers would choose to do this trail!

Continuing on, I knew the trail goes up to another, higher hill. There well before my turn-around time, I found a use trail of trampled grass went on along this ridge. Game to check it out, I hiked further on. It goes then down a bit to a rocky ridge. What views! The Monticello Dam was seen to the north, and on a clearer day, one would see more of the Central Valley.

Rock slabs nice for rock hopping facilitated the way. I sought to do an obvious bump, and the use trail wound past the rocks and brush. It is overgrown in spots, and I suffered a scratch, with blood. Topping out on the high bump 1,656', I saw I was almost as high as two further bumps (lower photo). It was 3:22 p.m., too late to try these other bumps. I looked for registers, but found nothing. I'll have to check this ridge out later.

My descent was quick. Happy I had done some good gain, I hopped on down the trail, passing a couple still headed up. I told them that it took at least a half hour up, from there, to the trail's end, despite the sunset coming in about an hour. I passed the other wine-sipping hikers making their way down slowly, then was back to my car at 4:14 p.m.

I motored off quickly, intent on a good thirst-quenching drink at the mini-mart. I cleaned up my scratches and washed my face with the restroom faucet, then got some drink. I motored to Davis, then to I-80 and home.

I'd guess I had done some 5 miles with about 2,700' gain, total. My total round trip time was about four and three quarter hours. I shot about 95 images with my 2 MP camera. It's nice to know there is some good gain nearby for winter, not much more than 75 miles from home, round trip.

Starting with three layers, I had overheated fast. I soon had stripped down to my polyester T. I wore LW bottoms under my jeans. I ate nothing, and felt well after this little conditioner. No ticks, but plenty of gnats.