COLD CANYON LOOP 2X January 18, 2004

Seeming to be a good day, I motored west along the Interstate to Davis, CA. Turning north on CA 113, I exited and took Russell Boulevard west. One must navigate the curves and turns to Winters, CA. A pleasant motor along CA 128, further, brought me to the unsigned dirt parking for the Cold Canyon trailhead by about 11:45 a.m.

The hills were bright grassy green, and the sun began to poke out. I had feared that I might turn right around, if the trail was closed due to mud or other hazard. Other cars were parked, and there was plenty of room. I walked over to the unsigned, upper trail that heads more directly up to the top of Blue Ridge, here.

It took me a bit over an hour to summit the first bump. The usual views of Lake Berryessa were had, and I enjoyed the sunny rest on rocks that formed the local summit. The trail continues southward along Blue Ridge. I ran into some other hikers, them quite perspiring wet in the sun. I was fine with four layers, although I rolled up my sleeves, and wore my light cap instead of an insulated cap. Snapping a few more pictures of the view, I hiked along. More hikers appeared. I asked about the trail further along, and it seemed prudent to proceed. I feared muddy sections where I'd slip and dirty my hands and jeans. No such hazard today.

Coming to the Bump 1,580+', I snapped a photo to record the time, and headed downward to hit the Homestead Trail below. I came upon beautiful clusters of mushrooms, and snapped many a flash photo, in the shadow of the mountains. They seemed too bright and gaudy, nature's warning about eating them. The bright color alerts animals that to digest them may mean a horrible death.

Down to the main trail, things looked the same. They had been putting up more large wooden beams to form more stairs, with iron bars to hold them solidly in the dirt. The lower trail crosses the stream, and families were exploring. The muddy spots I remembered from last year were non-existent. While I had seen skid marks with someone's boots down some steep parts of the trail, the recent, continuous, dry days had made the footing even sticky in the damp parts. I had sidestepped down on the sections that I wasn't too sure, sometimes with a tree to hold onto to counter a slip.

I came upon more families, then to the main highway and my car by 2:50 p.m.

The full loop is given as 4 miles, with 1,500' gain.

With some daylight left, I thought of an ambitious day with another hike to do. But, glad that I suffered no slip or other hazard, I headed home to enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend. The gas station by I-505 sold me on a large, Mucho Mango drink for 99 cents. A great deal for a thirsty hiker!