Sunday, March 9, 2014

A warm winter day in the American River Canyon

I went for a hike yesterday. I originally thought I would go to get some exercise after having a much larger breakfast than I usually have. This would mean that I would walk as fast as I could and try to keep my heart rate up like I do when I go out a couple of times per week. It didn't turn out that way though for a couple for reasons; the weather, camera, and terrain.

My planned route would begin in Auburn, drop down to the confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River and then climb out to the south towards the town of Cool on the Training Hill trail. I would then loop back around and drop back into the canyon on the Wendell T. Robie trail to climb back up Stagecoach to Auburn. The elevation and distance is a rough total of about two thousand vertical feet up and down in about eight miles.

I started at the Stagecoach trail-head which my friend Creighton once showed me on a mountain bike trip we took together. I like this trail-head because it's off the beaten path and it isn't as crowded as some of the other trail-heads in the Auburn area.The posted speed limit on the trail is 15 mph. I averaged a little over one tenth that speed.

The day was incredibly warm. After all of the cold days we had this was the first one that was warm enough to wear shorts without feeling like I was going to freeze if I stopped walking. Living in California really distorts your understanding of what cold weather is. Most of the rest of the country in buried in a frozen white blanket of snow with bone chilling wind-chill factors that I can't even imagine. So while they are living through that I am enjoying the balmy weather in the People's Republic of California. With the weather being as nice as it was I felt no urgency to set a new speed record, or even to see how fast I could go eight miles. I did want to get a feel for hiking on trails and experiencing the elevation changes that will be required when I hit the John Muir Trail in July.

A camera on a pole,
What's that you're holding?
I purchased a new camera a couple of months ago, a Sony WX300 Cybershot. I got it because I want to be able to take better quality pictures than I can take using my IPhone. So I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to test it out at the same time. It has a 20X optical zoom so I was excited to see if I could produce pictures that I was a little more excited about then the ones I typically end-up with. I attached my camera to one of my trekking poles to make it more accessible and easier to take quick self portraits, though I had to figure out the right place to hold the pole. The first attempt makes it pretty obvious I didn't know what I was doing.

So between the weather, the steepness of the trail and my camera I spent about three and a half hours thoroughly enjoying myself out in God's great creation.
Winter in the American River Canyon
The confluence below
I found that when you are taking pictures you end up walking a lot slower. Which is a good thing, however, when I hike this summer, I will be averaging about 20 miles per day. At the speed that I walked yesterday, 20 miles will take me about 9 hours. Which may not be all that bad since there will be 16 hours of daylight at that time of year.
The Foresthill bridge

I wasn't a tinker, but I still took the cut-off
Find the trekking pole
Trying to figure out how to use the timer function

Hopefully that's not poison oak I am standing in

The confluence

With a bridge
It's easier to cross on the bridge
Another bridge
A bridge and a trekking pole on Training Hill
The other side is where I started.
My glasses were fogging up, so my hat got to wear them.
This sign is actually about 75 feet away.
Ponderosa pine
Gnarly oak
A monster

Oak oak

Tops of the Pines, with Folsom Lake in the distance
Yes, it's steep uphill too.
A stubborn old snag
Manzanita, again?
A babbling brook
Your's truly and a waterfall
Foresthill bridge and the confluence.
Mini buckeye (poison oak in the background)

Thar's gold in them thar hills

Mini Cooper track

Mini Cooper driver track

Wow, another waterfall.

A.K.A. No-hands bridge.
Who'da thought the 'No-hands' bridge was one hundred years old?
If you want to see the route I followed, check out the Stagecoach and Training Hill.