A hike for all seasons...the American Canyon Trail is nicely shaded to beat the heat in summer. It’s where mushrooms grow in thick moss carpets along the creek in winter. The variety of butterflies and wildflowers are worth the four-mile hike in spring. The color display in fall makes a return trip a must.
The trail leads to a jungle-like setting at the bottom with a flowing creek, boulders and hanging vines. Wide enough for two to walk side by side, the trail is lush with ferns in winter and wild grapevines in summer. A thick area of mint, in its season, begs you to pick a leaf or two. Be aware that poison oak and blackberry vines crowd the trail in many areas. Snails and lizards also call this area home so make sure you look beneath your feet and up to the canopy of trees to get the full effect of this trail.
At the bottom of the 1.7-mile trail, you find Hobokin Creek. Water cascades over boulders and fallen trees. The trail continues across the creek, so depending on your schedule, you can continue your trek to Dead Truck, Ruck-A-Chucky, Dru Barner and Western States Trails, among other destinations.
The two-mile hike to Dead Truck from the trail head is a gentle downhill stroll on a well-maintained trail. As you walk deeper in, the trees seem taller and vines hang more densely.
In winter, the ferns grow all along the canyon wall. The moss on the trees is heavy with rainwater. You can hear the rush of the creek below. At the first switchback, you find a sign reading several trail options. Turn away from the sign and continue down the switchback. After a couple of short switchbacks, you will come to a similar sign. Instead of turning on the switchback, look at the sign straight ahead of you on the trail. This sign will show Dead Truck 1-mile. Your journey will continue deeper into the woods with the sound of Canyon Creek keeping you company along the way. Soon, you come to Canyon Creek with Hobokin Creek right behind it. I can in no way encourage you to cross these creeks if you do not feel confident doing so. This is a lovely spot to pull up a rock and listen to the gentle babbling of the creek over stones as it continues downstream.
In the warmer months, the creek is lower and river rocks, exposed and dry, make for a much safer crossing. If you choose to cross the two creeks, the trail will continue up the bank and to the left. The trail narrows in places. Downed trees and hanging branches may be hurdles. Wet leaves and slick mud are also common hazards.
At 1.9 miles, you reach another sign, showing you at the foot of Dead Truck Trail marked STEEP. Facing the sign, turn 180 degrees and you will see a footpath over to the creek and a cliff face blanketed in green in the wet season. Take the path and you can hear the falls get louder the closer you get. Shuffle down to the pool below. Again, I cannot suggest you cross the creek this last time, but the view of the falls is from the other side. When the water is low, there are exposed rocks, but with heavier flows, a crossing can be treacherous. If you choose to cross, you earn the prize of a view of the waterfall. Once you have enjoyed the falls, the pool and the peace and quiet of this trail, prepare for your return.
The two-mile hike out is moderate due to the uphill climb back to gate 3. Take your time, drink plenty of water, watch for slugs and newts in the wet season. Take care crossing the creeks and before you know it, you will hear the cars coming into the gate and your adventure will be at its end.
To get to American Canyon Trail, take Interstate 80 to the Elm Street exit in Auburn toward Placerville. Follow Highway 49 into the canyon from Placer County into El Dorado County and out to the town of Cool. At the stop sign in Cool, turn left on Highway 193. Drive five miles to Pilgrim Way. Turn left to gate 3 of Auburn Lake Trails. Just before the gate, you see room for three or four cars on your right. Park and you see the trail sign marking the trail head.
For the complete article and photos by Mary West published in the Auburn Journal, CLICK HERE
Mary West is author of the book series Day Hiker - Gold Country Trail Guides. The books are a collection of the Day Hiker columns where West shares her longtime love of the outdoors and favorite hikes in Northern California’s Gold Country and beyond (available on Amazon). West was the recipient of the 2017 and 2019 CRAFT Award for Best Outdoor Newspaper Column by the Outdoor Writers of California. You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
Triple Crown hiker dies in mt. biking accident, memorial donations requested to Pacific Crest Trail Assn.
Stephen Whisenand, Jr. died unexpectedly April 13 while mountain biking in Utah. He was 58 years old.
After college Steve moved West, where he lived for many years in Hoback. He had a varied and active career working as the teen program coordinator at Teton County Library, guiding fly-fishing trips on the Snake River and serving on avalanche ski patrol in Jackson Hole.
A lifelong outdoor sports enthusiast, Steve actively pursued fly-fishing, skiing, mountain biking and long-distance hiking. In recent years he achieved the hiking Triple Crown completing through-hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail and the Continental Divide Trail, the three most prominent long hikes in the country, requiring hiking nearly 8,000 miles across 22 states.
Contributions in Steve's name can be made to the Pacific Crest Trail Association, 1331 Garden Highway, Sacramento, CA 95833, PCTA.org/donate/#honorary-memorial
Click here to see Stephen's obituary.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, California State Parks officials moved to close paid parking areas March 30. That didn’t stop travelers from visiting the popular American River Confluence and its surrounding waterways and trails.
Cars filled up the free parking along Highway 49 instead — a familiar sight during the warm months for the popular Western Slope destination — prompting officials to close those parking areas as well.
Even during a potentially life-threatening pandemic, officials couldn’t keep hikers and bikers away.
Visitors and residents alike know what a pain parking and traffic in the area can be. Now, efforts may be underway to increase parking capacity near the Confluence in the months and years following the statewide state-at-home order.
District 2 Supervisor Lori Parlin said in a Facebook post last week that the El Dorado County Transportation Commission is expected to look into grants to “investigate issues and opportunities on (Highway) 49 from Cool to the Confluence,” including “parking, truck traffic and pedestrian safety.”
The commission is partnering with El Dorado County, Caltrans, Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, city of Auburn, Placer County and State Parks to find a solution to the parking issues plaguing the area.
To see the original article in the Mountain Democrat, CLICK HERE.
Article posted by the Post Register newspaper in Idaho :
"It’s a tale of two federal agencies and two wheels.
A recent call for public comment on using electric bikes (e-bikes) on federal land may have some trail bikers confused. (Martin Hackworth / Courtesy photo)
Last Fall, the Department of the Interior issued a call to expand the use of e-bikes on public lands. Last week, the Bureau of Land Management announced a 60-day public comment period on the proposed regulations for e-bikes on public land trails that now only allow non-motorized bikes. But National Forests, under the Department of Agriculture, did not adopt Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt’s call to expand access to e-bikes. The Forest Service considers e-bikes motorized and bans them from non-motorized trails.
“We want all Americans to have a chance to create life-long memories exploring and enjoying the great outdoors,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “The BLM is working hard to implement Secretary Bernhardt’s directive wherever it can because our agency believes these public lands are managed in trust for all citizens.”
Shannon Bassista, a recreation planner at the BLM’s state office in Boise, said, if adopted, the new rule allowing e-bikes on BLM trails would only affect about 120 miles of trails in Idaho, “and the bulk of them are in the Owyhee field office” in the southwest corner of the state.
Most biking trails in eastern Idaho are on Forest Service land with hot spots at Kelly Canyon, the Big Hole Mountains and the Snake River Range areas. In these areas, e-bikes are only legally allowed on trails that currently allow motorized traffic.
“I think the Forest Service is closely watching this topic with how the (Department of Interior) is addressing it,” Bassista said.
Local mountain bike enthusiasts are generally in favor of e-bikes and see it as a way of getting more people out enjoying the activity. “I’ve noticed quite a few of them on the trails,” said Danny Kelly, president of the Snake River Mountain Bike Club. “As a matter of fact, I bought my wife one this year. … I think it’s getting more people off the couch and more people riding, for sure.”
Looking through the public comments already received by the BLM on the e-bike proposal shows that most seem to be in favor, with a few logging reservations on the impact of heavier bikes on trails and the possible impact of crowding on a limited number of trails. More than 900 comments had been posted on the BLM’s online site regulations.gov/docket?D=BLM-2020-0001 as of Friday.
Kelly said he went to the site and posted in favor of allowing e-bikes.
“They don’t do anything to the trail than what a regular mountain bike does,” Kelly said. “You can’t burn out the tires and dig up the dirt. All it does is pedal-assist.”
Dan Verbeten, president of Teton Valley Trails and Pathways, likes the idea of e-bikes getting more people active in the outdoors, but also advocates taking a case-by-case approach as to what is appropriate for specific areas and trails.
“We’re in favor of access for people to ride bicycles,” Verbeten said. “There also has to be consideration for each area for which it is appropriate. In this area, some of the BLM land is also critical migration habitat for some animals. That’s just a tough one to navigate.”
He said Teton Valley is blessed with a variety of outdoor activities.
“Honestly, throughout the entire (Big Hole) range the majority of trails would be accessible to e-bikes,” he said. “There’s about six that are non-motorized.”
To comment on the BLM’s e-bike proposal, go to regulations.gov/docket?D=BLM-2020-0001
To see the complete article in the Post Register CLICK HERE.
Exploring Steven’s Point Trail, wildflowers, American River views (due to COVID-19, BLM closed this trail 3-27-220)
Stevens Trail Trailhead Closure Notice: (posted 3-27-2020)
In accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the Governor’s shelter in place order, the BLM will temporarily close this site until further notice to help limit the spread of COVID-19. To see the complete order CLICK HERE.
"Enjoy this trail before it gets too hot. Filled with wildflowers, waterfalls and North Fork American River views, Steven’s Trail in Colfax is a must do trail for day hikers.
Much of this trail is exposed so make sure you take plenty of water and sun protection for the nine-mile in and out hike that ends at the edge of the American River. Many of the trails in our area I would describe as a walk. Steven’s trail is a legitimate hike with significant elevation change, so be prepared.
The beginning of the trail runs parallel to I-80 but the sound of traffic gives way to running water and the cool air of the wooded trail. Along the way pine and manzanita line the path with oak and laurel. After crossing the balance beam across a small creek the trail opens to the sun and a trail sign sends you to the right. Not far along, the trail splits, go left along the canyon wall. Emerald green ferns seem to spring directly from rocks near the waterfalls in the shady inside curves that follow the mountain side.
This crossing is tricky. The rocks are not solid stepping stones. Watch your footing. After the crossing, be on the lookout for a shallow cave to peek into. Once on your way enjoy a breathtaking view of the American River and the Iowa Hill Bridge far below.
The sheer variety of wildflowers in spring, through summer and well into fall draws me back time and time again. The quantity and quality of the varied blossoms and blooms in pale peach, bright orange, blue, red, the brightest white and deepest purple are just a few of the eye catching shades of color to enjoy. The air was strong with Coyote Mint on my last visit. Look for the round blue blooms. The peach Monkey Face flowers grew in profusion this year.
Once at the water’s edge pick a spot for lunch with family and friends and relax. Rest up before the uphill return trip to the parking area.
Poison oak is also a factor along this trail, which narrows in spots. Mountain lions have been known to inhabit the area so taking friends is always a good idea. Pay attention as there are steep drop-offs that may make you think twice if you have a fear of heights.
With the many cautions I have offered, you should know I have been taking my sons on this trail since they were seven and 10 years old. The trail is well marked and well worn.
Get to Steven’s Trail by taking interstate 80 east to Colfax, exit at Canyon Way. Turn left and follow the frontage road to the end. The trail head and paved parking lot with bathroom and signage are located here.
Every trail has its inherent risks, that being said, if you enjoy hiking in our foothills, enjoy Steven’s Trail for the flowers, river, canyon, waterfalls and the adventure."
- Mary West is author of the book series “Day Hiker – Gold Country Trail Guides.” You can follow West on Facebook and Instagram.
CLICK HERE to see the complete article and Mary's photos.
Jim LoBue moved to Auburn 15 years ago, and one of his earliest experiences in town was coming across the book “American River Canyon Hikes: Practical Guides to Trails in the Canyons of the North and Middle Forks American River.”
(Photo: The authors of "American River Canyon Hikes," from left, Sheila Toner, Mike Lynch and Jim Ferris, at the Auburn State Recreation Area.)
Article by Bill Poindexter in Gold Country Media
That was three editions ago. LoBue is promoting the fourth edition, which was released about a month ago, and is every bit as pleased with the final product as co-author Mike Lynch. The two teamed up for an interview with the Auburn Journal on Monday and described the latest edition with a common word: Practical.
“The obvious thing that catches your eye is the (spiral) binding. It makes it much more practical where you can hold it open, even stick it in a backpack or your pocket, open to the page you want it to be on,” said the longtime head of Canyon Keepers, a volunteer group for the Auburn State Recreation Area that does a junior ranger program, monthly hikes, runs information centers at the confluence and clean-ups. “That’s very handy.”
Lynch said he and co-authors Jim Ferris and Sheila Toner “did a major overhaul” for the fourth edition, including six new trails and updating information on other trails.
Lynch is a former park ranger and national editor for an international police association quarterly magazine that was printed at the Auburn Journal. He said “American River Canyon Hikes” has been “the most continuously successful book project I’ve been on.”
“It’s new and improved, as it were,” he said. “You can get this book, pick out what’s right for you. It’s very practical. (People) leaf through, and oh, that’s an easy hike if you want an easy hike, or a wildflower hike.”
The American River Canyon is a mecca of trails, used by people to hike, run and ride horses. There are 33 trails in the fourth edition of “American River Canyon Hikes,” and they include information on how to get to each trail, trail distance, difficulty of the hike, what to look for and where to park. Lynch said the first edition had “probably half that many trails.”
Said LoBue, “This area is a treasure trove of places to go. The book itself, it’s very practical. It gives you useful info so you don’t get lost, so you can make a decision on where you want to go. Are you going up steep hills or on a relatively flat terrain? It has good, clear directions, where you park your car, plus it throws in history, interesting facts.”
And added pictures, according to Lynch.
“We upgraded with pictures we thought were better,” he said. “We’re thinking we have it where we want it now.”
To see the complete article and photos in Gold Country Media, CLICK HERE.
Do you love the Wilderness? Would you like to help preserve its’ breathtaking beauty and natural pristine environment? Do you love spending time outdoors and helping people? Do you have the willingness and dedication to volunteer and help preserve one of our most popular back-country areas overlooking Lake Tahoe and the Crystal Range?
If the answer is yes, then Desolation Wilderness, co-managed by the USDA Forest Service’s Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU), may offer exactly what you’re looking for. Volunteers are needed to support LTBMU wilderness staff for the upcoming season. A wide variety of activities are available for volunteers to choose from including:
Volunteers should have an appropriate level of physical ability and availability to perform the tasks for which they sign-up. These tasks range from light physical duty such as educating and assisting the public at trailheads to moderate duty such as hiking on trails, to more physically demanding tasks such as hiking on steep trails or performing trail maintenance. Volunteers should only sign up for duties which they are physically able to perform.
Volunteers should commit to a minimum of seven days for the summer season plus several days of training and must be age 18 or older. All Volunteers will be required to attend a training workshop on Saturday, May 16, 2020, at the Institute for Forest Genetics in Placerville (Apple Hill area).
If you want to do something meaningful to help protect and preserve this pristine wilderness area and help visitors and recreational users better appreciate its special character, find out how you can become part of our Desolation Wilderness volunteer team by contacting LTBMU Wilderness Program Manager, Don Lane at email@example.com
To see original article in the South Lake Tahoe Now CLICK HERE.
Granite Chief Wilderness settlement over gondola construction calls for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows to provide $450,000 to the Truckee Donner Land Trust
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows announced it has reached an agreement about the construction of the resort’s base-to-base gondola, spanning 2.2 miles. Approximately 20% of the project will be located on national forest lands, requiring approval from not only the county but from Tahoe National Forest. The forest service approved the gondola in January. The project includes two base terminals and two mid-stations and 33 lift towers. The gondola will begin at Squaw Valley, and end at the Alpine Meadows base area. The eight-passenger gondola would be able to transport up to 1,400 people per hour. (Photo credit: Sierra Sun)
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows announced it has reached an agreement with the Granite Chief Wilderness Protection League, which had filed a lawsuit against the construction of the resort’s base-to-base gondola in September.
“What we were trying to do is to make sure that the impact of the gondola will be lessened,” said Patty Schifferle, a member of the Granite Chief WIlderness Protection League Advisory Board.
According to the suit filed, the Protection League believed the gondola would “permanently alter what is now a pristine Sierra Nevada environment” endangering wildlife and destroying the natural habitat. The suit claimed that the project has not undergone adequate environmental review or mitigation in the Environmental Impact Report certified by the county.
The resort agreed to various protection measures for the Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog habitat and the Granite Chief Wilderness Area in exchange for the dismissal of the lawsuit that was filed against Placer County’s approval of the project.
“I think this gives us an opportunity to protect the fabric of our community.”Patty Schifferlem, Granite Chief WIlderness Protection League
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will conserve approximately 27 acres of the resort’s private property that may serve as a habitat for the Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog, which has since neared extinction in the state due to habitat loss, fish introduction, climate change and disease, according to the Protection League. The resort will also and contribute $50,000 towards the preservation and reintroduction of the species.
The settlement calls for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows to provide $450,000 to the Truckee Donner Land Trust over the next 10 years to purchase land within and adjacent to the Granite Chief Wilderness Area, according to Liesl Hepburn.
“I think this gives us an opportunity to protect the fabric of our community. We’re pretty lucky to have a place like Granite Chief Wilderness,” said Schifferle. “We think these measures go a long way in mitigating the gondola impacts.”
Other terms of the agreement limits the Alpine Meadows mid-station to maintenance and safety personnel use and calls for signage and strict enforcement of the ski area boundary at the KT-22 mid-station. The gondola will operate during the winter season only, when both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows are in operation and must stop operations by April 30. The agreement prohibits the resort from constructing roads within the Granite Chief Wilderness area.
“We are very happy to have worked collaboratively with the League to address their concerns so that resources could be directed to environmentally beneficial purposes, rather than funding an extended lawsuit,” said Ron Cohen, president and chief operating officer of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, in a press release. “We are eager to get going on this game-changing transportation project.
The project was approved by Placer County in July 2019 in which the alternative that was shown to have the least impact on the environment was selected. This alternative occupies the least amount of land, spanning 2.2 miles, and is farthest away from the Granite Chief Wilderness.
The project includes two base terminals and two mid-stations and 33 lift towers. The gondola will begin at Squaw Valley, traverse over privately owned property and end at the Alpine Meadows base area. The eight-passenger gondola would be able to transport up to 1,400 people per hour.
Approximately 20% of the project will be located on national forest lands, requiring approval from not only the county but from Tahoe National Forest. The forest service approved the gondola in January. There is currently no estimate regarding the start of construction.
CLICK HERE to see original article and photos in the Sierra Sun newspaper.
Regular exercise can also help not only lessen the discomfort of pregnancy but also ease some of the challenges of childbirth.
“Exercise is important during pregnancy,” Dr. Jensen explains. “It can help with weight gain and improve muscle tone, which helps with labor and delivery.”
Dr. Jensen does caution her patients against physical sports like skiing, basketball or soccer.
“Basically, anything where you can fall or get hit is not a good idea,” she says. “Mountain biking is dangerous, given the fall risk.
"Better options are yoga, stretching, and walking. Swimming is also a great exercise while you’re pregnant.”
While it is a time full of excitement and anticipation, pregnancy can also bring with it worry and anxiety. One of the top concerns for pregnant women? How to stay healthy, for their sake and that of their unborn baby.
To read the complete article in The Union newspaper, CLICK HERE.
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