After a day of work comes a day of ... Thursday, 10/3/13
... PLAY, especially if you're retired. So, on a gorgeous Thursday morning, after discussing where/how we should play, we decided to take a lunch and go hiking. Although it's near Nevada City and we've driven by the trailhead, we'd never hiked the Independence Trail East in South Yuba River State Park. This four-and-a-half mile R/T trail follows the gentle gradient of the old Excelsior Ditch, built around 1859 to carry water for hydraulic mining. Jimmy could tell right away that we were in an old flume of sorts. This ditch tapped the South Yuba River more than two miles upstream and it ran all the way to what is now the dam at Lake Wildwood. Cannot imagine how much manpower/work it took to create.
And here's a pretty neat fact: the Independence Trail was the first identified wheelchair accessible wilderness trail in the country. Much of this trail consists of two parallel paths, one in the ditch bottom, the other on top of the ditch bank. We alternated between the narrow top path and the wider bottom trail.
Though out of sight, part of the time we could hear the tumbling river far below.
The trail crosses several seasonal streams and bogs on good bridges, converted from old flumes and recently rebuilt by the California Conservation Corps. We saw lots o' ferns, thriving in the dappled light. No wildflowers -- they were through for the season.
Wow! Look at the size of this boulder arch that Jimmy just walked under!!
You can see the two parallel paths. We had a good breeze today, and leaves were falling (even in my hat)!
Dunno if you can see the water cascading down the rocks. Peaceful sound.
When we reached the "End of Trail" sign, we veered left to the Hoyt's Crossing sign. And, from here, through the trees, we got glimpses of the river below. We looked at each other, shrugged, and said, "what the hay, why not?" Downhill we went on a steep rutted zigzag dirt path to the South Yuba River. At the bottom, we clambered over the rocky, driftwood-strewn flats... and this was our reward. Isn't this beautiful? Jimmy is sitting on a polished granite boulder, looking upstream.
Boulders the size of boxcars and smooth dinner-plate sized rocks. Love it!
Such clear pretty water. Nice swimming hole (not for us, not today!). Jimmy is barely visible far left walking behind a boulder.
One of the old flume bridges overlooking a deep canyon - this is a very scenic trail.
Discovered this grapevine along the way, and wouldn't you know it was draped over a tree leaning into the canyon and inaccessible. Phooey. Oh well. So glad we picked a fine autumn day to visit. This trail deserves a double thumbs up!