Calm before the Storm -- Friday, 12/18/15
Late this afternoon or early evening, the sky will darken with rain clouds as our next storm wave rolls in. It's to be a fairly quick storm, but residual moisture will linger, and linger, till another storm washes ashore on Sunday. Repeat this pattern all week. So, Jimmy and I thought we'd get a nice walk in beforehand. Same old trails? Nope, we decided to give a new one a try -- Hirschman Trail off Hwy 49 in Nevada City. For some reason, we've lived in this town three-and-a-half years without stepping foot on this gem.
The trail is located off Cement Hill Road and we've always wondered about the origin of the name. A smooth boulder the size of a two-bedroom house (that sort of looks like it may be cement) sits near the entrance to the road and we figured that was it. As soon as we got on the path, we spied monstrous boulders right and left. Like the entry boulder, they looked out of place with the rest of the city.
Hirschman Pond was a pleasant surprise. The only "wildlife" we saw was a trio of coots!
Look across the pond at yonder cliff.
And this information was the best surprise of the trail. I don't know why we should have been surprised, since most of NorCal is riddled with mines and "diggins" of one sort or another. We just didn't know about this one. If you noticed the cliff in the two pond photos, then you can see the same cliff on the right in the drawing above. Isn't it unbelievable what mankind can do to the natural landscape, especially if gold is involved! If you enlarge the picture, you should be able to read the text. Otherwise, it says, in part: This is one of the earliest hydraulic mine operations (1860's). "The Hirschman brothers followed only productive mineral deposits, washing away entire hillsides and leaving other areas untouched. The aftermath was a surreal hummocky landscape framed by sheer cliffs and speckled with bedrock boulders." Now we know.
A close-up of the upper-left box in the large picture.
A typical hydraulic monitor that scoured the hillsides.
The temp never reached 50F, but we got warm enough to shed our jackets.
Lots of curves and ravines. (See Jimmy?)
At our turn-around point. Back to Cement Hill.
A smiling boulder with eyes and antlers?
Returning to the car. We put about five miles on the fitbits, using a fairly fast pace going and a slower pace on our return, talking and walking and gawking. We'll come back to this trail, and as we head toward home in Smartie, we'll see if we can find Deer Creek Tribute Trail and give that one a whirl ... but not today!