COLD CANYON LOOP 24X November 16, 2008

With a big lapse in my out-of-town hiking, I had saved some cash to do a short drive to see how my car did after a costly maintenance. Gas was down to 2.119 locally, a huge boon to my traveling.

A disappointing attempt to secure a partner for today had me hiking solo as usual, but then without necessity of my sometimes expensive generosity, of which many take heavy advantage. I motored through Winters, CA, and shortly started my standard loop hike at the UCD Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve by about 11:20 a.m.

Having two new stainless steel water bottles which I wished to test, I was concerned about harmful chemicals in plastic bottles. I had switched over to hopefully cleaner containers. I also had a new memory card which seemed to be doing fine. On my many photo walks about town, another card had failed, but it was under warranty, and the manufacturer was nice enough to retrieve the data and mail a DVD with the recovered photos.

Meeting by chance an old hiking companion, we chatted for a short while. Then, it was up the hill and to my first bump where I rested, and enjoyed a hazy view. I had taken the short side trip to the dam overlook, and noted many rocks with even more white substance coating them, presumably formed by some natural process.

Plenty of hikers passed by, and many perspired considerably. It was a warm day, and I had stripped down to a single, light layer. Many hikers wore shorts. I noted dogs running loose, with one putting its dirty paws on my shirt. The owner apologized, but then I was left with the dirt on what would normally be expensive fabric. There was other evidence of irresponsible people.

I uneventfully rounded the loop, with so many other hikers today. The vista of Lake Berryessa was fine. The main creek through the reserve was bone dry. Declining Pleasants Ridge, even though I had time, I came back to my car at 2:08 p.m.

The fall colors were disappointing, and I found the cloudless skies bad for my photography. I had some concern that my car wasn't getting as good fuel efficiency due to some maybe faulty repair, but it did O.K. on my drive home.

I did, then, the 4.75 miles with 1,500' gain, round trip. Shooting about 100 photos, I spent only for a soda to be able to use a facility. No big pollution from me, this day!

With the fine fall weather, I may seek to do a short road trip over the holidays. It looks great for the desert and even Southern Utah. The economy is said to be hurting, and although I am too, financially, no one seeks to share expenses by any kind of carpool. My plans for some Internet access, while on the road, have seemed to fall through, with more important things needing attention. Optimistically, I will save my cash and be able to travel and climb a bit, since my investment into my vehicle is lost when I don't make use of it.