AUBURN STATE RECREATION AREA TRAILS December 27, 2003
After so many "iffy" or rainy days, the bright sun dawned clear and beautifully on this fine Saturday. I headed out for the foothills, to do another dirt trail hike somewhere. The Interstate traffic was at a crawl, but I persevered, and made it to the roadside parking about the confluence of the North Fork and the Middle Fork of the American River.
I spotted a signed trail going upstream along the Middle Fork, so I chose it to start at 12:20 p.m. It was a bit muddy, with shallow pools sitting right on the trail. I was to find this is now a popular mountain biker route. I recalled there is a "Ruck-a-Chucky" rapids which might provide some interest, but the trail soon climbs up the canyon slopes. Many riders were having their fun, with a downhill ride. Motorized transportation seems to be needed for these, as I doubt that many would bike uphill. The trails here are pretty steep, but I did see a few grinding upward in low gear, on lesser slopes.
The Confluence Trail comes to a paved side road, which then intersects the old Foresthill Road. This winding road still remains after the high bridge was built. I walked up on pavement, then back to dirt. Another trail, the Culvert Trail, leads ever on. Going up, I saw fit to check out these trails. There is a 14 foot high tunnel, the "culvert," I imagine, that passes under the regular Foresthill Highway. It was a bit muddy and dark inside. I had to be cautious walking on the muddy sections, as I regard slipping on trail mud as avoidable and careless.
Some dozen or so bikers had sped by. I was treated to the sight of a 12 foot leap as one experienced biker took some air going over a log ramp. Wish I had my camera ready in movie mode!
The trail comes to a junction atop the ridge. I went right, from my memory of the terrain. That climbed a bit, passing through more oak woodlands and grassy green slopes, with plenty of brush. It then comes to the paved Lake Clementine Road, which I knew. Going left and downhill, I was to come to the Lake Clementine Trail.
It is not a long distance back to the cars, so I slowed to take it in. I shot photos of whatever I could. Hikers were enjoying this fairly level section along the North Fork. There was some frost on the rocks and plants, and I donned all my layers to be comfortable. Much of this part traverses in shadow. The climb up the other side was all in sun.
Back to the end of this trail by 3:05 p.m., I had hiked some 6 miles with maybe over 1,000' gain. Motoring back up Highway 49, I walked city streets in the town of Auburn, CA. I shot more photos in the bright sun, with deep blue sky. The historic section offers some civilized fare, with shops and food.
With some 93 digital images and movie clips, of the rapids, captured, I count this little jaunt as a success! The Interstate traffic was still at a crawl, in parts. It is bound to get worse, as enviro solutions fail, and so many people would never give up the pleasure of a motor up into the woods (or back to some massive tracts of homes!).
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