Friday, April 23, 2010

Cow shit and clay but flowers. Lots of flowers!

My Spring Break Hike in the Cache Creek/Bear Creek drainage area was excellent except for the cow shit!   BLM, Bureau of Land Management, "manages" this area with what they call "Intensive Grazing" to keep invasive weeds under control.  These hills are mostly clay.  The cows like to follow trails and what with this wet spring...., some of the trails were a real challenge.

You!!  Yes, you!!

But the areas where the cows were fenced out were a real pleasure.

Of course all the ponds and streams had "cow influence" but it didn't seem to bother the frogs and once I filtered the water through my Katadyn water filter, it didn't bother me either.

Birds of a feather!

In the course of seven days I saw:

(click to inbiggen)

And, of course, the 30% rain showed up Monday but only during the night and just a light drizzle the next day.

Indian Paintbrush seem to be the first flowers to return to burned areas.

Lupine and California Poppies were very happy.  In fact in a lot of areas I couldn't take a step without stepping on flowers.  I will show them all in the slide-show I am putting together.

End of the hike waiting to be picked up.  My experiment with transportation was a success.  It cost me $2.35 to ride the Mendocino Coast Transit bus from Fort Bragg to Ukiah and I caught a ride with my friend Doug who commutes to Sacramento twice a week from Ukiah.  Doug dropped me off at the trailhead April 15th at 9:00 AM and picked me up, as promised, at 3:00 PM April 22nd.  Perfect!

According to my GPS my total walking distance, during the seven days, was 46.3 miles and my total "accent" was 10,103 feet.  The silicon/mineral spirit treatment I did to the silnylon floor of my tent was a success and I no longer had to be so careful about setting up the tent on perfectly flat areas.  My Ray-Way Quilt kept me comfortable and it is a lot easier to get up and out when time for the middle of the night wee is necessary.  Using the wood stove was a mistake.  The smoke really turned the bottom of my cooking containers into a tar covered mess.  I ended up using the alcohol stove and like it a lot more than using wood.  I had two one liter water bottles and a two and a half liter Platapus bag and ended up needing all of that capacity while hiking some of the ridges between water sources.  During the summer and late fall I doubt there would be any catchment ponds or streams at all.  It would be too hot anyway.

The highest elevation during my hike was 2,250 and the lowest, at the Cache Creek/Bear Creek Confluence near Rumsy canyon was, surprisingly, 640 feet.  I took 543 photos so the slide show will show a lot more detail, when I get it done.

Thanks to for the .gpx file downloads of the trails in this area.  They worked great!


  1. Love the photo of the cloudy sky. Can't wait to see more.

    Glad you're alive and the things that go bump in the night didn't get you. ;-)

  2. PS ... those cows should NOT have been in those creeks!

  3. Thanks for the vignette, I've been meaning to go backpacking in Cache Creek for years, now I know I have to go!

  4. What a great trip this looks like, Ron! I'm looking forward to the slides.

  5. Can't wait to see the rest of the pics. I love the one with the Indian Paintbrush. Isn't Spring wonderful?!