Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sporty Sunday: Hiking Cache Creek Ridge (Part One)

Every Sunday, Jasper and I take a hike. I prefer to head into the Sierra Nevada, but the high country is inaccessible until May, at the earliest. In the winter, we stick to the lowlands and I’m always prepared to be disappointed. After all, what could compare to my beloved craggy junipers, austere granite, and gem-like lakes?

We’ve driven by the Judge Davis Trailhead (near the intersection of Hwy 16 and Hwy 20) a few times and have even walked the first quarter mile on a potty break. That first section left me with an impression of a dull, wide dirt road, studded with horse turds. But I gave it another chance - also hoping that the trail would be less dusty (and maybe less poopy) in late January. I’m glad we gave it a go.

Once past that first mile, the views open up and this is a classic Coast Range hike. I never seem to tire of the golden, oak studded meadows of Northern California. (And Jasper never tires of romping through the grass - picking up ticks.) Here, the meadows are interspersed with stretches of chamise that make a lovely contrast to the red dirt of the trail. Views of the nearby mountains and ridges are breathtaking (even if it is no Sierra Nevada).

As a lover of all things abandoned, the highlight of the trail was the decrepit bulldozer at mile 5.78. It’s probably an environmental hazard, but I loved the contrast of the rusty machinery and the unspoiled landscape. I forced Jasper to pose for multiple pictures on the thing. (Look for them on his instagram: jasper_the_bordercollie.)

The only drawback of this hike was the lack of shade and water. Even in January, I was concerned about dehydration. I brought 64 ounces of water in my daypack, but with no ponds to cool my pup, we consumed three-quarters of the water by the time we reached Bulldozer Junction. I had originally considered hiking the full 9.9 miles and back, but turned around at the bulldozer due to water shortage.

We plan to hike the other end of the trail next weekend, so I’ll get another bulldozer fix and Jasper will get to splash in the creeks that intersect the other trailhead.

Source: Evans, Stephen L. "Cache Creek Ridge Trail." Top Trails Sacramento. 4th ed. Birmingham: Wilderness, 2012. Print.

Length: 11.56 miles (Judge Davis Trailhead to Bulldozer Trail junction and back)

Water: None available. Seasonal ponds were dry.

Use: We were the only ones on the trail!

Differences from published description: Many more trail intersections. (Advise following the signs and the widest track, instead of trying to decipher the book’s directions.) No electric fence intersections. All ponds were dry in January.

Jasper’s rating: 3.5 paws out of 5.

Sporty Sunday is a recurring feature in which I share my fitness routine and offer and solicit advice. While this content might seem a little out of place in an outfit diary, a healthy, strong body is the foundation of my wardrobe. I hope to inspire my readers to be fit as well as stylish!


Anonymous said...

Love this feature! I'm from the bay but live in NYC so I love your doses of NorCal!!

Lola said...

Possible wildlife?? Awesome pics and a satisfying review!

Kasmira said...

We saw a rabbit and a scrub jay. No cows. I'm not sure what else lives out there, besides cows!

Simone said...

Coming out of years of lurkerdom to say - It's worth the drive to go to Livermore and Morgan Territory. It's this piece of magic in the middle of nowhere.