Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sporty Sunday: Hiking Lake Clementine Trail

I gave the Auburn State Recreation Area another try, but was disappointed, again. We did not get lost or run afoul of horses (like last time). Instead, I was unhappy with the heavy use, restrictions on canines, and dull trail.

The morning started auspiciously enough. We were the first to park in the lot at the Lake Clementine trail head. The beginning of the walk took us under the impressive Foresthill Bridge, made even more impressive by low-hanging clouds. The hillsides along the first mile are covered in poppy and lupine. Clark’s Pool, a swimming spot created by an underwater mining dam, is inviting and also reached within the first mile. After that, though, it’s all downhill (or rather, uphill).

Other than the moderate grade to keep things interesting, the rest of the hike is pretty boring along the wide track. The river is far below. The scenery is uninspiring. Peeks of the Lake Clementine dam excited me, but the trail’s end is 0.4 miles before the dam (and the structure is not visible from that point). From the end, one must walk along a paved road to visit the overlook. Dogs, unfortunately, are not allowed along the road. We turned around and headed back to dally at Clark’s Pool. I wish we hadn’t gone beyond the pool in the first place. (All the pictures are from that first mile.)

From the number of cyclists we saw on the way back, I surmised that this trail is popular with moutain bikers. Jasper is inclined to chase and bark at bicycles, so the encounters were a bit unpleasant. (I take full responsibility for his bicycle issues. We need to do some training.)

I might do this trail again with a novice hiker. It’s easy and easily reached. For wilderness wanderers, though, it’s a let-down.

Source: Salcedo-Chourre, Tracy. "Lake Clementine Trail." Best Hikes Near Sacramento. Morris Book Publishing, 2012. Print.

Length: 4.6 miles if hiked as described in the book. We hiked 3.6 miles due to the dog restrictions.

Water: The American River was flowing well, as were seasonal creeks that cross (under) the trail.

Use: Moderate to heavy. We were off the trail by 9:30 a.m. and it was already experiencing moderate traffic. I imagine use is heavy by noon.

Differences from published description: None.

Jasper’s rating: 2 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!

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