Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lake Clementine Hike

The Forresthill Bridge

Our plan today was to head up to Donner Summit and do the Castle Peak hike but another unseasonable storm front swooped into Northern California and stymied a high Sierra trek. The back-up plan at lower elevation was a nifty little hike from Auburn to Lake Clementine via the North Fork of the American River.

This hike was a moderate 8 mile RT out and back jaunt down Stage Coach Trail from Auburn to the confluence of the north and middle forks of the American River. We crossed the river and followed the Lake Clementine Trail to the dam and reservior where we had lunch before returning to Auburn.

This was another outstanding outing of the Sac County Hikers led by Rich Blackmarr.

Click on pic twice for enlarged view

The view from the trail of Auburn Canyon and the Hwy 49 bridge

The Stage Coach Trail drops about a 1,000' into the Auburn Canyon where the North and Middle Forks of the American River meet

Part of the hiking group - Frank F., Frank G., Rich, and Linda

Rich and Frank heading down the canyon

The Forresthill Bridge sits 730' above the river and is the tallest bridge in CA

The bridge is also the 4th tallest in the US

Two views of "No Hands" Bridge, a historic rail bridge crossing the American River (above and below) is an exclusive ped bridge

Stage Coach Trail and the big bridge

Lake Clementine Trail below the bridge abutment

You can get an appreciation of the massive size of the concrete abutment from up close

A little bit of bridge history - My oldest brother Ken was the chief engineer of the bridge during its construction from 1971-'73

The trail is also a popular mountain bike facility

Frank F. at the confluence

The hiking group heading up river on the Lake Clementine Trail

A gold panner working the river

I traveled across the bridge a hundred times, mostly by bike, but this is the first time I walked under the bridge and saw the underside - very impressive!

The group taking five before moving up river

Clark's swimming hole - very popular spot during the heat of summer . . . but not today

Looking upstream from Clark's Hole

Two views of the Lake Clementine Waterfall (above and below)

The marina at Lake Clementine

Man vs. Food

Lunch time on the lake

End of Blog - Another great hike!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wrights Lake Getaway

Wrights Lake at sunset

Wrights Lake is tucked away near the western edge of Desolation Wilderness. The Cykowski Family owns a rustic little cabin on the lake. I joined the Fraschettis and their daughter Brooke who was visiting from Atlanta for a great 3 day outing at the cabin.

Click on pic twice for expanded view

At the Cabin

Front - Me, Brooke, Jill
Back - Dick, Jan, Bob

Bob and Brooke getting warm around ye' ol' campfire

Dad and daughter

An old fashion BBQ. Great eats at the Cykowski cabin.

Oars and Outhouse

Beautiful Wrights Lake at sunset

Kayaking Wrights Lake

Brooke, Dick and me

A perfect day for crusing on the lake - calm waters, great weather and spectacular views

Lofty Sierras overlooks Wrights Lake


Jill and Brooke

A small channel feeds into Wrights Lake is great for exploring

Merganser mom and ducklings

Hike to Twin Lakes and Island Lake

Brooke in a field of corn lillies

Bob led Brooke and I on a beautiful 8 mile RT hike from Wrights Lake to Twin and Island Lakes tucked against the Sierras in the Desolation Wilderness

A steady climb of 4+ miles - 2,000' - over slabs of granite

At a rest stop with dramatic views

We followed cascading Silver Creek to the lakes

A neat meadow about half way up

Arriving at Twin Lakes

Massive granite ridge overlooks an arm of Twin Lakes

Annie, a big bear like dog, was friendlier than she looks

Brooke at an unnamed small lake between Twin and Island Lakes

Beautiful fields of wildflowers at around 8,000' elevation (above and below)

Bob pointing out some significant landmarks

Heading back down. Bob takes us off trail and we bushwhack our way down to Wrights Lake

Looking down at Wrights Lake where we started

It was fun and easy taking the granite super highway back to the lake

The neatest part of the hike was following cascading Silver Creek to the trailhead

Creek shoots down a V-notch

Stream spreads out over granite slabs (above and below)

Brooke over one of several enchanted pools - super swimming holes