Monday, December 27, 2010

So. Fork American River Hike

Thanks to the American River Conservancy, the region has added a fantastic new multi-use trail to the growing list of hiking options in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The latest is the South Fork of the American River Trail, an 8-mile long path connecting Salmon Falls Road to the Cronan Ranch Open Space on Hwy 49.

The new trail follows the north side of the South Fork from Folsom Lake to Hwy 49 near Coloma. From the Salmon Falls Bridge, the trail ascends steeply - about 400 vertical feet - to the top of a ridge which offers commanding views of the surrounding hills and valleys. The trail continues easterly over several hills with short steep climbs and descents into and across side canyons.

For the first 4+/- miles, the trail stays high above the river following the canyon's northern ridge before dropping down to the river's edge at about the 5 mile point.

The primary habitat is manzanita chaparral, gray pine and oak woodland.

Today, Herb and I took advantage of break in the weather and hiked 5 miles (10 miles RT) of the new 8 mile trail. With above normal rainfall this winter, the hills have already turned green.

With clear blue skies, it was a beautiful day for a hike exploring another new region of the foothills.

Next time, we plan to do a through hike.

Click on pic once/twice for enlarged view

A new ped bridge crossing Acorn Creek

Southwesterly view of Salmon Falls Bridge and So. Fork entering Folsom Lake. We parked next to the bridge and hiked 5 miles of the new trail.

New trail climbing to ridge line through chaparral and gray pine habitat

View from ridge top at new McMansions on hilltops (above and below)

View north toward ranchettes and new homes (above and below)

New trail well marked . . . keeps you from getting lost

About a mile into the hike, we leave signs of civilization and enter serene oak woodland habitat

View of river canyon

Nice series of rapids makes So. Fork a popular rafting river

Trail meanders along ridge line with great views of river

View east of hills above the river

At around the 5 mile point, the trail drops down to the river

This is where we turned around and headed back to the trail head

Calm waters between rapids

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

High Flows

Sign under water at Discovery Park

The winter of 2010-11, is starting out to be a very wet year. So far, in mid-December, the Sacramento Valley has received 150% of normal rainfall. And there are still another 3-4 months of winter ahead. This past week, wave after wave of storms pounded the west coast.

During times like this, I put away the bike and put on my walking shoes and go out for long walks between raindrops. Living close to downtown, some of my favorite walks are doing big loops through the downtown/mid-town districts, or along the Sacramento River.

Many of my cycling compatriots join me on these urban hikes and formed an informal walking club. Stopping off for coffee and/or lunch is always a prerequisite and we pick and try out new eating venues or patronize some old favorites.

Today, we wanted to check out the high flows of the American and Sacramento Rivers. We did a 7 mile loop heading up to the Richards Blvd. District and hiked on the Two Rivers Bike Path (south-side of the American River) to the confluence with the Sacramento River at Discovery Park. We continued the walk down river to Old Sacramento.

Lunch break was at the Crocker Cafe in the new Crocker Art Museum. The cafe has received alot of positive reviews so we were eager to try it out. It was great! Dining in the large event space on the first floor with large windows facing the Victorian Crocker is a spectacular place to dine.

Joining me today were Herb, Dick, his daughter Brooke and husband Paul. They live in Atlanta and are visiting for the holidays.

Click on pic once/twice for enlarged view

View of the swollen American River from the Two Rivers Bike Path (south side of the river)

Walking on the levee on the south-side of the American

View of the I-5 Freeway near Discovery Park

How times have changed. The old Rusty Duck Restaurant building is shuttered. It was one of the hottest eateries in the 1980's. They should turn it into loft housing.

View of the American from the Rusty Duck

High flows under the I-5 freeway

The Jibboom Street Bridge

The confluence of the two rivers at Discovery Park is as wide as the Mississippi River.

Lone biker riding through flooded Disco Park on the bike path

Herb on Jibboom Street Bridge taking pic of flooded Disco Park

View of American and I-5 freeway

View of west-side of Jibboom Street Bridge

Looking up-river of Sacramento River at Crawdad's marina

The City water in-take plant on the Sacramento

Looking up-river at old intake tower

Today's walkers - Herb, Paul, Brooke, and Dick. Steve G. also joined us but had to cut it short.

Brooke on the bow of the Titanic!

Sail posts on the intake plant bridge

The UP RR Bridge and CalSTRS building

Only about 5' of freeboard

The majestic CalSTRS office building in West Sac

It's X-mas in Old Sac

The high flow of the river raises the floating docking barges, thus pushing the connecting gang-planks up. You have to walk uphill to get to the floating docks. Under normal flows, the gang-planks angle down.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

California International Marathon

The CIM, with over 8,000 registered runners, has become the 17th largest marathon in the US. The course travels from Folsom Dam to Downtown Sacramento on the city's major streets terminating in front of the State Capitol.

Like the Amgen Tour of California Bicycle Race, this marathon has become a big time event for Sacramento and draws 50,000 spectators along the course.

Today, I took a walk to downtown to catch the end of the race. The elite runners have already finished by the time I got to the state capitol. The men's winning time by Dylan Wykes from Australia was 2:12:39 and Buzunesh Deba from Ethiopia, the fastest women at 2:32:13.

It was cool and overcast, a perfect day for a marathon.

There was a big crowd lining the final mile along Capitol Mall, 8th St. and L St. Here are some pics from the CIM.

What the heck? This looks like a cemetery.

Runners change of clothes in white plastic bags are organized on the state capitol lawn.

Runners who finished fetch their plastic bag. Pretty slick how things are organized.

It's December so the big Christmas tree is decorated in front of the state capitol

Festive atmosphere at the finish line

Live bands were all along the course. This one was at the finish line.

The redhead had a great voice

The walking dead at the finish

Passing out space blankets

Massive number of runners finishing at 3:40+

Whipping around the corner at 8th and Capitol Mall and sprinting toward the finish

The women finish on the left side of Capitol Mall and the men on the right

The women's finish line

Runners coming down L St.

Recognize anybody?

At the corner of 8th and Capitol

More runners streaming down L St.

Turning on 8th to Capitol

A happy spectator

It was impressive the number of runners finishing around 4 hours

A disinterested fan!

Streaking by a red tree

In front of the Hyatt

Another band on L and 16th

The Irish Pub was a popular viewing spot

Cool bongo drummers at Zanzabar Imports at 17th and L

Neat drums

At water stop at 19th and L

Congrates to all the finishers!!