Thursday, October 27, 2011

Valley Vista Hike

The current issue of Sactown Magazine featured an article about 10 great fall hikes near Sacramento. One of the featured hikes was the Valley Vista hike in picturesque Capay Valley.

Frank and I took advantage of another exceptional fall weather day and drove to Rumsey in Cache Creek Canyon to tackle this hike.

This is a double hind-kicker hike from the the very beginning. The trail switchbacks very steeply for 2 miles, ascending approximately 1800' to Rumsey Knob. The trail from the trailhead to the Knob is very well developed and marked.

We elected to continue another couple miles to Lookout Point Summit which added another 1000' of elevation gain. The trail from Rumsey Knob to the Summit was over-grown with chaparral and sketchy but there was enough trail to find our way to the top. The elevation at the summit is about 2266'.

The views of the surrounding ridges and valleys were quite spectacular from the ridge trail and high points.

The trailhead is located on Hwy 16 across the road from Camp Haswell on Cache Creek. There is plenty of parking space at the trailhead.

As the switchback trail ascends, Cache Creek comes into view. Camp Haswell is located across Hwy 16 next to Cache Creek.

It's a grunt for 1.7 miles to Rumsey Knob

A great view of Cache Creek and Capay Valley. This why this trail is appropriately named Valley Vista.

A birds-eye view of Rumsey Canyon from the Knob - Cache Creek and Hwy 16 below

The view of farms along Cache Creek

Beautiful oak woodland and riparian habitat along Cache Creek (above and below)

On the top of Rumsey Knob is a "hitching post" for giraffes. We couldn't figure out what this was for.

Man vs. Apple . . . taking a break at Rumsey Knob

The view north of ridge across Cache Creek

From Rumsey Knob, we continue another 2 miles to the top of Lookout Summit where I'm pointing. The trail from this point onward was overgrown and sketchy which required some bush-whacking through thick chaparral.

The trail follows the tops of ridge

Frank approaching the top on very steep pitch

The view east

Most of the terrain was chaparral with the exception of this bare spot with a stand of oaks

The view of Capay Valley from the top of Summit Point at about 2266'

At the summit is a cairn where we discovered a register under the rocks

The view (south) of Blue Ridge Mountains

Dead-man eating!

A laid-back lunch at the top of summit

Two at the top

Frank signing our names in the register. The last hikers listed on the register were here back in April indicating not too many people get this far.

Descending on steep trail to our car parked near Cache Creek . . . our legs took a pounding

A cruel joke!

A sign at base of mountain.

It was a tough hike and we were all smiles when it was over.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hope Valley Overlook Hike

Today's hike to Hope Valley rates a 10-10-10. A 10 for the glorious colors of the quaking aspens, a 10 for the beautiful fall weather, and a 10 for the congeniality of the hiking group.

Howdy Hoover (yes, that's his real name), our hike leader, started monthly mid-week day hikes - Howdy Hikes - in the last year and this was the first one that I was able to participate in.

And what an awesome day for my inaugural Howdy Hike.

With the high Sierra aspens in prime-time color, Howdy selected the Hope Valley Overlook Trail near Sorenson's Resort on Hwy 88 as the October hike. The trail ascends 1,200' to a basalt escarpment high above picturesque Hope Valley. The RT hike distance is about 5+ miles.

An enthusiastic group of 11 veteran hikers met at Sorenson's Resort and enjoyed a picture perfect day viewing the marvelous fall colors under blue skies and ideal temperatures in the high 60's.

Here are highlights from today's hike.

The Hope Valley Overlook trail-head is located near Sorenson's Resort and climbs 1,200' for about 2 1/2 miles

Gathering at Hwy 88 under a canopy of golden aspens

The aspens at Sorenson's in glorious color

At an overlook of Sorenson's cabins

Trail covered with a blanket of aspen leaves

Howdy, the hike leader, with Dick, Bonnie, Carol, Terry, and Herb

Our destination lies ahead - a volcanic basalt escarpment


Taking a break and Rich checking map. Are we on the right track?

Reaching our destination - a cliff overlooking a clump of aspens

Terry and Rich at the edge

Herb on the edge

Overlooking a meadow across Hwy 88 from Sorenson's

On cliff overlooking Hope Valley

A great place for lunch

The rim of basalt cliff offers spectacular views of Hope Valley and Sierra peaks

A view of Pickett's Junction where Hwy 88 and 89 meet

Totally awesome views

Freel Peak on horizon to the right lies on the east-side of Lake Tahoe. Freel Peak at 10, 881' is the highest peak on the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail.

Gold and orange aspens line Hwy 88

Group photo of hikers - Rich, Linda, Tom, Bonnie, Katrina, Howdy, Dick, Carol, Terry and me.
Herb taking photo.

The trail meanders through the cabins at Sorenson's Resort

I was told brown spots on aspen leaves may have been caused by recent snow storm or perhaps, some kind of disease. Hopefully, the former.

What ever the cause, the patterns on the leaves are beautiful

End of beautiful hike. Thanks Howdy for organizing today's fantastic hike.