I’ve been absent from here for far too long. There are reasons for this, primarily those that revolve around the fact that I have a life. A job and family and many other interests. Getting to the river doesn’t always fit into everything else going on.
There’s another reason. For the last three years I drove a Nissan Leaf — an all-electric car with about 70-80 miles of range. Which means there’s a pretty limited area of the world I can explore. I could have kept going back to places within that range, but I want to see places along the river I’ve never been too. The reality is that most of what I could cover by getting there in my Leaf exists entirely within the American River Bike Trail system — an incredible place to bike and hike and enjoy the river, but I’ve been in that system hundreds of times over the last 40 years.
Part of my effort with this blog and my exploration of the American River is that I really would be exploring places I’d never been before. So, I was a bit limited and my interest waned.
A couple of months ago the lease on my Leaf ended and I replaced it with a Chevrolet Volt. Still an electric car, but with a gas engine backup. In the two months I’ve had it, driven almost exclusively on the battery, but having that gas engine means I can now stretch the boundaries of my exploration. I’ve spent the last few weekends planning my first venture. I’ve thought of heading back up to the confluence, where the North Fork and the Middle Fork join, but I’ve been there. (I’ll be back again because there are so many more trails and pieces of the river to explore there, just not yet.) I wanted to go somewhere new.
The South Fork. I discovered there is a South Fork American River Trail, that stretches 25 miles from the Salmon Falls Bridge, where the South Fork empties into Folsom Lake, and Coloma, where gold was discovered in 1848.
I decided I wanted to walk the length of this trail. All 25 miles. Just not yet. I need to work up to that. I may be able to run four miles or six miles or eight miles. And, yes, I’ve run a few half marathons. But I’ve learned that walking uses different muscles and just like with running, I’ll have to work up to something like a 25 mile jaunt.
I started today, arriving at the Salmon Falls Bridge trailhead a little before eight and heading out.
I turned my back on the bridge and the river and began. And except for one glimpse, never saw the river again. Distances are estimates based primarily on the time it took me to hike the stretches. But I believe I hiked about four miles out. The first 1 1/2 miles or so were mostly uphill. Until I got to this lonely little tree.
As near as I could tell, this was the high point of today’s hike. From here, there was a mile or so of mixed ups and downs, and than another mile or more of downhills. At times I could hear the river. It was right there. But this is what I’d see.
Nope. No river there. And the trail would then take me in the opposite direction. Yes, for somebody interested in a river walk, this was a lonely experience. I haven’t given up hope though. I believe I got out about 4 miles before turning around. In a week or two, I’ll try to get another 2 or 3 miles out before turning around. I just hope that my hips and feet can take it. My feet — primarily because of how my hiking boots rub against my heels and how my toes start to hurt!. My hips — not so much while walking, but afterwards.
Here are a few more pictures. I just hope there’s a point at which the trail gets me closer to the river.