Date: July 6, 2013
Place: Horse Linto trail, Six Rivers National Forest, by Willow Creek, California
Where we parked: 41.00703, -123.60427
Where we exited the creek: 41.00541, -123.6060541.00703, -123.60427
Difficulty: strenuous and potentially dangerous.
We slept better on our second camping night near Willow Creek, and were ready for a good hike. The heat wave was still going strong and we decided to go to the Horse Linto trail that was suggested to us at the Six Rivers National Forest visitor center at Willow Creek on the day before. The trail is deep in the forest, meaning shade, and right next to flowing water, meaning the option of a cooling dip, if needed.
After 30 minutes of driving slowly on a narrow and winding forest road we reached the Horse Linto campground, which was completely deserted. We parked our car a bit further behind it where the Horse Linto dirt road splits to the right, and continued on foot on that road for about 1/4 mile.
The bridge crossing the Horse Linto creek and the dirt road beyond it are over-grown with Himalayan Blackberry, an aggressive, invasive species that is taking over the forest undergrowth in that area. Our progress was slowed down considerably due to thorny branches extended into the road and the plentiful bounty of ripe blackberries.
|Himalayan Blackberry on the Horse Linto Bridge|
|The Horse Linto Interpretive Trail|
|Horse Linto Interpretive Trail. Invisible under blackberry, poison oak, and other hostile vegetation|
|Horse Linto Creek|
|A cloud of gnats sparkle in mid-air over the water|
I will pause now for a stern warning and a disclaimer. Entering a flowing mountain creek can be seriously risky. The current can be strong and treacherous, the water depth variable, and the footing slippery and unpredictable. This isn't an easy walk for adults, let alone young children. I would not recommend this sort of adventure to non-experienced people, particularly not with young children.
That said, since we do have ample experience in flowing creek hiking, including a fairly recent one with the chikas, we did take the chance and waded into the water. Papa Quail and I, each of us holding a sturdy stick in one hand and a chika's hand in the other, started walking slowly downstream.
We met an acquaintance there:
|Ferns on the creek bank|
|Horse Linto white-water|
As it was, the campground access was indeed quite visible and we got out of the water, soggy, tired, but thoroughly satisfied. I left Papa Quail with the chikas and went to get the car only to discover once more that walking in soggy-wet jeans isn't a very pleasant experience.
We had a picnic lunch at the Horse Linto campground and, after drying off, we drove back to Kimtu Beach on the Trinity River just to get wet all over again. It was a very hot day.