Place: Susanville, California
Susanville Trailhead address: 601 Richmond Rd. Susanville
Our hike started at: 200 Miller Rd. Susanville
Length: The full trail is 25.4 miles long. We hiked 3 miles in and out.
We cut our visit to South Warner Wilderness short because of the weather forecast. We had originally planned to return to Redding, but the forecast there was also nit very hiking-friendly, so we decided to alter course and took south on CA-395 to Susanville.
As we were nearing our destination Papa Quail suddenly exclaimed and asked that I pull over. I did, and he jumped out of the car with his camera. There, in the weeds along the road were a few yellow-headed blackbirds: certainly a bird worth pulling over for!
So we went for a hike on the Bizz Johnson Trail.
The Bizz Johnson Trail used to be a railroad that was established at 1914 for the logging industry. When it was decommissioned on 1978 the tracks were removed and the road was converted for recreational use.
The trailhead in Susanville it at the old train station. There's a visitor center there and the lovely attendant recommended that we start our hike at a different spot - about half a mile down the trail. "This way," she said, "you'll get out of the urban setting and out to nature quicker." We took her advice and drove to the Miller Rd. trail entrance and started walking.
|Mule-ear, near the trail.|
Near Susanville the trail follows along the Susan River, crossing it on a few low bridges.
The river water, although not all too high, wasn't very low either and it was flowing mildly.
|Atop the bridge over the Susan River|
|Starry False Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum stellatum)|
|A Steller's Jay contemplating a selfie|
Hardy conifers dig their roots deep into the cracks of the rock, hastening the weathering process.
It only takes a little nook with a bit of soil to start a tree that digs into the sheer rock. I am always amazed to see these trees that grow straight from the wall face.
|A pine tree near the Susan River|
|Sedge patch, bent by the flow|
I took comfort in photographing these impressive galls:
|Common Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) with galls of sponge gall midge|
My big treat of that day was this flower: the Woollypod Milkvetch. It stood out with its shiny purple flowers in the background of underfoot pebbles.
|Woollypod Milkvetch (Astragalus purshii)|
But then we saw them, right by the Bizz Johnson Trail. More than one, in fact. And they gave Papa Quail plenty of kodak moments.
|Red Breasted Sapsucker|
|Mahala Mat (Ceanothus protratus), being true to its name.|
|A Spotted Towhee in the bushes along the Bizz Johnson Trail|
Susanville might have just that one trail, but it's a worthy trail. I will definitely go back there to do the other 23 miles at some point :-)
Many thanks to members of the California Native Plants Society for their help in identifying the Artemisia and galls species!