Place: Pope Canyon, Lake Berryessa, Napa County, California
Coordinates: 38.624490, -122.323297
Length: about 3 miles in and out
Difficulty: easy (under normal weather conditions). Moderate, if going down to the creek.
We returned from our hike at Smittle Creek and crashed in the campsite. The heat was too intense to do anything. The chikas and their friend went down to the lake and submerged for hours in the brown, murky water of Lake Berryessa. The adults slouched around in various states of sleepiness.
At 4:00 pm I managed to get up and announced that we'll be going to another hike. It was hot no matter what, I argued, so we might as well find a more attractive place to spend the rest of the afternoon than the over-crowded campground where the booming noise of jet boats was pounding into our cooked brains.
It took a long time to get the children up from the lake, feed them (and us) and get ready to go. Then one of our friends who were camping with us, had decided he preferred to remain in the campsite. His son decided to stay with him. So eventually it was just us Quails with one of our friends went to hike at Pope Canyon Trail.
We did not have a proper map of the area, just a flier we got from the campground personnel. It had a simple illustration of the roads and the trail and a brief description how to get to the trailhead. Although it was unmarked, we did find it without too much trouble, because it was the only apparent trail beginning at that segment of Pope Canyon Road.
We parked the car at the small pullout, hoisted our water packs and cameras and plunged into the woods.
The trail is an old, apparently unused (or very little used) dirt road. From the road it descends towards the creek between a forest of live oaks.
It was hot under the trees but quickly got much hotter when we reached the creek and the trees disappeared as we followed the creek from above.
We didn't see any animals along the way. Not even lizards. They too, were taking refuge from the intense heat. Only crazy humans would be walking out in the sun in this weather.
The flowers, however, didn't hide anywhere.
|Pope Canyon, a view from the main trail|
After our campground rattle snake encounter we were all worried about meeting them in the tall grass. Going through these weeds was difficult, and we couldn't see a trail going down the last ledge over the creek. At that point Papa Quail and the chikas were ready to call it quits.
I wasn't ready to give up yet. Not when we were so close! So while the rest of my family sat in the shade at the bottom of the trail, gathering their energies to go back up I scouted some more in the field of weeds.
|The Great Barrier Weed|
|Pope Creek, view east|
|Pope Creek, view west|
By that time, it was getting pretty late. We needed to get back up while there was daylight still. So with much regret we got out of the water, dried off and dressed up. Papa Quail, who'd had a good rest, found the energy to lift up his camera again.
|Soap Plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum), with a visitor|