Date: April 2, 2018
Place: Woolly Creek, Some Bar, California
Coordinates: 41.376052, -123.431663
Length: 4 miles
Our second day of spring break we spent in Arcata, hiking at the Arcata Marsh Sanctuary and lingering in town for an early dinner. It was late in the afternoon when we finally drove off east toward Willow Creek and the Klamath River. We had camped in the past at Willow Creek and hiked the area a bit. This time we took rte 96 northward and soon we were driving along the Klamath River. We passed the Hoopa Reservation, entered the Klamath National Forest area and started looking for a campsite. We went down a little river access dirt road and while we didn't wind a suitable camping place there we did enjoy a nice break from the drive and a close up view of the mighty Klamath river.
|The Klamath River|
On the following morning we packed ourselves out and drove to Somes Bar where we turned to follow the Salmon River. Not having planned this in great detail I had in mind to hike the Woolly Creek trail that I saw on my map.
We found the trailhead, where we were welcomed by the wonderful sight of a madrone tree in full bloom.
|Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii|
At the bottom of the trail we were hiking through a forest of oak and madrone trees. As remote as this place os, still we were not alone - a sole backpacker with her dog were sharing the trail with us for some time. She was going to spend the night up in the higher elevation and was concerned about the chill forecasted for that night. Sharing the tent with her dog seemed like a great solution to me, but we too were planning to camp that night - we would need to open the spare sacks, I thought to myself.
Here we were, quite far from the Bay Area, hiking in a region of California we had never explored before. As one might expect, the vegetation was different and the forest hd a very different feel to it (no sign of any redwood). Still, the forest was of oaks and madrone, and a lot of the poison oak growing at the forest floor and hanging off the trees, a powerful reminder that we were still in the coastal region of California.
We walked slowly, and as slow as the sole backpacker and her dog were, eventually they passed us and disappeared from our sight.
The space between the trees got wider the higher we hiked and the exposed earth was scree of little sharp rocks. Little bloom was in these spaces, but what did bloom was gorgeous. Tiny monkey flowers dotted the scree, standing in contrast to the reddish stone.
I recognized one of the species right away - I was familiar with the Kellogg's monkey flower from previous hikes. The other one I was not familiar with. I identified it lated from the photos - it was the chickpea monkey flower, which is found primarily in that area of California. It makes a pretty companion to the Kellogg's monkey flower species.
|Chickpea Monkeyflower (Mimulus alsinoides), and Kellogg's Monkeyflower, (Mimulus kelloggii)|
|Blue Dicks, Dichelostemma capitatum|
|Bridge over the salmon River|
|Western Buttercup, Ranunculus occidentalis|
|Hairy Star Tulip, Calochortus tolmiei|
What was plentiful there were delicate redbud bushes in full bloom.
|Western Redbud, Cercis occidentalis|
|Houndstongue, Cynoglossum grande|
|Last year's Snow Plant, Sarcodes sanguinea|
|Small-flowered Tonella, Tonella tenella|
|Sierra Shooting Star, Primula jeffreyi|
|Wood Saxifrage, Saxifraga mertensiana|
|Lemon-colored Fawn Lily, Erythonium citrinum|
Also, we had no plans to continue east along the Salmon River. Perhaps one day I'd have the opportunity to connect the upper and lower parts in one single hike. As it was, we just looked down upon the water below and started going downstream.
|Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja sp.|
Turning the curve back westward I got a clear view of the scree slope going all the way down to the river. My mind already imagined a sled going down that one but my chika got anxious and hurried along back into the woods.
The last part of the hike we walked quickly, going downhill without stop. This time the elder chika was in the lead, eager to get to the trailhead facilities and I hurried after her, snapping shots here and there as I walked.
|Fern growing on a tree trunk|
We convened at the car and started down the Salmon River and back up the Klamath. The chikas were hungry so we stopped for a picnic at the nearest river access and stayed there for a good long hour before moving on.