I took a nice hike along Root Creek, following it from its "mouth" at the Sacramento River all the way up to the base of the rocks below the falls. One really gains proficiency at stepping over downed branches and logs in doing this, and I made it through relatively unscathed. There was still the odd blackberry runner that I missed here and there, but no lasting reminders of poison oak. The pools were full and the Indian Rhubarb, or whatever it's called, was looking very healthy. I did see an osprey fly overhead with a large trout in tow, a beautiful almost-purplish alligator lizard, and some sculpins in the creek — the canyon seemed especially "alive" today, except for the large trout...
A clear, cloudless day and I was off again to see what I could see from the top of Mt. Eddy. The seasonal creeks were still going strong and the snowdrifts I encountered a few weeks ago were now gone.
Only two cars in the parking lot gave me a false sense of privacy on the trail, but such was not the case as the day progressed. The hiking was pleasant and there was only a slight but persistent breeze on top, and I wandered around for a bit looking at the multitudes of rock types that are scattered about. Since it was a Sunday, as I got lower and lower I began to meet more and more hikers — 28 to be exact (and three dogs) on the 11 mile hike!
I started up the logging road that leads to the intersection with the Sisson-Callahan Trail in the Bear Creek drainage, just south of the Deadfall Lakes. To say that this trail is "indistinct" in places would be an understatement. Heading east, however, it's easy to follow, although there were several sizeable downed trees that had to be circumvented. Again I saw bear scat and tracks, possibly explaining the origin of the creek's name.
Crossing over the divide and now on the PCT, I went over toward Toad Lake, then humped straight up to the top of peak "8001T", which is the highest peak along this part of the crest south of Mt. Eddy. Enjoyed the great views from the top despite a determined wind that was hard to escape on the bare summit, then followed the ridgeline north until I reached the PCT again, and headed back down Bear Creek, through extensive meadows full of now-defunct pitcher plants, found a secluded lake, a medium-sized obsidian flake, and had the bejesus scared out of me when a large grouse exploded from the brush a few feet in front of me.
sisson-callahan trail re-visited
I took a hike up the North Fork of the Sacramento River, which is the drainage just south of Mt. Eddy. A section of the Sisson-Callahan Trail follows the river (actually a creek at this point) and I started at the point where the creek crosses the road up to the Morgan Meadows area. On the way up the hill I watched a bear come running down the embankment above me, cross the road about two car-lengths in front of me, and continue down hill. In the 5 seconds or so that I watched it fly by, all thoughts of ever out-running one of these creatures evaporated entirely...
After spending a few minutes trying to figure out on which side of the creek the "trail" was on, I chose the left side, which proved to be correct. There are, in my opinion, there are many sections that re-define just what a "rocky" trail should look like. Its saving grace, however, was an almost continuous border of Bear Grass and several colorations of Azalea, along with Leopard Lily, Shooting Stars, Cinquefoil, Jewell Flowers, and many others.
Reaching the upper end of the drainage, I wandered around throughout the meadows, walking sometimes on ground so saturated that it felt like you were walking on a waterbed. Some watercourses were going strong, while others were already dried up. Saw a few grouse, but no deer and no more bears. If it was a little warmer there were about a zillion nice pools on the creek that I would have gone swimming in, but it was a very pleasant day for a hike.