indian creek canyon
A surprisingly warm day for this time of year propelled me down to the Crags for a look at what the "week-of-rain" did to Indian Creek. Rainfall totals for the week, depending on who you talked to, ranged from 8 to 11 inches, which is over half of the yearly average for these parts. Since the rocky nature of the crags means that almost all of the rain will end up as runoff, the creeks tend to show big changes in a relatively short time.
The trail up the canyon was "re-arranged", to put it mildly. The clumps of streamside shrubbery that I had to thread my way through before were all gone, and it seemed like I was hiking up a completely new drainage. On the downside, there were numerous new logjams to negotiate where there used to be just some rocks to hop across. Overall a very pleasant hike with lots of "new" scenery.
With the weather threatening to go back into "rain" mode I took a chance on Black Butte, but even though there was only a light overcast, every time you wound around to the southeast side there was a brisk, cold wind, and I didn't think that hanging out for long on top would be a pleasant option, so I turned around and came back to the trailhead. Later that day I had a nice, windless hike up to Faery Falls on Ney Springs Creek.
Interested in seeing what changes were made to the west end of the Park, I went up to Disappearing Creek on the Pacific Crest Trail. Even though the creek at this point had truly "disappeared", there were signs that a serious amount of water had made its way through here at one time, judging from the lack of moss (or anything else) clinging to the rocks in the streambed.
Hiking upstream the water re-appeared and the canyon looked pretty much "normal", especially my favorite pool, shown below. Faced with the thought of a tedious return the way I came, I decided to hone my manzaneering skills and bushwhack up the side of the canyon to the PCT, something that should be done at least once a year to make all other bushwhacks seem like child's play in comparison...
March is a good time to hike around the Root Creek drainage — after the snow melts but before the poison oak gets going. In whatever month I go there I face some sort of impediments to efficient travel, whether it's numerous downed branches that I must hike over, or closely-spaced trees that require hiking around them. I always have enjoyable wanderings here, although few are made in a straight line.
upper sulphur creek
I made the loop up Sulphur Creek to the "rocks", then down the ridgeline. There's an almost immediate change in the temperature when one is hiking along in a deep canyon for awhile on a chilly morning and then you break out on a ridgetop just as the sun comes around the corner of Battle Mountain. If I had short pants and a nice hammock I could have easily taken a lengthy nap, but it was a perfect day for exploring and poking around the quartz seams that run across the ridge. Nothing very exciting to report — just a few very early wildflowers, some lizards, and, of course, the ants.
little castle creek
With the chance of rain imminent, I managed to get in a short hike up Little Castle Creek. Although the creek didn't look much higher than it normally is, I found my usual fording spots to be under a few inches of fast moving water, so I couldn't cross over and explore the spots I intended to, but there were some impressive brushpiles that were deposited above the banks, showing what things were like last month at high water. Next time I'll bring sandals so I can cross over at more places, as several familiar spots had been pushed around so as to make crossing even easier once the water drops a bit. I did see a couple of geese, which was odd, and possibly an Osprey.