indian creek nature trail
The Indian Creek Nature Trail loop has had considerable work done recently so I started there on a hike up Indian Creek. The lower seasonal bridge is in place which eliminates having to ford the creek, although the water level was quite low when I was there. New numbered posts were in place but I still couldn't figure out what they were supposed to point out. Washouts have been filled in, debris has been removed from the trail itself, and the rock border has had numerous missing rocks replaced. If anyone manages to get lost on this 1 mile loop then they should be required to remain indoors forever.
The high point of the day were the azaleas that were coming up here and there. You could smell them long before you could see them. The upper bridge has been completely rebuilt and looks great — the handrailings on the old bridge did not instill a feeling of "rigidity" when one leaned against them.
I had a nice loop hike up Sulphur Creek, beginning at the paved road. As expected, there were new "logjams" here and there from fallen trees. I crossed over the East Fork and hiked up the West Fork (although it had considerably less water) until I reached the PCT, then walked east a bit until I reached the trail back down to the paved road. An easy 3 mile loop that takes a little over an hour.
Another hike along the Root Creek Trail, this time to wander around the Fern Spring area and smell the Azaleas. A lot of the Azalea bushes along Castle Creek on the south side of the Crags appeared to be slightly past their prime, but here on the shady north side they were going strong.
The difference a wet winter makes after several years of "dry" ones is evident everywhere — the overall color of the landscape went from brown (because of all the pine needles wherever you looked) to green (because of all of the new plants that you can barely avoid stepping on if you wandered off the trail).
kettlebelly/pct/root creek loop
This hike started at the Vista Point parking area, where I headed up toward the lookout spot, then turned left and went downhill on the Kettlebelly Trail to the service road, skillfully dodging poison oak as if I was el torero. Turning left on the road I passed a section of rail left over from the logging railroad that wound its way around Kettlebelly Ridge a hundred years ago. This side of the ridge was not only hot from the southern exposure but possessed the din of planes, trains, and automobiles.
Rounding the east edge of the ridge I found myself on the Root Creek side, with its cooler northern exposure and less and less of an awareness of Interstate 5. Following the Pacific Crest Trail west until I reached the junction with the Root Creek Trail, I followed it over to Fern Spring, where the sounds were just birds and flowing water.
The azaleas were in full bloom, as well as several different Lilies. Plants everywhere I looked seemed to be on the verge of blooming, so I plan to visit this spot again in a week or so. I backtracked on the Root Creek Trail to the parking area after about a 4½ mile loop.