We just finished the short North Trail Loop and decided that we would check out the other 1/2 mile loop trail at the opposite end of the parking lot.
Despite the very real warning of rattlesnakes living around the trail, we didn't see or hear any as we explored this wooded preserve on the first day of 2018. Since we didn't see any snakes, the highlight of this loop would be the bedrock mortars created by a prehistoric people who spent time gathered on the rocks grinding grain, acorns, and other local resources into a food product.
After our hike on the Mountain Quarry Railroad Trail, we wanted to do a little more exploring. In between Auburn State Recreation Area and our home, we remembered driving by the Miners Ravine Nature Preserve several months ago and seeing the suburban park had a short trail system. It seemed like the perfect destination to continue our first day of the new year hiking plans.
We started on the North Loop Trail because it was closer to where I parked our SUV. The path did not disappoint. We had the trail to ourselves, it was wide and even provided a short rock scramble for Kellisa. She loved the effort it took to get her to the top where she could enjoy the views. Kellisa asked for "more" after we made it back down, but I was done rock pushing for the day.
In the end, the North Loop Trail was exactly half a mile in length. Short, but very sweet.
This is how Kellisa rolls into the new year while Laurel was at the park and movies with mom. It doesn't matter how much research we do on a trail in advance, we are always surprised. For the most part, the Mountain Quarry Railroad Trail is a Rails to Trail which means it is now a hiking trail on a former railroad path. This usually means wide and mostly obstacle free for Kellisa's mobility chair. Several trestles have been removed and a rough trail has been blazed to connect the rail trail around these gaps. The first couple weren't too bad to navigate, but as you can see in the picture to the right, the trail around the missing trestle over the Black Hole of Calcutta Falls is anything but accessible. But, I've jumped ahead to the crux of our first day of the year hike.
It was a beautiful and sunny afternoon when we arrived at the trailhead. Every parking spot was taken and vehicles were parked on the shoulder of the road in all directions. This trailhead didn't have any disabled parking and even if did, I'm sure those would have also been taken. We drove back and forth hoping to find a spot. After many U-turns, a spot only a few cars from the trailhead opened. This was fortunate since we had to negotiate around all the parked cars by walking (pushing) out into a lane of fast approaching cars.
Mountain Quarry Railroad Trail Auburn State Recreation Area
January 1, 2018
I really do hate irresponsible dog owners while out on the trail. Read that first sentence again before sending any messages or leaving comments. I hate irresponsible dog owners. I don't hate all dog owners or dogs, just irresponsible dog owners. Read on to see how I define irresponsible.
Most, if not all trails that allow dogs require them to be under control and on a leash. I know there are dog parks that allow dogs to run wild, so you have places to let your dog be free and a trail which requires a leash is not the place for many reasons.
Too many times we've encountered dogs not on a leash and they come running up aggressively. Sometimes the dogs are face level or even higher than the kids which scares them...and me. The most common response from these owners is laughter, "Oh, they're harmless" or "They're part of the family". The owners need to know their laughter doesn't help us feel any better or safer. Keep your dogs under control!
Another pet peeve about irresponsible dog owners- at the trailhead to our recent hike of the Mountain Quarry Railroad Trail, there was a nice little box with baggies (Top right picture) for dog owners to use for their dog's waste. A large boulder (Top left picture) not far from the trailhead seems to double as an open air trash can for the whole world to see and smell while out trying to enjoy nature.
To make matters even worse, not all owners cleanup after their dogs leaving a mushy mess on the trail. Unfortunately, with all the leaf debris covering the trail, we wheeled (Bottom center picture) through a well camouflaged pile of dog waste. This is impossible to thoroughly clean from the tire treads while out on a trail which means we need to load the smelly tires in the car for the ride home. Once home, I need to use the hose to spray the disgusting mess from the tires.
Our only silver lining is Kellisa doesn't have to use her bare hands on her soiled tires to propel herself. Not every wheelchair user is that fortunate. Think about that for a minute.
You will find the Black Hole of Calcutta Falls only 1.1 miles from gate 150 off of Highway 49 just south of Auburn, CA. While not the biggest falls in the world, it is a nice goal for families that want to be rewarded with a waterfall that flows all year.
Our New Year's Day hike started and finished near the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge, a.k.a. the No Hands Bridge, so named by locals for the years the bridge didn't have hand rail protection. Completed in 1912, it was the largest bridge constructed with reinforced concrete. It survived the Hell Hole Dam collapse 53 years ago when many other bridges in the canyon were demolished by the rush of water.
Mountain Quarry Railroad Trail Auburn State Recreation Area
January 1, 2018
We planned to start the new year with a 4.2 hike on the Mountain Quarry Railroad Trail. The parking area off of Highway 49 just south of Auburn was jam packed with cars for at least a half mile in both directions. Unfortunately, there wasn't any spots for disabled parking. Most of the cars were sticking at least a little into the paved shoulder. We drove back and forth several times before we got lucky to be in the right place as the 5th car from the trailhead was leaving. The trail we had chosen was in a mountain canyon with steep drop-offs, but by far the most dangerous part of the entire hike would be going from the car to the trailhead and back after our hike. The only way to get Kellisa around the parked cars was to enter the roadway. You had to time your walk around the fast approaching cars from around the bends in the highway. I was thankful to only have a few cars to circumnavigate.
Since none of us owned any Kings shirts, Lisa pulled off a small miracle by purchasing shirts for all of us and they were delivered on Saturday to our house a few hours before the game.
This was Lisa and Laurel's second NBA game (they attended a Kings game in early 2016) and the first for Kellisa and Chris. We don't follow basketball and weren't sure what to expect. We found a parking spot in advance across the street from the Golden 1 Center that had ample disabled parking. We walked across the street and entered through the VIP doors since we didn't know any better. They let us in with everyone entering for the suites. We guess the wheelchair had something to do with it, but everyone was very nice as we were guided to elevators that would take us to our seats.
Kellisa and Laurel both had a pretty good day to start the new year. Laurel went to a local park to play with a friend from school and then went to the movies with mom. Meanwhile, Kellisa spent the day out on a couple of local trails with dad. We're all hoping this is the start to the best year ever!