Sunday, December 28, 2014

Applegate Lake Loop

As 2014 comes to a close, we were able to get in a few more hikes - #67 & #68 for the year.  One of those recent hikes was at Applegate Lake.

Time for the last hike of 2014!
Despite the colder temperatures, recent rains and cloudy forecast, we made our way up to Applegate Lake along with our son & daughter in-law  (and of course Katie).  We started at the French Gulch trailhead and did a "lollipop" hike consisting of the Payette-Calsh-Osprey-Prospector-Sinns-Payette trails.  That combination may sound impressive, but the hike only took a little more than two hours and covered just over five miles.
Lake...What lake?????  See the vehicle way down there?
At the start, the Payette trail provided us with views of the lake (or lack of the lake) which is still very very very low.  We saw one vehicle at the lake edge and did not know whether someone had driven down to fish or if the vehicle had been exposed by the receding lake.
Some sort of yellow fungi stuff -- yuck!

Mushroom along the Sinns trail segment -- good enough for a pizza!!

Now that's what we call FUNGI!!
After just under a mile, we intersected with the Calsh trail.  This portion took us up (and up and up) along the side of a ridge and provided us with great views of steep ravines that were green with moss.   The trail also provided us with a wide variety of mushrooms and fungi which seem to be along every trail we have hiked over that last couple of months.  We encountered our first down tree across the trail too, but it was easily passed.

Once we reached the Dagelma trailhead parking area, we stopped for a break and took pictures of ourselves with Smokey the Bear!!

A short quarter-mile hike down the Osprey trail took us to the Prospector trail.  The Prospector trail is actually a loop (1.6 miles) trail that you can do from the Dagelma Trailhead, but for today we were using it as a connector trail to get back to the lake.  The lower portion of the trail took us along the other side of the ridge that we climbed on the Calsh trail.  As the sun came out we were treated to views of the surrounding mountains which still had a light dusting of snow.  Portions of the trail were very dense with manzanita brush providing us with segments that were more like tunnels to hike through.

Katie peers ahead at one of the "manzanita tunnels"
One of many "manzanita tunnels" along the Prospector trail
Eventually we connected to the Sinns trail.  It was time for going downhill!!!  Slowly but surely we descended along this .8 mile trail segment catching glimpses of the lake until finally connecting with the Payette trail again at the lake shore.  Since the first portion was not a retracing of the start of our hike, we had new views of the lake and dam and it's low level.
View of Applegate Lake looking towards the dam from the Payette trail.
The trail worked it's way around what use to be inlets of the lake until we arrived back the at the French Gulch trailhead.  Evidently some other folks decided to get out and enjoy the sunshine as there were now four vehicles in parking area in addition to ours.

So our hiking for 2014 is done, but our memories of them will continue.  We hiked 68 times for just over 311 miles --- 91 more miles than last year!!  We hiked our longest single hike (see our Redwood National Park posting) and did 3 hikes that were over 10 miles in length.  So now it is on to 2015 and a whole new year of hiking and making memories.

We want to close by wishing each of you a Happy and Healthy New Year.  Thank you for following along with us and for your comments and notes.  As the saying goes "Life is either an incredible adventure, or it is nothing at all".  Here's wishing you an incredible adventure in 2015!!!

Trekking Together
Glenn & Carol