This morning I decided to join the senior hiking group on their outing to Cascadel Point led by Bruce Busch of North Fork.
Roughly from North Fork we’ll drive six miles on Road 255 before arriving at the forest road and trailhead. The final mile of road was traveling over ice and snow accumulated from one of our recent storms. Once arriving at the trailhead, all I could see was a blanket of white behind the locked forest gate.
There are 18 of us hikers sporting our winter hiking gear looking forward to this trek without skis or snowshoes. As this snow-covered road circled its way through the forest it was disappointing to see all the dead pine and cedar trees - the victims of our four year drought and the infestation of bark beetles.
There were two separate areas where two of the towering centennials had given up their struggle to remain upright, now obstacles stretched across the roadway.
This three mile (one way) hike had an elevation gain of around 300 feet before reaching the summit at 4,492 feet. For future reference this outing will make a great conditioning hike any time of the year, with snowshoe and cross country skies during the winter months and for summer, a shaded road to escape the summer heat.
Once at the summit the distant views of Peckinpeh Mountain, Little Shuteye Mountain, and Table Top Mountain add to the delight of this trek.
On our return the snow conditions changed with the increased temperature during the afternoon. Road hiking was okay but with those fallen trees that we maneuvered around earlier, the snow became noticeably more difficult. One advantage of returning by the same route, if one loses an item of winter clothing, like a glove, during the morning, they will find this lost article on the return.
A few months have passed since I’ve hiked with this group and it’s always enjoyable experiencing their professionalism. Especially the dedication each leader gives to make their outing a success.
If you are thinking about introducing yourself to the sport of hiking, this is the group to contact. They can be reached by contacting Fran Goss (firstname.lastname@example.org), (209) 742-5086.