Ted's Hiking World Judge Davis Trail
Cache Creek Natural Area

May 20, 2008

Wishing to find something new while the high-elevation trailheads still are snowbound, I have driven here despite high winds and my ongoing hay fever.  It does not surprise me that no other vehicle is in the parking lot; for it may well be too late in the season to properly enjoy this area.

*
It looks as if I'll have the place to myself today

After about five minutes of walking, I return to the car for my walking stick.  Although the trail is easy going along an old road bed, I have promised my spouse never to hike alone in cougar country without my stick.  Even though I never have seen a mountain lion in the wild, I have read enough stories about attacks on hikers to convince me to be a bit careful when help rates to be unavailable.  What protection that weapon might actually afford me is unknown; but having it is comforting nonetheless.

As I feared, it is quite late in the season here.  The area is dry as a bone, and there are few flowers around.  Fortuitously enough, among those that I do spot are a couple that have not been logged previously.

*
Starting up the trail

*
A variety of Yellow Mariposa Lily

*
Narrow-leaved Brodiaea

It is quite warm, my eyes are watering, and no particular destination or scenic attraction lies ahead.  For perhaps the first time ever, I actually am disenchanted by a trail; so after only a mile or so, I turn around and head back.  A lone crow follows me for a time, circling directly overhead and squawking much of the way.

*
The only green grass on the route 

*
The return trail

On the drive home, I encounter another colorful plant; although it could be mistaken for fireweed from a distance, this flower is prettier and more interesting.

*
Red Ribbons decorate a back road


§: Taking the opportunity to explore a bit, I head up Road-40 off SR-16, which seems to be the only route into the reserve.  Within four miles I pass by five other trailheads, all of which are unoccupied.  The season definitely is over for the year around here.  I give today's trail a little something for being so easy on the feet, and something more for providing me a couple of new flower types; but one can do a lot better.

---

RETROSPECTIVE

Subsequent to this posting, an article about this trail was published in the Sacramento Bee; unfortunately, the author who referenced this page by claiming that I was obsessing about mountain lions was in error.  Apparently he didn't notice the signpost at the trailhead that features a drawing of a cougar and includes the words, "Danger" and "Do Not Hike Alone".  At least someone understands that caution is warranted.

I might try this trail again when the grasses are green, but with some trepidation.  After all, I might be attacked by a pride of ravenous felines, or I could walk through a web of black widow spiders, or perhaps I'll stumble into a rattlesnake den.  Gee, maybe I shouldn't go at all.  Too scary.

Go Back