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.



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.

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