Report to Hikers: week of August 10-August 16

Hello Hikers!



Monday August 10

Special exploration hike — Newfield State Forest

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I first noticed this forest on a map some years ago, but I never heard any of our fellow hikers mention it, even people who are very knowledgeable about other trails — I started to ask around — most people had never heard of it, and no one I talked to had ever been there. I was curious because I’m always looking for new trails for our hikes.

Tiger and I checked it out with two of our regulars who live in Newfield, June and Liz. First we had breakfast at Freddy’s Diner in downtown Newfield, where we had a lively discussion about skin cancer surgeries. The forest is five miles south, off Route 13. I knew enough from the scant information online not to expect much. In fact, unless you’re satisfied with simply walking through thick woods on a gravel road, this place hasn’t much to offer. There are no trails and the woods aren’t the type you’d ever want to bushwhack through. June, who doesn’t like to apply insect spray, was immediately bitten by a black fly, and she turned on her heels and went home. We other three kept walking on the road for a while but we were all swarmed by mosquitoes the whole time, so we soon called it quits.



Wednesday August 12

Shindagin Hollow State Forest, bike trails along Braley Hill Road

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This hike takes us on a maze of mountain bike trails through some delightful woods It’s a wonderful walk except that we always get lost, even though we’ve now done this hike a number of times. Actually we did manage to find our way smoothly once, but then the next time we reverted to getting lost. In any case, we definitely lost our way again this time.

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We’re never actually truly lost because we have Braley Hill Road as a spine, and it’s always theoretically possible to bushwhack over to it and find it eventually. Our chronic problem is that we end up walking in the wrong direction as we try and make our way back to the cars.

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This walk takes us through a fantastic dark pine forest — it’s not very extensive and I’m always sorry when it ends.

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Lost of dramatic sun-n-shade lighting in these woods — I like this particular photo because Sandra (wearing the earrings) is in focus — you can click the photo twice and check out her bangs to see what I mean.

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Official head count: 13 hikers, two dogs

We encountered one lone mountain biker.  He was completely lost  —  on the other hand, he was able to cover ground to where he wanted to be a lot faster than us.

You can see six more photos by me online here.



Saturday August 15

Roy H Park Preserve into Hammond Hill SF, Dryden

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Lovely morning

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We had a brief moment of excitement on an otherwise quiet hike  —  we don’t often encounter horses so it’s always an event for me  —  you can’t tell from the horses’-ass view here but this batch of riders was atypical  —  usually they’re pretty rustic; this group looked like babes to me  —  you can see more shots of the horse group by me and Annie online

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The walk had a really nice feeling to it  —  it was lovely in the deep pine woods on the Park Preserve ….

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…. and beautiful on the ski trails on Hammond Hill

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Official head count:  13 hikers, two dogs

You can see 10 more photos by me online here.

You can see Annie’s photos online here.



Sunday August 16

Shindagin Hollow SF, rim trail along the upper gorge

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This hike’s got to be in the Top Five for shadiest summertime trail as well as in the Top 12 for beauty

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From the time you get out of your car until you get back in, there’s really only small scattered patches of sunlight

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That’s great on a hot morning like this one  —  it was over 80 by the time we wrapped it up, but it wasn’t too humid and it felt fine under the trees

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There are a couple of uphill climbs on this trail but they’re not long enough to get you overheated even on a hot day.  In general, this is a pretty easy hike.

Hiker-photographer Annie went off with a small group that bushwhacked through a swamp  —  that was out in the sun  —  I’ve always admired this swamp on the way down Shindagin Hollow Road  —  she has views of it in her album from this hike I’ve never seen and it’s really beautiful.

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Official head count:  25 hikers, three dogs

You can see seven more photos by me online here

You can see Annie’s photos online here.

We made it through the week without any hikers getting stung.  But I did learn that one of the hikers who got stung earlier this summer was stung 16 times on her leg that morning, far more stings than I’d heard about.