Pioneer RV Park is a basic RV park, with paved (but bumpy from roots) roads and sites. It is far enough off the highway to cut down on road noise, though close enough to the local mill that you get a little noise and the scent of cut wood. AT&T signal was strong, Verizon was okay, we did not use the park wifi.
|A walk along country roads near the RV park.|
|We heard this guys screech long before we spotted him.|
Our first hike on these trails was the prettiest, the Cascade trail. From the north trailhead off Old Highway Road, we hiked alongside lovely Spanish Creek for 2.5 miles enjoying spring flowers, cool forest and the constant bubbling and churning of the heavy flowing creek cascading through the canyon.
|Spanish Creek is running high with all the snow melt right now.|
|Excellent artifacts and information at the Plumas County Museum.|
A good, though potholed, dirt road (detailed directions) brings you to the easy two mile loop trail leading to the Darlingtonia Bog where the pitcher plants are found. Thanks to the long hard winter we were a bit early for full bloom this year but still saw some beautiful plants and a pair of sandhill cranes which are a harbinger of spring in these parts.
|California pitcher plants thrive in the Darlingtonia Bog.|
|Pitcher plants with their flowers towering overhead.|
|Unidentified, but brilliant, water plants.|
|Pond adjacent to Darlingtonia bog and the small meadow where we saw the sandhill cranes.|
|Keddie Wye, a unique trestle where two railroad lines come together.|
We hiked another few miles of trails in the South Park Non-Motorized Trail system that gave us an excellent workout as well as beautiful views of Quincy in the American Valley.
|Springtime in American Valley.|
As daily temperatures warmed into the 80's we headed into the mountains towards Bucks Lake Wilderness. The road was open just to the resort area full of summer homes and yet-to-be-opened forest service campgrounds along Bucks Lake.
Mill Creek/Lakeshore Trail along the east side of Bucks Lake was mostly clear of snow, but still had mountains of tree debris and lots of tiny streams overtaking the trail...plus indication of bear. We hiked a pretty 1.5 miles of shoreline before we got tired of scrambling over debris and turned back.
|Ponderosa pine saplings grow out of boulders along Bucks Lake.|
Summer homes and lodging dot the far shore...where we enjoyed a cold beer post hike at Lakeshore Resort.
|Massive old ponderosa pine.|
|Bucks Lake Road and Bucks Creek Road were not fully cleared a week before Memorial Day weekend.|
Snow mobilers were taking advantage of this last opportunity before roads were plowed and crowds descend.
For our final hike in the area we decided to tackle Bucks Creek Loop, a 4.5 mile hike that we knew would be covered in debris and occasional snow drifts but would also offer solitude and shade and a chance to see some wildlife. While all of the above was true, we never saw any animals...but there was plenty of bear sign and we were prepared with bear spray just in case.
|We renamed this trail Buck Creek Obstacle Course!|
It is going to take lots of man hours to clear all of the trails in California's mountains this year.
|Bears fresh out of hibernation tear apart rotting logs to get at the tasty insects inside.|
|This bear has been eating well...|
|We passed through large patches of snow where we relied on small blue nordic trail signs placed high on the trees to keep us on the trail.|
|We saw bear tracks numerous times on this hike, this set was pretty fresh...|
|...and pretty good sized!|
|While it would have been exciting to see a bear, it would have been scary as well!|
We talked to each other and to the bears as we hiked so we wouldn't come upon one unexpectedly.
Snake Lake was a pretty stop a couple of miles off Bucks Lake Road. This small, shallow lake is covered in lily pads and has a beaver lodge too. The beavers have even built up the dam by a couple of feet increasing the water level!
|Beaver lodge on Snake Lake.|
|Industrious beavers have built up the dam increasing the lakes depth.|
|We felt it should have been named Frog Lake, there were hundreds along the shoreline!|
Today was another very short drive to our next stop: Canyon Dam, CA on the shores of Lake Almanor where we'll ride out the Memorial Day Weekend.