Christmas day ride 2017
Shasta and Kathy had an amazing ride on Christmas Day 2017
Northern California has some perfect weather for winter riding…
Most hikes into the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix begin from the north side, accessed via the Apache Trail, and tend to be rather long and relatively little-used, but one of the shortest, easiest reached and therefore most popular routes starts in the south, at the edge of the expanding community of Gold Canyon along US 60. The 1.5 mile Hieroglyphic Trail climbs a gentle slope covered with many cacti then enters the lower end of a boulder-filled canyon, ending at a rocky section where pools persist for much of the year, a location important for the ancient Hohokam Indians, who inhabited this desert region up to 1,500 years ago. Evidence of their settlement includes hundreds of petroglyphs etched into the dark, weathered surface of the basalt cliffs above the pools, some with very intricate designs. This scenic location is high enough for a long-distance panorama southwest over Gold Canyon and the Gila River plain, and also provides close-up views of the jagged upper slopes of the Superstition Mountains to the north, rising over 2,000 feet higher.
Visiting the General Sherman Tree
Two trails lead to the Sherman Tree. Parking for the Main Trail is off the Wolverton Road (between the Sherman Tree and Lodgepole); just follow signs. The trail runs half a mile (0.8 km) down to the tree. It has a few stairs and is paved. As you walk, you’ll enter the Giant Forest sequoia grove. Exhibits along the trail explain the natural history of giant sequoias. The walk back is uphill.
Those with disability parking placards can park in a small lot along the edge of the Generals Highway. From there, a wheelchair-accessible trail leads a short distance to the tree. If you don’t have a placard but can’t manage the Main Trail, during shuttle season you can ride park shuttles (all are wheelchair accessible, and some kneel) to the accessible trail. Another option, if you can do the initial downhill walk, is to park at the Main Trail, walk down to the Sherman Tree, then continue down to the shuttle stop along the Generals Highway. A shuttle can return you to your parking area, eliminating the uphill walk.
A fence protects the shallow roots of the Sherman Tree. Please help us protect the tree by staying on the paved trail.
Rancho San Clemente Ridgeline Trail is a three and a half mile path for pedestrians, bicycles and dogs on leash. It has wide angle views of the coastline from Dana Point Headlands to the San Diego County beaches, along with broad vistas of inland hills, valleys and mountains in three counties. Trail surface is mostly asphalt, with some natural soil portions; it has several steep grades, but the majority is easy, long grades. There are six trail entrances: three are walk-in only and three entrances have parking nearby.
Also great for hiking or running…the hills are pretty demanding
An interpretive sign at the trailhead is seemingly intended to reduce visitors’ expectations, saying that the grove is Yosemite’s smallest and that it has “about 20 trees”. However, although it covers less area, Merced Grove actually has more sequoias than the nearby Tuolumne Grove. What’s more, Merced’s trees appear bigger and more varied, and its more open understory doesn’t obscure the trees. Adding to the grove’s advantages, the trail is dirt instead of paved, making the hike more enjoyable, and it doesn’t get nearly as many visitors. Finally, although the trailhead sign says to expect a 3- to 4-hour hike, it should be possible to hike to the grove and back in about half that time.
Olmsted Point, along the Tioga Road, looks down on Yosemite Valley from the east–and from a very different angle. Though you might not immediately recognize Half Dome, it is one of the most prominent peaks you can see from Olmsted Point. The Tioga Road is open to cars from late May or early June to sometime in November.
We only had one day to see the park again so we opted for a trail hike at Merced Grove and a drive along Tioga road to take in the breathtaking views on this beautiful fall day.
There was a small fire burning on the valley floor below…natural in origin we hope.