10/25/2008 – Cottonwood Meadows, Buck Lake

Date of Hike: 10/25/2008
Location of Hike: Cottonwood Meadows Trail, Rimrock Trail, Buck Lake Trail
Trail Number: 705, 704, 728
Weather during Hike: Sunny
Hiking Buddies: Just me, Bodie had a hurt foot
Start Time: 10:15 AM  End Time: 4:30 PM
Hike Distance: 11 miles or so  
Pictures: Link
Description of Hike:
After my experience a couple weeks ago on the Cottonwood Trail, I decided to go back and try the cross country route again. Last time, I went about halfway through the clearcut, and things didn’t “feel” right, so I turned around. When I got home and checked the GPS track, I was exactly where I should have been. This time, I was successful. I didn’t even need the GPS coordinates that were given to me to help navigate through the clearcut. I was very happy about being able to successfully navigate cross country. This was my first real test.

Once through the clearcut, picking up the trail on the other end wasn’t too difficult. I had to venture down the hill a bit before I saw the flagging, but once I saw it, it was easy to get the trail. I have to say, the southern part of that trail is an EXCELLENT trail. It has a fair amount of elevation change on it, but except for the very end, it is VERY well graded.

The trip through that part of the forest is absolutely beautiful! No really big trees, but some beautiful forest.

There were a couple of spots that had vine maple up and down the hill all blazed out in yellow with the sun shining through the trees. Other spots had moss covering the trail, and yet others had oregon grape growing about.

Once down at the southern end of the trail, I decided to hike down the 4635-120 spur to the “Collapsed bridge over Cot Creek” just to see what it looked like. Based on the construction of the bridge, it looks like that is a pretty old road. The bridge looks to have been collapsed for quite a few years, too. I had lunch there since it was a little after noon and it was a nice spot.

On the way home, I decided to check out the short Buck Lake trail. It is about a half mile into the lake, up a hill, but it was a rather interesting place.

There were a couple of cars at the trailhead, but I didn’t see the people when I was up at the lake, just their stuff. I was running late, so I didn’t hike around the lake, I just snapped some pictures. I may have to go back there any explore sometime.

All in all, a GREAT day. My only disappointment was when I hiked up the east end of the Rimrock trail, hoping to go up the viewpoint trail on Mt Mitchell. I had forgotten where the viewpoint trail junction was, and didn’t have time to go all the way up the trail, so I had to turn around and go back. That viewpoint would have been awesome on Saturday. The weather was pretty clear.

I can highly recommend the Cottowood Meadows trail. I’d love to get in there early in the season before the bugs. I would think that once the huckleberries and other ground cover start leafing up, and the meadows being very wet, it would be a little tougher to navigate the meadows, but I’m sure the diversity and color would be absolutely amazing.|}

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