A Hiking Stay-cation, August 2008

I took a week off of work to take the girls on a “vacation” since school starts was about to start again. But we were tapped-out so a big trip like last year was out of the question

We decided to keep it easy this year and went up to stay in my Grandparents' old house in Grass Valley.

We got there on Saturday and went to the Nevada County Fair with my parents, my sister, her husband, and her three-year-old son, Lucian. The girls are always so nice to their young cousin and he was ecstatic to be spending time with them. We had lunch, visited some of my mom's relatives that were showing animals (including one recent high-school grad who's steer won the “Grand Champion” award), and then the girls rode the kiddy-rides with Lucian for a while. After he went home, they moved up to more adult rides for another hour or so. We ended the day back at the house with everyone having a barbecue before they all went home and we stayed for a couple of days.

I had picked up a new book about hikes around Sacramento and we decided to pack up lunches, get out, and try a couple of simple ones. First, we went to the hills around The Empire Mine. We followed the map and hiked through a really beautiful little area with a stream and then WAY up a mountain and back down.

The next day we drove further up Highway 49 and tried out Independence Trail. This one is listed as the first “wheelchair accessible wilderness trail.” It was beautiful. They converted a couple of miles of an old water-flume into a trail. It's wide and level and has a couple of outhouses dotted along the way. There was a stunning view of the Yuba river from where the flume passed through a side-gorge.

For the final hike, we decided that we wanted to spend some time playing in water. We went to Bridgeport (just outside of Penn Valley and less than 20 minutes from Grass Valley). The trail started at “the longest single-span truss-and-arch covered bridge in America.” The girls thought it was pretty neat. We followed the trail a mile down the South Yuba River to a nice little picnic area where it meets a lake. At that point, the water was shallow, slow, and warm and the girls and I spent a couple of hours relaxing in the water and playing on a sand-bar; collecting rocks and making sand castles.

Amelia (on right)
and sheep
Carousel or
She won this!
Creek at
Empire Mine
Walking on the
Flume-minder's trail
View from
Independence Trail
Eric the pack-mule
Lunch Break
Flumes to the creek
Heading back
Inside the bridge
Sand Bar time
Helping cross
the Yuba River
Nat's Sand-fort
Another view of
the bridge
Girls peaking out
Tired kid #1
Tired kid #2

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