Randall gets his introduction to California backpacking on an overnight on Redbud Trail in the Cache Creek Wilderness.
Just like I did last spring, we took Redbud Trail to the end of Wilson Valley where the meadow is bordered by Cache Creek.
Max elevation: 1434 ft
Min elevation: 922 ft
Total climbing: 1283 ft
the way in
We arrived at the parking area in the early afternoon and decided to have lunch at the picnic tables before setting off. After some delicious trail quesadillas, we set out on Redbud. the day was in the 70s and the sky was clear. It was perfect weather for hiking the hills. The views were impressive up on the first ridge but they didn’t last long as we descended toward Barlow Flat. There, we crossed the lower fork of Cache Creek. The water was predictably low, so there were plenty of rocks to aid in the crossing. From there it was up to the next ridge, which is covered in high, dense chaparral making it feel like a hallway in a maze. Then we made our way down toward Wilson Valley and across the stretch of meadow toward Cache Creek. It seemed the entire trail was blanketed on either side with all varieties of wildflowers!
We set up camp at the end of the meadow above the creek in a flat spot among some oaks. It wasn’t until we were half way to the trailhead that I’d realized I had forgotten to put my trekking poles in the car. The 7 mile hike didn’t necessitate having them, however the duplex tent does depend on them for its support. Without the poles, I had find some appropriately sized felled oak branches to fill the role of the trekking poles. Luckily a branch was easy to come by and the improvised supports were a success! We ate, hung out at camp, played Princess, and looked at the stars from the meadow for the rest of the evening before hopping into the tents for the night.
the way out
The morning brought with it a dense, eerie fog. Looking out, I couldn’t see the other side of the meadow or the trees that lined the creek that bordered it on the northeast side. It wasn’t long, though, before the sun came out and cleared up the day. After some breakfast and water filtering duties, we hit the trail back the way we’d come and by the mid-afternoon we were back at the car and off toward home.
Max elevation: 1588 ft
Min elevation: 1020 ft
Total climbing: 1312 ft
No permits/reservation needed
Parking can be limited by day hikers/horse trailers
Hunting is allowed, don’t get shot!