June 17-19, 2016
Same as ever: parked at the South Yuba trail backpackers’ parking lot and took the trail in to the primitive site.
the way in – Day 1
We met outside of Nevada City on Friday morning and caravanned toward the Yuba, crossing the old wooden bridge and going up the dirt road. After parking and starting our hike, we realized we’d forgotten to pack fuel for the stove. So it was back to the car and a quick shot back to Grass Valley to pick some up. Carlos didn’t approve of how fast I drove on those back roads, but we made it back in one piece.
After getting back to the trailhead, it was a quick hike in to the campsite. When we got there, we dropped our packs and headed down to the river to relax. The water was still too cold to be comfortable for longer than a quick dunk, so instead of swimming we sat against the rocks along the bank and dosed. The peaceful riverside afternoon was interrupted suddenly by a loud rattling very close to us. Turning and jumping out of the way, we saw it: a long, thick rattle snake slithering out from right underneath where we’d been sitting. The snake checked out our water bottles a bit before making its way toward other parts of the beach. Luckily, we’d gotten out of the way without any closer interaction than we’d already had.
Since in all the years we’ve been visiting the Yuba, we’d never ventured down the trail past the campsite, we decided to use this day to do just that. The trail climbs back up the side of the ridge after leaving the campsite. From there it dips up and down a bit, but never comes back all the way down to the river, at least in the mile and a half or so we walked. There was one side trail marked by a mining claim sign that looks like it would make it down to the riverbank, but it was completely blocked by deadfall. The way around was guarded by a healthy growth of poison oak, so we decided against wading through it.
On the other side of the river, about a mile or so from the campsite, there was a small structure of some sort and a few nice camping spots. There seemed to be a trail leading to them, but I’m not sure how to get to it. Perhaps sometime in the future, I’ll investigate and find a new favorite spot along this beautiful river.
After our exploration, we headed back to the campsite and spent the rest of the day by the river. We both took a quick in-and-out dunk in the frigid water. After that, we went to take a look at the hoards of ladybugs we’d seen as we walked between the river and the campsite. There were millions of them coating the rocks, trees, and bushes along one part of the riverbank. I’m not sure what they were up to, but it was incredible to see them in such numbers. After that, I sat along the river reading while Carlos explored up and down the bank.
Before long the afternoon had passed into evening and we decided to brave the clouds of mosquitoes and make a campfire up at the site. We did get swarmed while building up the fire, but as soon as it was going, the smoke drove the bloodthirsty masses away from us. After the fire burned itself out, it was into the tent and to sleep.
the way out
We decided to pack up and hit the trail early and without much of a breakfast. Once we got back to the car, we drove into Nevada City for a hearty breakfast at the diner there. After that, we parted ways and headed home.