It had been six years since I last walked this stretch of trail. The first time I found myself hear was 10 months removed from a landscape-altering fire. It was more black and white in 2009–with only intact forest and burned forest. In areas where the trail burned, so had the undergrowth. My first hike here was smooth sailing along the Devil’s Hole Ridge–but not in 2015. Ceanothus, manzanita, and an assortment of bunch grasses have, over 6 years, swarmed the understory in a successional race for dominance. Match-stick conglomerations of downed trees cover sections of trail now, having bent and ultimately fallen, with winter winds. This made the trail, in several stretches, nearly impossible to find. I’ve updated the route description to reflect these changes since I first wrote this in 2009. As I slogged along and sliced my shins, I was thankful for my time here, for my experiences of place, for having experienced this landscape in two dynamic phases.
Last summer it appears the Mendocino worked on stretches of trail in Section 1 but not in the initial stretches of Section 2, while the Shasta-Trinity worked on the trail from Powell Ridge Trial to Devil’s Creek Spring. Inbetween, one must follow the ridge where the trail has disappeared. Working to get these unmaintained stretches in better order will be a primary focus for the Bigfoot Trail Alliance once we have our feet under us and MOUs in place with the Mendocino and Shasta-Trinity National forest.
Enjoy the images that follow from section 1 and 2 along the trail.