Spring Has Sprung on Hite Cove Trail

March 16, 2013
Hite Cove Trail
Total distance: 4.5 miles

It felt wonderful to be out hiking again after hibernating at home all winter.  Today’s walk in the sun was a blessing.  It lifted my spirits and reddened my scalp since I forgot my hat at home.

Happy to be here.

Happy to be here.

At the trailhead.

At the trailhead.

On our first spring hike of the year, Mary Elizabeth and I walked the narrow path up and down the hills above the south fork of the Merced River.  We could hear the water as it scurried along scouring the boulders smooth.

On the narrow trail.

On the narrow trail.

It was evident by the number of photographers on the trail that word is out: the flowers are here!

The golden hillside.

The golden hillside.

Even though it’s not yet spring, many varieties of wildflowers flanked the trail offering a kaleidoscope of colors.

Blue Dick

Blue Dick

Shooting Stars

Shooting Stars

Baby Blue-Eyes

Baby Blue-Eyes

Red Maid

Red Maid

Greenleaf Manzanita

Greenleaf Manzanita

Waterfall Buttercup

Popcorn flowers.

Popcorn flowers.

But the poppies were the stars of the show.   This year’s colorful exhibition is early, possibly due to the warm weather.

Poppies were everywhere.

Poppies were everywhere.

Waiting for the morning sun.

Waiting for the morning sun.

The trail through the poppy covered hillside.

The trail through the poppy-covered hillside.

A slight breeze cooled us and the echo of a woodpecker’s knock could be heard in the distance.  The tread was loose as the trail rose above the river hugging the hillside.  There were some spots where the drop-off was sheer.

Even the poppy-colored lichen-covered rocks got into the spirit of the occasion.

Even the colorful lichen was in the spirit of the occasion.

The walk to the cove–an abandoned mining settlement–was 4 1/2 miles.  We meandered along descending rough and jagged steps until we reached the water’s edge, then turned back.  Our only goal was to see the flowers which were prevalent during the first two miles of trail.

At the roiling river.

At the roiling river.

After the hike, we headed down the road to Briceburg Canyon, walked over the wooden bridge and down to the sandy beach of the north fork of the Merced River.  There on the bank we panned for gold.  Although panning is the simplest way to extract gold, it is a pain in the neck (the knees and the back as well).  We spent two hours digging, sifting, then swishing watery sand around our pans to no avail.  “Prospector” Mary caught a few shiny specks, but the jury is out on whether or not it was Fool’s Gold–pyrite.

Step 1: Get the good dirt.

Step 1: Get the good dirt.

Step 2: Sift out the large rocks.

Step 2: Sift out the large rocks.

Step 3: Place sifted dirt into pan.

Step 3: Place sifted dirt into pan.

Step 4: Swish, swirl and separate.

Step 4: Swish, swirl and separate.

We had fun panning for the precious metal, and laughed when Mary fell into the cold water.  (Two weeks ago it was not a laughing matter when she fell backwards, hit her head on a rock and ended up in the emergency room.)

If you're lucky, you'll find some gold.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find some gold.  I did not.

Today was a picturesque start to what I hope will be an invigorating hiking season.  Until next time…

Happy Trails!

13 thoughts on “Spring Has Sprung on Hite Cove Trail

  1. Kathy

    Janet, I am so envious of your spring. Having thus admitted, it was nice to see pics of you! And, surprisingly, I have just been looking through old photos in my file of my visit to Mariposa. Ahhh…you do live in Paradise.

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  2. DDAVISJ@aol.com

    GREAT PHOTOS!!! Love remembering our TIME with you and the “trek” into the park. Our two “token photos” hand in our master bedroom!!! Another Little Note from The Dorie! 🙂

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  3. Dad

    Janet,
    It’s good to have you back on the trails again and you picked a really GREAT day to start the season. I’ve missed your blogs.
    Dad

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