At times Big Chico Creek is rushing along the Annie Bidwell Trail, other times it is calm. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Green. That was the significant difference two weeks made.

My first trek on the Annie Bidwell Trail in Upper Bidwell Park came Oct. 22 with the Chico Oroville Outdoor Adventurers group. The dusk hike was an opportunity to stretch our legs for an hour after being cooped up because of the rain.

Looking toward the burn scar of the North Rim of Bidwell Park on Oct. 22, left, and then on Nov. 5. (Images: Kathryn Reed)

Two weeks later the excursion was with a friend from out of town, with the idea of seeing part of Bidwell Park she had not explored and to go a bit farther than I had before.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how dramatically different the landscape looked. Oh, the power of Mother Nature.

Rain and sun are making for the greening along paths, the meadows and on the burn scar in the park from last summer’s fire.

Big Chico Creek runs through Upper Bidwell Park. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Sometimes it is easy to take these changes in the landscape for granted. We expect the greening of hillsides in Northern California in the winter. How glorious to have it occur in early fall after two years of drought.

This trek has a variety of scenic elements. Starting off it was something out of Harry Potter with the dead looking trees making a canopy of sorts that seemed a bit other worldly. It’s not long before Big Chico Creek comes into view with a multitude of deciduous trees showing off their fall colors. There is a point where it’s easy to get closer to the canyon walls of the creek that are coarse basalt. From there the trail opens up with broader views of hillsides beginning to green.

Rain and sun are turning the terrain green. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

While mountain bikers are welcome here, it’s not a trail I would do. But that is not saying much.

The trail is mostly single track, with gradual ups and downs along the way. None of it was strenuous, though the rocks embedded in the dirt required paying attention. The longer hike was 5 miles, with 562 feet of elevation gain. Our lowest point was 299 feet, with the highest 509 feet. Both treks were an out and back.

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