Ascending from the foggy parking lot, it didn’t take long before we were above the grayness. Remarkably, though, it was that layer of fog that created some of the most stunning scenery.
While thick in the canyon within Upper Bidwell Park in Chico, the fog became wispier at the sun burned through that watery mist. The filtered sunlight, the backlit oak trees—it all added to the delightful mid-November hike.
In some places it was like a moonscape with the basalt rock scattered about the landscape. Only the rocks were strewn about on fresh green grass from the early November rains instead of barren ground.
The route we took under the guidance of a Chico Orville Outdoor Adventurers leader is not one I would have done on my own. This is because to me it looked like the North Rim Trail ended and we were going to have to retrace our steps.
Over the edge we went. Yes, there really was a trail there that was not well traversed. All the better to feel like we were exploring a bit.
Before we got to that point we had some fantastic views of the park, into the lush city-owned Sycamore Canyon, and way beyond to the snow covered Trinity Alps.
Much of the North Rim Trail is wide enough to walk two abreast. Remnants of last summer’s fire are still visible.
Along the circuitous route we saw buckeye, live oak, pines, and wispy pipestem clematis.
We did bushwhack a bit between North Rim and B trails, but not much. Then we hooked up with Middle Trail, before finishing the trek back to the Horseshoe Lake parking area via Yahi Trail, which parallels Big Chico Creek.
It was a glorious day to be hiking in our “back yard” with some fall color still apparent and the winter greening just beginning.
By the end of the day we had logged 8.51 miles, with an elevation gain of 1,156 feet. Our lowest point was 304 feet and highest was 1,350 feet.