From the main exit, where the main trail ends, I walked the short distance to the entrance or opening where Coyote Creek enters. The entrance is more spectacular than the exit. The exit opening is around eight feet in height. The entrance is at least 30 feet and the interior soars even higher. It is this section that most resembles a gothic cathedral. At the entrance, there are several large bedrock mortars, six inches in width and depth that indicate Native Americans were present long before the Europeans arrived.
Posts related to different hikes I have taken primarily in California and around Folsom Lake region. Pictures and maps
It is not uncommon to see ten or twenty mountain bike riders in a pack on the trails. Some are courteous to hikers, others just blow by you without a ring of a bell or a word of warning. For these people, hikers and horses are the invaders to their race track. They need to train for the next race. They need to go fast. They need a thrill of careening down a steep hill, regardless of who is at the bottom. The mountain bikers cutting new unauthorized trails down Mooney Ridge or digging a race course north of the lake are common vandals.
As the parent of an adult, you must resist the urge to scold or argue with your child. It is a matter of respect, like you would display with any friend or stranger. This was a point, a moment in time he would not be aware of, where I, his father, swallowed my parental superiority and engaged him as an equal. He calmly sat in the car awaiting my return. “It did not occur to you that after 90 minutes your father might be in distress?” “No,” he said, “You always hike slower than me.”
The first third of the hike is along relatively level ground until you reach Beeks Bight. Then you climb up the hillside that overlooks Folsom Lake. This portion can have some steep climbs for short distances. While the trail can wind far away from the lake at times, there are usually spots every half-mile or so to venture down to the water.
The Eureka Peak loop trail starts at the dam and goes up. There are great views of Eureka Lake at several places along the trail. Once at the peak, 7,447 feet, you can look into the valley below and see clear over to Grass Lake.
To get close to some of the larger waterfalls you will have to find a trail that will take you down the hill. Then you will have to push through some brush and willows to get stream-side. On my hike I encountered no mosquitoes and no rattlesnakes. It was really a nice, but short, hike. Within a span of 2 to 3 hours, you can see lots of waterfalls, spectacular mountain peaks, and a picturesque valley.
There is no record of when the last Native American camp ceased to exist in the Folsom Lake region. Many historians note that by 1853, most of the Native American population had dispersed, move south, died in conflicts with immigrant settlers, or died of disease. But there is no doubt that there was a thriving Native American population and culture along the north and south forks of the American River. Where Native Americans once ground acorns, skinned deer, or fashioned tools from local rocks, Folsom Lake visitors now fish, hike, ride horses, bikes, and have picnics.
What the house lacked in modern amenities, according to John, was more than made up for in the wild El Dorado County countryside that surrounded it. Fostered by the books John’s father read to him, his imagination blossomed and streams, fields, and hillsides were his land of adventure. There were whales to harpoon, witches to avoid, and Indian wars to recreate. By virtue of being an only child, John was forced out into the sunshine and fresh air to create his own daily entertainment.
After my son took a geology course in his freshman year at Williams College, he wanted to see the volcano on Hawaii. So we planned a short little trip over the 2016 Christmas holiday. This was only my third trip to the island chain and I came away even more unimpressed about Hawaii than on previous trips.
It can be a difficult task to locate the faint outlines of the Negro Hill Ditch which is usually under water at Folsom Lake. But when the lake is low enough it’s possible to find the old grade and structures associated with the historic water canal that ran from east of Salmon Falls down to Negro Hill and Massachusetts Flat. In the autumn of 2016 I was able to complete my goal of walking along most of the Negro Hill Ditch.