Bummed on the Berms...
Of the Seven trails that access the high ridgetop in the Sacramento Mountains, the shortest and nastiest is Trail 235. This abandoned jeep road was some off roader's dream drop down the mountain. It feels, and looks as if some crazed bulldozer driver ploughed headlong down the hill, ignoring any idea of even grading... and adding into the mix a very twisted emphasis on drainage control: every 10 to 50 yds he'd plow up a berm... two to four feet of dirt as viewed from the uphill side, but from the downhill side a virtual wall, doubling the effective steepness for that portion of the climb. This trail averages over 1000' per mile, and that is not divided out evenly. The top half is pretty much twice as steep as the bottom half. So, figure 600' to 700' per mile in the lower sections, then 1200' to 1300' per mile grade in the upper reaches. Now, enjoy the bermed areas doubling that steepness for extra little hits 40 or 50 times over the course of the hike. It is steep enough to glissade down the hill in the steeper areas, assuming you are not already sliding and falling unintentionally. The old road surface is often loose and sharp gravel in the ping-pong ball to baseball size variety... adding to the footing challenge.
The 1600' of Accumulated elevation gain comes from the few extra hundred feet you score from those little berms and a few ravine dips. Erosion is beginning to remove the effects of some of the berming in the higher sections. The trail might wash down to being just nasty in another twenty years, instead of the extra nasty it holds firmly to at this time.
The Sacramento mountain trails do not really offer a broad sense of variety in the upper reaches. You are hiking under pretty much constant pine tree canopy. Other than to experience the oddness of this trail there is no good reason to recommend it... the local hiking guidebook phrases it kindly: "... This is one of the few trails where walking it once is probably adequate!"
Then again... there is another consideration: if you desire the benefits of the training effect available. This trail offers nonstop, high quality challenges to balance, strength, endurance. You will likely never meet another hiker on it, so it does also provide some nice solitude.
I am not an advocate of hiking poles, but I do dig mine out for this trail. They can usually reduce the falling to one or two per trip.
If the weather threatens rain I strongly suggest staying away from this trail. My first experience hiking up it was in a freezing rain downpour. There was a gully of water flowing down the deeply cut middle, and the entire trail surface was turned into a slide. I spent as much time sliding backwards as I dedicated to moving up the hill. That first climb took me two hours to cover the 1.4 miles... normally easily covered in less than an hour.
Access to either end of the trail is remote, but the drives typically allow for lots of deer, elk and wild turkey viewing.
A nice loop hike can be created by combining this trail section with San Andreas Canyon Trail (T125)...
Check out the Official Route.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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