Monday, June 14, 2010

Riley Wilderness Park Hike

Jenn and I started our Summer Hiking series this weekend with a hike in the Riley Wilderness Park near Cota De Coza. This park was located about a mile away from where our friend Shelby got married last year. We had no idea it was so close until we got closer and closer and noticed that so that was kinda cool.

This park was pretty secluded and we didn't see but a handful of people. We went on Saturday morning and the weather was still pretty gloomy as the sun had not burst through for the day yet. That actually probably kept it cooler for us which was a good thing. The hike we started on was the Mule Deer Trail. Elevation tops out at 450 feet and although it was a gradual elevation you could definitely tell we were hiking "up". haha. The first portion of the hike took us through weeds, brush, and flowers with trees alongside. The view wasn't all that scenic but would be so a few minutes in. About 0.3 miles in we started to gradually hike upwards and more flowers and tree's surrounded us, some cacti or cactus whichever you'd like to call it. The curvy portion of the hike was easily the most scenic regarding plants and trees but once we reached the top of Vista Ridge Trail there was easily plenty of sights to see as well, unfortunately mostly homes but some wilderness aspects around as well just not as much as I had hoped.

Once at the of this trail we descended down, a little steep at times to the bottom and I would say the entire downhill stretch was probably approx. 1 mile long and although not that strenuous the entire stretch was downhill so a little rougher on the knees. I was hoping to see a few more animals out and about but I have a feeling most are more present during the early morning hours. This park was one of the ones that deer frequented quite a bit and they have several bobcats and mountain lions as well but we didn't see any of them. For clarification I wasn't "hoping" to see any bobcats or mountain lions but from a distance it would have been pretty cool. We did however see a few squirrels and one small lizard, pretty much the basic animals you would see on a hike.

All in all the hike was 2.5 miles long (per the park ranger) and it took us 43 minutes. Not too bad considering we stopped a couple of times for water and to look at a few signs along the way. I would say this was a nice park to hike at but I'm definitely look forward to future hikes that may afford us more satisfying views and adventures throughout the hike however for a first hike of the summer it was great and gives us a good starting point to judge on what we can challenge our self with next week. I have added a few pictures from the hike and the map of the trail we went on with my handy "paint" work highlighting in red where we went.

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