Sunday, September 15, 2013
Hike 2013.046: Aspen Grove to Fish Creek Meadows
In the meantime, this is just not my year for hiking. I scheduled Friday off a few weeks back, with the intent of going on a hike. And, obviously, I did. But I kept it short, 'cause I was feeling pretty lousy. I've spent the last three days mostly laying down, trying to get over this cold before the work week starts.
It's about a month too early for this hike, but I wanted to scout the area ahead of time, to see what might have changed in the three years since I was last here.
Today, I got myself a Wilderness permit so that I would be legally allowed to hike beyond the aspen grove. Without a Wilderness permit, you are technically in violation of the law to be standing in the aspen grove, though it appears they have no problem with allowing people to proceed to the grove without a permit.
Also, unlike two years ago, you no longer require an Adventure Pass to park at the Aspen Grove trailhead.
The more obvious alternative is just at the split of 1N05 from 1N02. A signed marker for the Santa Ana River Trail is there. After a half-mile heading west on the Santa Ana River Trail, you'd turn left, on to the equestrian trail, and take that another 1/2 mile southwest, to the Aspen Grove Trail. There's also an unsigned but perhaps reasonably easy to identify equestrian trail that crosses 1N02, about 1/4 before the 1N05/1N02 split. This latter trail connects the equestrian campground with with trail to the aspen grove. Both trails are shown on the little half-page handout for the Aspen Grove Trail that they have at the visitor center, so I assume they mean this to be the alternative for folks who don't want to take their cars off-pavement. I did not actually walk those trails this day, however.
As of Friday (September 13), the aspen had no hint of yellow, so I assume peak color is at least three weeks away (depending on weather, of course). I intend to make a return trip in 3-4 weeks.
Because I was not expecting the aspen to be in color yet, I intended to hike a bit further along the trail today. I picked as my destination "Fish Creek Meadows," because it would give me a just over 2 miles of distance for the day, and seemed to hold some promise for scenery.
It was pleasantly cooler at the 8,000 foot level than it was down in town, so it was a pleasant, if too short, break from city life.