Getting out on the trail

posted Mar 21, 2010, 9:47 PM by Paul Wagner   [ updated Mar 20, 2016, 8:37 PM ]
This past weekend we couldn't stay indoors another day, so we headed out on Friday morning to the Hite Cove trail in the SIerra National Forest.   We'd read about this trail, because it's famous for its wildflowers.  But it's also only about 1800 feet in elevation, so we were sure we wouldn't get snowed in!  
 The trail leaves from Savage's Trading Post off Highway 140, between Mariposa and Yosemite, which is just past the one-lane section they still haven't completely fixed after the big rock slide.  After maybe 100 yards of climbing to get up on the slope, the trail follows the South Fork of the Merced River about 4.5 miles into an old mining camp on the river.  There are some nice views up and down the river, and during fishing season this must be more fun--the river has some beautiful pools.
But the real spectacle was the wildflowers.  Unbelieveable concentrations of poppies, sometimes looking like bright orange frosting layered over the rocks.  And not just poppies--we didn't bring our wildflower book, so can't list them all, be we counted at least ten different kinds of flowers...and on the way out, more than 40 California newts, all looking for love on the trail.  
We hiked this on Friday, so we missed most of the heaving traffic.  We saw about ten people as we hiked in--and they were all on their way out.  We had the campsite and old mining equipment to ourselves for the evening.  And on the way out, we saw crowds heading up the trail...but by that time we were on our way home...and into Yosemite for a little sight-seeing in the spring. 
The photos don't do the hike justice.  Simply stunning!