This morning we set off with our pal, Brad Coffey, on our traditional Fourth of July Hike. The only criteria is that we've gotta try a new trail where we've never hiked before.
Brad suggested Corbly Creek Gulch in the Springhill area. To get to the trailhead it's a slow slog on a deeply rutted, bumpy dirt road in 4 wheel drive.
Once we exit the old Tahoe, the air smells fresh and wild --the sweet aroma of blue-violet lupines--and the only accompanying sound is the rushing creek.
We start at 5,480' altitude in the parking lot and hike up-up-up. On our way up to the top, we have to ford Corbly Creek. At the crossing, the creek is running wild and free and deep, and the stepping stones--the only way across--are slick, slimy and slippery. Even with hiking sticks for balance, this feels scary and precarious. Ed and I are both glad to have Brad's assistance.
We've been hiking with Brad for years, and especially on the Fourth of July. Brad Coffey is a maniac athlete, and I say this with great affection and admiration. At 59, he thinks nothing of still suiting up and biking 4-5 days a week, 20-40 miles.
We encounter masses of windflowers alongside the trail--queen Ann's lace, yarrow, daisies--and very few people--a couple of bicyclists, two other hikers. At the peak at more than 8,000 feet, with breathtaking views of the mountains and the valley, we stop for treats--dried coconut, apple slices, blueberries, a tangerine, some salad almonds.
Almost five hours later, we've hiked over 8 miles and we are at our limit. By the time we reach the parking lot we're grateful the hike is over. Usually after our Fourth of July Hike we go directly to Ted's for our reward--the strawberry shortcake, the french fries, the white wine for me, the martini for Ed. Today we're going home first. Later for our favorite treats.