Hankering for a hike? — Get outdoors with Bear Yuba Land Trust and archeologist Hank Meals in the High Country | TheUnion.com

Hankering for a hike? — Get outdoors with Bear Yuba Land Trust and archeologist Hank Meals in the High Country

Submitted to The Union

Bear Yuba Land Trust and local hiking author/archaeologist Hank Meals will be leading a thrilling adventure exploring protected lands in the Lindsey Lakes area in the Northern portion of the Grouse Ridge Roadless Area.

Characterized as "a scenic slog" hikers will venture by foot to the divide between Texas Creek and the South Fork of Canyon Creek. This challenging outing designed for experienced hikers includes views of at least six lakes and a peak, including Lindsey (upper and lower), Culbertson, Penner and Rock Lakes (upper and lower) plus a climb to the top of Snort Hill.

From Lower Rock Lake (elevation 6622 feet), the off-trail scramble to the top of Snort Hill (elevation 6852 feet) is a 642 foot climb, but feels like more.

"Snort Hill does not appear on the USGS Quad Map, but it's called that on an 1870 map of the water resources in the upper Canyon Creek drainage," Meals said. "Why throw away such an appropriate name? There are few trees for shade, angular rock footing and slow going. However the views get better with each step. Once on top there are tremendous views in all directions."

From there, hikers will drop 400 feet down to the ridge dividing Penner and Culberson Lakes, walking the west, south and east sides of Penner Lake. From there the group will pick up the Crooked Lakes Trail to the Lindsey Lakes trail intersection on the east side of Upper Rock Lake and proceed southwesterly to Lindsey Lakes.

"We're looking at lakes and reservoirs along the South Fork of Canyon Creek and Texas Creek, a tributary of Canyon Creek," Meals said. "Canyon Creek joins the South Yuba about three miles upstream from the town of Washington. The traditional land use themes in this area are water management and recreation. The reservoirs and water conveyance systems were originally created for mining then were used for hydroelectricity and irrigation. It sounds boring but it's actually fascinating."

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Bear Yuba Land Trust has entered into conservation easement agreements on PG&E lands surrounding reservoirs that provide water to much of the state, most recently 857 acres around Lindsey Lakes where Hank will lead his Trek. This is good news for people who care about protecting wildlife habitat, water quality and healthy forests from future development.

In addition, BYLT's mission is to permanently stop landscape fragmentation, initiate forest stewardship, ensure continued public recreational uses and conserve critical lands which will provide resiliency in the face of climate change.

"The work we are doing to provide permanent protection of our headwaters is so important. These lands capture the water that supplies our households, businesses and local agriculture. We all depend on a healthy watershed to survive and thrive," said co-ED Erin Tarr.

Hank Meals worked as an archaeologist for 25 years, including 12 years with the Tahoe National Forest. His resume includes photojournalism, tree planting, firefighting, trail construction, seed-cone gathering, wildlife habitat improvement, archaeology, trail guide and interpretation.

He is the author of several books about trails: "The River: Hiking Trails and History of the South Fork of the Yuba River" and "Yuba Trails" 1 and 2. Meals has led hikes for BYLT for nearly three decades and his knowledge of local history and trails remain popular draws.

Founded in 1990, Bear Yuba Land Trust is a private, non-profit, membership-supported group promoting voluntary conservation of the region's natural, historical and agricultural resources in the Bear and Yuba watersheds of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and foothills. BYLT is on track to double its conservation footprint from 15,000 to 30,000 acres in the next five years.

BYLT saves land, builds trails and offers programs to get people outdoors and encounter nature — today, tomorrow and forever.

Learn more, register for this hike, and become a member at BYLT.org.

Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Hiking in the High Country with Hank Meals

WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday, July 21

WHERE: Meet at Nevada County Government (Rood) Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City

DIFFICULTY: Challenging, for experienced hikers only

LENGTH: 10 miles

TIME: 6-8 hours, dependent on pace and endurance of hikers

ELEVATION GAIN: 1,100 feet

TERRAIN: Trail tread is a combination of private (picturesque) dirt road and Forest Service trail, 20 percent off-trail and off-road on rugged and rocky terrain.

COST: $30 Members, $40 Not-Yet-Members