Get outdoors with waterfalls & wildflowers this spring
WHAT: Exploring Spenceville
WHEN: Sunday, March 24, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
LENGTH: 6 – 8 miles
DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Challenging (depending on skill level)
Elevation: 300 – 600 feet
Just in time for spring, Hiking For Good is offering two special field trips in March that explore Northern California’s rich history and biodiversity, wildflowers and waterfalls while giving back to a local nonprofit.
Local archaeologist Hank Meals will lead a six to eight mile walk at Spenceville Wildlife Area to Fairy Falls and beyond on Sunday, March 24. On March 30, California Naturalist Steve Roddy and friends will lead a three mile “saunter” at Table Mountain to view the wildflower display and visit Coal Canyon Falls (sometimes called Phantom Falls).
A percentage of proceeds will be donated to the local Nevada County-based Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and their ongoing efforts to protect plant communities of special concern.
“Do you want to get outdoors, connect with the wild, and meet interesting people? Hiking For Good offers an array of day hikes and backpacking trips for folks of all ages, abilities and interests,” said hiking guide Laura Petersen who founded Hiking For Good last summer while training to hike the 190-mile Tahoe Rim Trail around Lake Tahoe.
“Together we’ll go to beautiful places, immerse ourselves in the natural world to learn and discover, make new friends and reap the health benefits of walking.”
Since then, Hiking For Good has teamed up with Outlandish Experiences to offer a full spectrum of outings all year long.
“Hank Meals has been the steadiest, longest, hands and feet-on student and admirer of the Northern Sierra / Yuba River watersheds’ ridges and canyons and forests in many centuries. A living scholar-worker-poet of overview and underbrush, he’s creating a new way of getting to know nature from inside,” said Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and friend.
Spenceville Recreation Area is the largest publicly owned tract of blue oak – gray pine woodland habitat in the North Central Sierra foothills. It contains 11,942 acres, extending 10 miles from north to south and up to 4.5 miles east to west. Straddling the western boundary of Nevada County and the eastern boundary of Yuba County, the wildlife area is bordered on the west by Beale Air Force Base and on the north, south and east by privately owned ranches and parcels.
Managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Spenceville is located within the Dry Creek drainage, which joins the Bear River near Wheatland. There are numerous ponds, creeks, trails and riparian zones. This special place of rolling hills under a big sky offers lots of trails with little climbing.
“We are very fortunate to have access to low elevation blue oak habitat in rolling hills, especially beautiful in late winter and spring. Most of this kind of landscape in California has been converted into housing tracts,” said Meals.
The recreation area is rich with evidence of human history – Nisenan, early townsites, important transportation corridors and the Beale legacy. Plan on getting away from it all with wild viewsheds that resemble what California used to look like.
Meal’s Yuba Trails & Tales Series, exclusive to Hiking For Good & Outlandish Experiences, will explore different cultural landscapes at different elevations within the Yuba, Bear and American River Watersheds throughout 2019. Meals is known for his extensive and intimate knowledge of his habitat. A prolific writer and author of several books on hiking trails in the Yuba Watershed, Meals shares information, stories and discoveries about the topography, natural history and culture of the Yuba River basin in the Sierra Nevada of California. Read his blog at: yubatreadhead.blogspot.com.
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