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trip report-bradford ridge-friday march 1, 2013

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March 02, 2013 11:37AM
Headed to the springs today via the Bradford Ridge trail again. As per Julian Kaye’s post from yesterday, it does take just a little bit less time to reach the trailhead this way for those coming from LA. You will spend more time on the trail however, at least an hour each way with intense descent and climb involved. Which I like. I am now extremely sore sitting at home, every muscle in my legs and butt killing me, but in a good way. I also like the drive up into the mountains and through the mountain communities of Twin Peaks, Grass Valley, and the gorgeous area through which 173 cuts at the end to the trailhead.

I got there as early as I could, arriving around 8 am. There were already three cars parked along the road, and a young couple with their tiny dog heading down the trail. I got myself and my dog ready, and headed down the trail about ten minutes after them. At one point, rounding a bend, I caught sight of them up ahead and thought I was gaining on them, but old-man that I’m becoming, I never saw them again until I began my descent at hike’s end...they were on the PCT arriving at the springs, way ahead of me. Kicked my butt I’d say time-wise, when I reached the springs after an hour and ten minute hike, they were already dozing in hammocks they had strung up in the grassy area.

The trail was otherwise quiet all the way in. Passed or saw no one. Heard nothing. Just me and the dog. There is quite a bit of snow and mud on the early sections of the trail, on any of the shadowed sides of the hills. Be careful on these bits, slipping seems pretty easy to accomplish. The hike out later in the day was much muddier still given the melt with the temperatures this weekend.

At the moment of descent I took the “easier” way down (see my thread from a few weeks ago on the BR trail). As opposed to going right just before the barbed wire fence (the Family Canyon route). I took the longer way down the ridge-line, the way now marked by some lovely person with a trail marker in the shape of a heart made of stones, with an arrow a la Valentine pointing the way to the right just AFTER the barbed wire fence. It is definitely still a steep and sometimes tricky descent--make sure you have really good shoes with traction--but not as insane as the other way.

Arrived at the springs around 9:15 am. There were about 5-6 people already there. I had the Anniversary pool to myself for the early morning, the others were mostly in the Womb or the Arizona pools. It was a beautiful day in terms of weather, up in the 70s by the afternoon - only marred by a persistent wind that made you feel a bit cold even then if you weren’t in the spring waters. The crowd matched the beautiful day. By noon, I counted around 14 people, all were nude with the exception of only two or maybe three people. By the later afternoon, there were over 20 people, and really everyone was nude. Rare thing these days and much fun. There were plenty of regulars I see there all the time, there were college kids from Pepperdine on spring break, there were German nudists with their little kid, there were yoga-doers and sun-saluters from Orange County, there was a lot of “medicine” in the air. My dog had the time of her life--her first time out there--and three other dog companions all of whom had fun and were (in my opinion) well-behaved. Chasing the family of three ducks swimming near the Arizona pool was a prime activity for the dogs later in the afternoon.

Met some old-timers in the Anniversary pool who said they had been coming since ’69, and helped build the pools. And are working on building others and reforesting throughout the area?

The stream is still ice-cold of course, but the sight of the yoga doers swimming in it after soaking in the Arizona pool--making their way across the stream to the sunning rocks, doing yoga there and then swimming back--got up my courage. I periodically soaked hard in the Arizona pool then hit the stream water, going under all the way for about a millisecond -- it was a real shock but felt great to do.

One of the guy yogis spent some time in the morning cleaning the entire area, gather a large bag of trash. Nice to see, nice people. I took what I could when I packed up around 3 pm. Hard to leave, definitely some folk would be staying the night it seemed, or the whole weekend given the weather. Envious. Definitely some were camping up at Bowen from conversation in the pools. A lot of people it seems had used the Bradford ridge way -- also judging from conversations. Hiked up the “less intense” ridge-line. Almost missed the turn up the grade from the PCT, a guy behind me yelled out to me not to miss it. Hiked up and up and up, following my indefatigable dog, even she was incredulous by the end and she’s half a mountain goat. It took me a good 90 minutes to hike back to the car. I was enjoying the scenery and taking some photos and having a snack now and then. But regretting, just a little bit, indulging in the beers I brought with me and chilled in the icy creek. You want to be at your best to conquer this climb and trail. When I got back to the trailhead, there were 8 cars parked on 173. Indeed it was a busy but happy day at the springs. Props to all the naturists who keep the place beautiful and a treasure of a place. It was “our” place on Friday, March 1 - DCHS the way it should always be.

Can’t wait to return.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/02/2013 11:42AM by neogeo.
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trip report-bradford ridge-friday march 1, 2013

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