Bidwell Park again - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

November 18, 2020

Bidwell Park again

First, a geographical note.  It’s been noted that I’ve described the hills east of here as the start of the Cascades.  I did this because of a reference I found that described them as such, but it surprised me.  I’d been thinking this was the Sierra Nevada Range east of here, not the Cascades.   After all, I had this as evidence:

Probably Chico’s best known product. I should have included a small dish of almonds/ammons/ahmonds/armonds.
Heart 2 Comment 2
Jen GrumbyGBO looks very happy next to that bottle.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyYes. He’s even color coordinated! He did say though that he hopes he’ll get to see a bit more of California than this.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago

As it turns out, both are right.  The Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges both start just east of here.  According to this reference,  Big Chico Creek begins its 45 mile journey from a series of springs on Colby Mountain, at the interface between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Cascade Mountains.  

I had expected to sit out today entirely, but we’re pleasantly surprised to wake up to find an improved forecast for the day with a few gaps in the weather where we might get out for a short walk.  As we waited for the day to warm up the weather continued to improve, and by noon it turned quite pleasant.  I decide to explore Bidwell Park again, but with the bike this time, while Rachael opts for another walk.  When we both return later we compare workouts.  She walked 7.8 miles, with 200 feet of climbing.  Nice, but I nearly doubled her, at 14 miles!  Oh, wait - she’s on foot, I’m on wheels.  In my defense, I spent most of the time on dirt and rocky roads, and there was a lot to see.

Our neighborhood for our stay in Chico. We’re in a studio unit in the house on the corner.
Heart 2 Comment 0
In Lower Bidwell Park. There’s a paved road through most of this part of the park. No cars, very nice.
Heart 4 Comment 0
The bike paths are a nice alternative to the paved road. Reasonably smooth, an easy ride with a more intimate feel.
Heart 5 Comment 0
This end of the park is punctuated by old growth giants, like this oak. Note the bicycle at the base for scale.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I’m going to have to bone up on the oak trees here. Between leaf shape, trunk texture and acorn shape, there’s lots of information to work from.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanCould be a Valley Oak.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quercus_lobata
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Kathleen JonesThat's my vote.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
What’s your theory?
Heart 2 Comment 3
Bruce LellmanThe trunk looks a lot like an Oregon Oak of which there are some down there but if the previous photo shows the leaves and nuts from this tree then it's probably a Valley Oak, a really old one! I don't think Oregon Oaks have such long acorns.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYou get a gold star, Bruce. It’s a trick photo. Nothing said this trunk was of the previous tree. You’re surely right about the valley oak, a tree I haven’t heard of before. Probably right on this one too, although I didn’t actually look that closely at it. It just looked like a nice spot to lean the bike.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Bruce LellmanI love that some people still give out gold stars. Thank you.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
In Lower Bidwell Park.
Heart 1 Comment 0
In Lower Bidwell Park.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Most of my long ride was in the upper park, on unpaved roads and trails. I came to this fork and opted to explore the Annie Bidwell trail because the South Rim Trail starts with a steep climb up a deeply eroded slope. Outside my comfort zone.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The Annie Bidwell Trail has a somewhat spooky feel. Where the wild things are.
Heart 5 Comment 0
I didn’t follow this trail for too far. Once it narrowed down I started thinking about that warning sign and the fact that I’m here alone. It’s a windy day, and it wouldn’t do to get clobbered by a falling branch.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Backing up, I crossed the creek and followed Upper Park Road east and upstream. This is still part of Bidwell Park, protected, and barricaded to prevent cars.
Heart 3 Comment 0
On Upper Park Road. To the right is the east rim, where I was walking yesterday,
Heart 2 Comment 0
On Upper Park Road. The surface gradually coarsens as you continue east, but it’s never too bad - a mix of dirt, sand and smooth rocks.
Heart 2 Comment 0
It does have its hazards though. Sugar pines have the longest cones, but Coulter pines have the heaviest. The one on the ground is nearly the size of a grapefruit. Not a tree to linger beneath for long.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Still on Upper Park Road.
Heart 1 Comment 0
In Upper Bidwell Park.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I turned back here, at Bear Hole. There’s still more road ahead, but I was starting to wonder about the time.
Heart 2 Comment 0
First though, I stop to explore the creek for a bit. It’s in a narrow ravine here, cutting through walls of basalt.
Heart 4 Comment 0
I was surprised to see the remains of a small breached dam here. It was constructed in 1940 to divert water to Horseshoe Lake and irrigate the golf course. An excellent reason to impound a wild creek, I think you’d agree.
Heart 1 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanThe golf course probably drilled a well when the dam went away. An excellent reason to suck the aquifer dry, I think you'd agree.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanYes, but I imagine the ammon and walnut farmers think otherwise. If they have a claim to 10% of California’s total water utilization, they must be using 80% up in this region.
Reply to this comment
1 week ago

Today's ride: 14 miles (23 km)
Total: 14 miles (23 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 12
Comment on this entry Comment 0