Friday, January 21, 2011

Trails of Black Butte Lake, Orland, California

The weather forecast said sunny skies and 65 degrees for the next week at the lake.  So we decided to stay for another three days and depart on Sunday.  The weather has been perfect and there are lots of trails to hike in the area.  The Grizzly Flat Area at the south end of the "project" has the longest most interesting trails.  Here trails follow Stony Creek and the uplands just above the creek.
This is the view from the north side trailhead.  It had three horse trailers in it so it is popular with horse riders.  However, what caught my attention was this palm tree.  Now palm trees are not native to northern California.   Remember the previous post on the Art of Seeing in the Outdoors?  Well, the palm tree could only mean one thing. That this was a homesite in years past.  A short stroll over to the tree revealed a foundation and old rusty wood stove.

I suspect there is a story behind the palm tree.  Maybe a homesick southern Californian that moved up to Grizzly Flat or perhaps it was a gift from a visitor.  I suppose the true story is lost in the mists of time.

But as we hiked the trails we found more stories just a compelling from the recent past.  These came complete with dates.

The sign indicated that this spot was special to both father and son.  The son died well before his time at the age of twenty-four. 

This memorial "offering" seems to imply that one of them, probably the son was a veteran.  Hopefully, both of them can find peace along banks of Stony Creek.

Nature has it's own mysterious stories along Stony Creek.  As we were walking the trail we noticed a animal draped high in a tree about 40 feet above the ground.  We took out our binoculars and took a closer look.  I have seen plenty of dead coyotes throughout the west. However this is the first time I have seen one in a tree forty feet above the ground!  Take a close look at the coyote.  That branch is too small to support the weight of a man or probably that of a cougar or a bear.   My only thought is that a Golden Eagle might be large enough to place the coyote up in the tree.   The Black Butte area is full of Turkey Vultures and maybe he was stashing his food where they could not get to it.  Anybody else with ideas??

So our hikes around Black Butte Lake found more questions than answers today.  But it was an interesting day.  We saw some special and unique things on our hike.  The fact that it was 65 degrees and sunny made it a perfect day.  Bugaboo agreed that is was a perfect day as he explored the oak woodland forests of California.

The previous weekend there was only two of us in the campground.  Tonight it appears the campground is about 40% full.  Looks like several families decided to have a get together at the lake.  For the past two nights we were the only rig in the campground.  Neighbors!!  What a concept.

If you take the Orland exit from I-5 and head west towards Black Butte Lake look behind the Shell Station and Taco Bell.  There is a office type building is the City Gates Cafe which serves Portuguese food.  We had the two Portuguese breakfast specials at 1:30 in the afternoon.  They no longer serve dinner only lunch and breakfast.  Be sure to get a loaf of their Cinnamon Bread for six dollars.  Heaven, at a very cheap price.  Fudge was also very good.  Worth the stop and it is only a short drive down from Black Butte Lake.  

If your towing do not drive into their parking just park in the cul-de-sac at front.  You can turn around any size rig in the cul-de-sac.  There is an RV Park next door that advertises 66 foot pull-through spurs but we did not check it out.  

The lake is the place to be for us!


cindy picha said...

watch for rattlesnakes out there . Horses are limited to certain hours and there is no drinking water where horses are. Also you will find signs of wild pigs and coyotes sound very very close at night . when the lake is low and you decide to walk your horse out into in be very careful as there is a 90 degree shelf created by the original stream which still runs through this lake , it has a drop off pf approx. 20' and your horse might take the plunge as our mare did . Very scary . wish the park service would knock that down or place permanent bouys to warn riders

cindy picha said...

it would be realy nice if trails were marked here and at areas like Jellys Ferry in Red Bluff BLM