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Austin and Gilliam Creek shorter loop "test run" (Strenuous )8 miles 1600 feet

  • Mar 12, 2013 · 9:15 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

  •  Yay!!!  This is a favorite.  Beautiful country and it's almost guaranteed that we will have the trail to ourselves...what a secret gem the Austin Creek State Recreation Area is! 
  • We have a big Saturday hike coming up withs tons of people signed up and I wanted to check out the trail conditions. I haven't been here in awhile...I'm not sure what to expect. If you sign up, bring your adventurer spirit along with some shoes you can wear in the water for the water crossings. We wear our boots for most of the hike but change when we get to the crossings.

You will need water shoes that you can HIKE in for about 3 miles of this hike.  During a 3 mile segment of the hike we cross the river about 7 times and several of the crossings do not offer any alternative to avoid getting wet-believe me we have TRIED!  It's also possible that some of the crossings might be up to 2 feet deep.  Poles are also recommended to aid you in the river crossings that you can rock hop!  

 Description:

This hike takes you through some of the most beautiful backcountry in the region.  You descend 1000 feet during the first 1.5 miles of the hike and climb the same amount at the very end.  You must be in good shape to do this hike because the altitude gain comes after about 8 miles of tiring and rough hiking.  This is not a hike for everyone because it also involves multiple creek crossings.  Hiking poles are invaluable and highly recommended with the creek crossings. We will be coming down the fire road and returning with the creek crossings and trail up the hill to take advantage of any shade on the trail.

The hike doesn't climb as much as other of hikes because the altitude gain is not really that much...it's just that most of it is at the very end!  I know I will be huffing and puffing, as well as probably groaning my way up that last climb. 

 Directions:

From the town of Guerneville, take Armstrong Woods Road 2.4 miles north to the ARmstrong Woods entrance stations.  Park in the parking lot on your right just prior to the entry kiosk.  We will gather there and continue at 9:15 the remaining way as a convoy!  Bring any State park passes you might have as we do have to enter the park. We leave at 9:15 and we will need to pay the $8 entry fee per car if you don't have a state park pass.

FOR car pools please document your car pool info in your RSVP comments. . Car pool etiquette- Come prepared to drive, be aware that there may be no others wanting to car pool from your selected location or there might be a lot of people and everyone might want to ride. We determine who gets the rider seats by who has most recently been a driver in the past. This is worked out based by who shows up at the car pool location. We can't guarantee anyone a seat because we never know until that day who will show up.  We do our best to work it out and make everyone happy but we need everyone to pitch in and help make it work! 

Then PLEASE if possible try to use the three locations below. The more locations we have the less effective we are and it's so much more complicated. Exceptions would be if you are not close to either location.

Car pool locations:

Coddingtown Library parking lot suggested leave at 8:30

Petaluma-Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St. suggested leave by 8:10

Windsor Lakewood Shopping Center in front of the old Denny's-Leave at 8:40

General room of thumb...$5 one hour or less to trailhead $8 over one hour to trailhead Please insist your driver accept the money. It's to cover more than gas money...it's the wear and tear on the vehicle. We like to take care of our drivers!

Please read and be familiar with the guidelines of the group as listed below.  It’s important before you come on a Wanderer hike that you agree and are prepared with the following.

As always:

  • We combine enjoyment of the trail with respect for everyone’s time.   A steady pace and we just keep going!  If you are in the lead you will end up waiting at trail junctions.  If you are in the back you will be asked to do your best to keep up with the group and at waiting points the group may move on as soon as you are within sight.  Our pace averages 2.5mph.  We do get separated from time to time as everyone walks their own pace but please bear in mind that you will need to be able to stay within a reasonable distance from the group.  Make sure this is something you are prepared for and would enjoy
  • Please always check your email the night before just in case there are any necessary adjustments to the hike details.  Cancellations or any adjustments will be posted by 10pm the previous evening.
  • RSVP etiquette must be followed. Only RSVP when you can commit to attend. Once you have RSVP'd if you have an emergency that means you have to cancel please change your RSVP by 5pm the prior day. This will avoid a "no-show" reflecting on your participation history. Over 3 "no-shows" might mean we have to excuse you from the group. We try very hard to respect each other in this group.
  • Give yourself time to find the trail head so that you arrive prior to the scheduled time.  That is the time we head out on the trail.  It would be disappointing to miss having you on the hike due to late arrival.  You will be left behind if you are not ready to head out at the hike start time.
  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good rugged soles that are well broken in.
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Facilities: at the parking lot before we enter the park
  • Dogs?: none allowed
  • Bring plenty of water.  More than one bottle is usually a good idea.
  • Dress in layers.  The hike starts off cool but rapidly warms up.
  • Bring a lunch.  We always have a break at a scenic spot about half way.
  • Bring your smile and great attitude!  We are ALL about trail enjoyment while respecting everyone’s time!

See you on the trail!

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  • Dustin H.

    I'm glad to hear that the length and climb were greater than expected as it allows me to excuse my aching feet. That was a beautiful and tough hike. We are counting on you being all ready for the Saturday hike, Leigh! No more roach coaches for any of us unless the roaches look healthy!

    1 · March 13, 2013

  • Leigh

    I just want to express a very heartfelt thank you to you all. This hike definitely will be remembered! The newts were a bit crazy and I think you all will be happy to hear that I will NEVER buy my lunch from a lunchwagon (still not recovered!!) again but everything else was just perfect! I was delighted to see that Charles's GPS said 9.9 miles which I think we should just round off to 10 and 1900 feet! We went with mileage from a phone gps previously and I know Charles has the real deal so we will use his figures from now on!!!
    When I needed some consideration and patience you guys came through big time! I couldn't think of a better group to be with when I hit a wobbly patch!

    1 · March 13, 2013

  • Charles H.

    Strenuous,yes. Beautiful, YES! My GPS device clocked the distance at 9.9 miles; total elevation gain (counting all the ups during the hike) 1839 feet.

    1 · March 12, 2013

  • Elaine d.

    What a fabulous day! Loved the steelhead...and the newts! This from Wikipedia: Reproduction occurs generally between December and early May. "Typically the adult newts will return to the pool in which they hatched. After a mating dance, the male mounts the female and rubs his chin on her nose. He then attaches a spermatophore to the substrate, which she will retrieve into her cloaca." Oh yeh, baby! Great hike, Leigh!

    2 · March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    each time I do this hike, I'm reminded of how much I love it. The last climb almost kills me, but after a cold beer, a shower and a much needed nap, I'm so glad I did it! Such a great group today! I really enjoyed everyone's company. Thanks, Leigh!

    1 · March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    see you in the parking lot

    March 12, 2013

  • Leigh

    I'll be meeting you at the Armstrong Parking lot to head into the park at 9:15!

    March 11, 2013

  • Elaine d.

    I will be coming from St. Helena via Calistoga, emerging into Santa Rosa at Mark West Springs Road. I would like to pick up other riders on the way, without diverting to Coddingtown or Windsor. If anyone wants to meet at Bad Ass Coffee or River Road, please reply below.

    March 11, 2013

    • Elaine d.

      8:30 sounds good!

      March 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I will meet you both at Badass

      March 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will meet carpool at Badass coffee tomorrow 8:30 instead of Windsor...better for me. Looking forward to the hike!

    March 11, 2013

  • Charles H.

    Coddingtown terminus

    March 7, 2013

  • Elaine d.

    Hi Leigh, just trying to figure out what the "strenuous" part of this hike is. Is it primarily because of the water crossings? (Have water shoes/will wade)

    March 7, 2013

    • Leigh

      It's a tough route with scrambling up and down out of the river but you can do it!

      March 7, 2013

  • Christy Vandever S.

    I was anxiously awaiting the Tuesday hike. So excited about this! Thanks Leigh. <3

    March 7, 2013

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