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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 just did this hike but it is so much easier with the low levels of water that I just couldn't resist! :)
It is possible that you might 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. BUT....We just did this hike 3 weeks ago and we were able to rock jump and not use our water shoes. If you have been considering this hike this is a GREAT time to do it because of the low water levels! I would still bring your water shoes JUST IN CASE..because it is always best to be prepared just in case!! Poles are also recommended to aid you in the river crossings that you can rock hop!
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 need to be at a moderate level of fitness with recent hiking in your past schedule to enjoy this hike because although this is the favorite hike of many members...this is NOT a hike for everyone because it 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. Also...please eat before you come because lunch is almost at the end. It's a good idea to have some snacks in your pocket! We walk over after the bulk of the climb to a scenic viewpoint.
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 at 8:45 and travel 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 8:45 and we will need to pay the $8 entry fee per car if you don't have a state park pass.
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
Petaluma-Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St. suggested leave by 7:45
Windsor in the Office Max parking area at 8:15
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.
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. Bring some water shoes just in case and poles are a good idea
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.
Eat before your come, have some snacks in your pocket and bring a lunch for after the climb.
Bring your smile and great attitude! We are ALL about trail enjoyment while respecting everyone’s time!
See you on the trail!