Feb 6, 2014 · 9:00 AM
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The long grueling hike is a combination of almost all of the trails at Armstrong. It will be gorgeous but hard! I'm doing it as a conditioning hike for our upcoming Machu Picchu trip. We start off with a great climb to the ridge through the forest....immediate warmup! We'll continue to climb our way along the ridge to a grassy meadow with a view when the weather cooperates! Then we will huff and puff on all of the way up to the top by Bull frog pond campground. We will walk back on the campground road and drop down into Austin Creek. If you are doing the shorter version with cheerful Marinoly you will leave us when you hit the meadow before the final climb up to Bull frog Pond! If you continue on this portion takes you through some of the most beautiful backcountry in the region. You descend 1000 feet down into a valley for about 1 1/2 miles that sees very few hikers....we will do some roller coaster hiking along a fire road for about 2 miles and then start our crossing of creeks...we will cross creeks for about 2 miles as we head back through the valley. Water shoes and poles are necessary. After we meander along the creek and finish with our multiple crossings we will have to climb back out of the remote valley and back up to the ridge where we will have about 3 miles of downhill back to our cars. This is a tough hike and would not be considered fun unless you are fit and ready for a challenge. The pace will be our usual 2.5 mph pace. Slow but steady. Lunch will be on one of the false summits on the climb out of Austin Creek. Make sure you eat before you come and have a snack in your pocket because we will be eating after appx. 9 miles.
To get to the trail head:
From downtown Guerneville on Main St. (Highway 116), drive 2.3 miles north on Armstrong Woods Road to the visitor center on the right, just before the state park entrance station. Park in the large lot on the right by the visitor center.
Car pool info:
SANTA ROSA: Coddingtown Mall parking lot in front of the Coddingtown library to leave by 8:20
PETALUMA-Lucky at the intersection of Lakeville and Caulfield Ln. Park closest to Payran St. suggested leave by 8
WINDSOR-Office Depot parking lot (6400 Hembree Ln #100 Windsor) to leave by 8:25
Wear comfortable hiking shoes
Bring water and apply sunscreen
Wear layers. This hike will start off cool but you will warm up quickly!
Please bring at least 2 liters of water. We have had people run out of water coming out of the Austin Creek Valley. It's a hot exposed climb. You will need plenty of water.