10-Nov-2000 -- The drive up the Feather River canyon on Highway 70
is out of this world. We used this route to approach our destination, 40Nx121W. Northern
California is blessed with miles of beautiful scenery and Highway 70 through the Feather River
Canyon is certainly no exception. Millions of dollars worth of gold were mined here during the
gold rush. Miners still dredge the river with SCUBA rigs to recover some of the finest coarse
gold in North America. . We turned off at Butterfly Creek and climbed old narrow gauge
railroad right of ways to a point where Rubble Gulch crosses Blackhawk Creek Road. Here
we parked the Suzuki and gathered up out gear for the trek up the hill. Somewhere 900 feet
up the gulch and slightly to the left was our goal.
The first snow of the season was still clinging to the trees, refusing to fall until you came
near, then it soaked you to the skin. A two hundred foot vertical rise was included in our
jaunt and Rubble Gulch is well named. We climbed the gulch because of the heavy
second-growth of evergreen that had sprung up after a fire and deep, and the slippery pine
needles that covered the steep hillside. Bear signs reminded us that we were only visitors
in the woods. The gully carried us a little to the north of our line but was well worth the extra
hike.. We climbed out of the wash and up the pine needle covered hillside eager for our
first convergence location. Clouds were beginning to darken the sky and a very light snow
began to fall.
Once we got within a few yards of the magic spot we began to have minor problems
with our GPS receivers. The very heavy growth of snow covered timber seemed to make
getting good readings more difficult. We finally got what we came for... All zeros! There
was only one little glitch. We had been expecting our receivers to locate the same spot.
I believe that the newer Garmin resolves locations a bit more precisely.... in fact one more
decimal place. We ended up getting our zeros about twenty five feet apart. Reasonable
error for two old guys wandering around on top of a mountain in the beginnings of a
snowstorm. We are hooked! I wish I had been aware of the project sooner as I spent two
months in S. E. Asia and could have added some "rare ones" to the list. Avin
navigates on a regular basis with his Garmin II+ as he rides a Yamaha Warrior ATV in the
deserts of Nevada and The Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The hike downhill did not require the rest stops what with the gravity assist and heavier
weather threatening. When we got safely back to the Suzuki hot coffee, venison salami
with crackers and jerky made a good compliment to the day.
Next time we will make up a cache to take with us. Great sport!