Auburn's Confluence: Training Hill and Forest Bridge Hill Hike
May 14, 2011
|It was expected to rain/snow/hail in Northern California by the 14th midnight. A week before that, I posted a hike via NorCal Peak Hiker's group ( http://www.meetup.com/norcalpeakhikers ) to bag Castle Peak. The weather was iffy but as of this writing, the weather up the Tahoe region turned out to be nice.
Auburn is the closest area where hikers can do the hike with modest elevation gain. This time I invited Liani and her husband. Liani's other half was not feeling well so it was just me and Liani.
I had breakfast at Liani's El Dorado Hills home, scrambled eggs and bread, a little bit of jellie and juice. Liani made me try another juice supposed to be 100% juice. It taste really good.
We got ready, load few equipment like trek poles then drove to Auburn via Salmon Falls Rd. This road is not your usual highway. Slower speed due windy road but the views were nice ranch and all that.
At Hwy 49 by the green gate was where we parked, then off to the trail. I showed Liani the 'No-Hands Bridge'. The water by the river was looking really refreshing. It was an awesome day, quite chilly but great.
For experienced hikers, Training Hill can be achieved in 20 minutes reaching the peak. I was worried that Liani might tumble or may not make it. Whenever I organized hikes for beginners, most younger people choose not to do Training Hill. I usually point the neighbouring mountain as a visual example - that is probably the reason that beginners back away.
Liani was slowing her steps going up. She told me that to let her know if we already made it half way. Training Hill is just 1 mile and 1000 ft elevation gain with a grade of 20 to 35%. It usually feels longer but it is indeed just 1 mile.
Liani wanted to take pictures once we reach half way. So I told her, about 200 feet to go and we will be halfway. I thought Liani would back out, but she only stopped for a bit to drink water.
We reach half way in about 30 minutes. We saw another hiker who was familiar and he was going to do Training Hill two times. By 11am, Liani and I reached the Training Hill peak.
On our way down we saw the group we saw at the parking. Liani teased the boy if he would make it up. Then we continued, and I met several of my friends in hiking as we hiked down. First it was Kelly then so. Kelly told me that Shannon's group were hiking the Confluence and that there were 50 of them. As we continued down, lots and lots of hikers I know were there. Mickey L informed me that few in the group choose not to do Training Hill.
I introduced Liani and Mickey made a joke. We saw Christine, Terri and Em and then finally, Shannon and the slower hikers.
Training Hill trail is one of our favourite nearby trail. We come to this trail to train for fitness to tackle higher elevation mountains like the 14ers.
After we made it down back to parking, I told Liani to eat a little so her body can push forward the next hill to hike up. Our way to Foresthill Bridge was not that steep until Liani chooses the shortest and quickest route up. So we took the Kick-ass trail. It was steeper than what Liani thought and nowhere to hold on to. As Liani goes higher, the views got nicer and nicer. Liani took some shots, eager to show the views to her husband.
We finally made it to Foresthill Bridge. Liani was catching her breath but she made it. At 58 years old, Liani was the first person I know that has tackled Training Hill and Kick-ass Hill for the very first time. Most hikers are unwilling to do both, not because that it is difficult, but the physical demand required for the beginners.
The very first time I made to Training Hill, I had no inclination of doing another uphill. Also during my first time, I had Jonas and Jules with me.
I have introduced Training Hill to young and older people. I can clearly tell the difference in fitness and determination. Older hikers are more up to a challenge whilst younger people are dismissive.