Page 4 of: Hiking Nevada City to South Lake Tahoe, by Thomas Becker
The trail along the South Yuba River ends a few miles upstream from the tiny town of Washington, California, a real gem where the old romantic Wild West is still alive, complete with the gold mining, logging, pot growing, and the meth labs.

I did some reconnaissance there in 2004, and the only way I found to get up to the higher elevations was to hike up an old, almost overgrown mining trail along Canyon Creek, a side creek of the South Yuba, and then bushwack it up the side of the canyon.

 
 
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This part of the hike was clearly more risky than sensibility recommends. But every once in a while, I get that feeling of invincibility, and then I just go and do it, and itís fine. But please be advised that once youíre in that foothills underbrush with a heavy pack, there is no way you can look out for the old mineshafts, the rattlesnakes, and the fishing lines that the pot growers use to set off their booby traps that fire sawed-off shotguns at your legs. Never, ever, veer off the beaten path in the California foothills.

If, against all better judgement, you do not heed this advice, please at least remember the follwing. The telltale sign by which you shall know the vicinity of the people whose vicinity you want to avoid is: trash. Enormous amounts of trash. If you see layers and mounds of beer cans and food packaging in the middle of nowhere, that is your cue to turn around and go back where you came from. If you think I'm making this up, ask anybody who is in the Forest Service, in SAR or any such thing in the California foothills, and they'll tell you that my advice is sound.

If you still insist on continuing, chances are that you will soon after stumble upon irrigation hose and fertilizer bags, or empty bottles of ephedrine accompanied by a smell that is reminiscent of cat urine. Now you're in trouble.


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