Track from Mary: About 1,200' of Up and Down
Six brave souls chose to ignore the weather forecast and venture into the Applegate Lake forest for a hike in the woods. In spite of the forecast for a gloomy day with precipitation we were met with a bright sunny sky and moderate temperatures. We did experience some wind from time to time, but other than that it was a perfect day for hiking.
Trail conditions varied between dry surfaces with good traction to water puddles, slippery mud and snow. In spite of that, we managed to remain upright. Melting snow created numerous streams to cross, nothing unmanageable.
After arriving at the French Gulch Trail Head, we decided to hike the French Gulch/Payette-970 trail directly to Hal’s Point and do the climbing after lunch. After lunch we were unable to take the John Kerr shortcut across the flowing creek because of the width and depth of the runoff, so we backtracked to the Sinns Bar Trail intercept and went up the Sinns Bar Trail to get some elevation.
Upon arriving at the Prospectors Loop Trail intercept, the Sinns Bar Trail disappeared into the snow and the Prospectors loop trail was clear so the decision was made to hike the Prospectors loop trail to the Dagelma Trailhead instead. Unfortunately the huge tree that blocked the trail last year had not been removed. Undeterred, two of us climbed over the tree while the remaining four went up around the tree root ball and down a steep slope using saplings to remain upright. The final 4 feet was a near vertical drop requiring a butt slide to the reach the trail.
Having successfully navigated the tree, we continued down the trail encountering even more dead fall. Fortunately it was navigable. We eventually arrived at what I now know is the Osprey Trail intercept. There was signage that said the Payette trail and trail head was 0.6 miles to the right and no signage as to what was to the left. Mary pulled up her electronic map and said the trail to the right would take us away from the cars and when taking into consideration the signage at the Prospector Loop intercept said the mileage to the trailhead was 0.8 miles and we had already come quite a ways, the decision was made to go left.
A short time later we arrived at the Dagelma Trailhead where we picked up the Calsh Trail, which took us back to the French Gulch/Payette-970 Trail, which took us back to the cars. Mary’s GPS indicated the total hike was 11.3 miles. Note: had we turned right at the Osprey Trail intercept, we would have ended up on the French Gulch/Payette-970 trail looking across the gulch and creek to where we had lunch on Hal’s Point.
After the hike we returned to Jacksonville where we enjoyed an early dinner at La Fiesta, topped off with a well-earned Margarita. Overall a fantastic day on the trail with great friends.