By Austin Explorer on 3/25/2018
Distance: 7.38 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 47 minutes
Coppertone and I had decided to revisit Jack London State Park earlier Saturday when the forecast was for no rain for the next week. Saturday night it rained, but we didn't change our plans. So we encountered some fairly muddy trails in certain parts of the park. Coppertone indicated that it's "always" muddy when we visit. It wasn't until later I logged onto hikingtrailhead.com and saw that our two previous hiking visits here were in January of different years. Not exactly the best time to avoid rain and mud!
We ventured into the park's SE corner to hike some of the trails near Fern Lake and the historic orchards. Our preferred path there, Vineyard Trail, was closed for the "season". We're not sure what the season is, but I would guess it has something to do with winter and it's rains. We doubled back and went down Quarry, which bypassed the closed segment.
We did a loop around Fern Lake, leaving the park property for a brief period of time. When we looped back into the park we had intended to circumnavigate the lake on Inner Fern Lake Trail. However, the trail from Orchard Road seemed to be a bit overgrown and had some brush piled up on it, something that's often done when park managers don't want people walking down trails.
We had another option in Red Hill Road (it's a jeep trail maybe, not a real road) that we took to SDC's Camp Via. A large tree had recently fallen across the trail that we had to skirt under, but it didn't provide too much of an obstacle.
From Camp Via we we stopped by to visit the nearby Ancient Redwood. A kiosk as we approached seemed to highlight a nice, but scarcely impression grove of Redwoods that gave Coppertone a bit of a letdown. But we continued down the path and were rewarded with a suitably impressive giant that clearly lorded over the young upstarts we had spotted a bit earlier. This old giant has apparently seen 2,000 years of history. Very impressive.
We completed a loop around the edges of the orchards, crossed over South Asbury Creek and used the Fallen Bridge trails to get back to Mountain Trail for the main (and somewhat less muddy) path back to the trailhead.