Gold Country Jeeping with New Hiking Shoes and Too Many Bugs

Updated: an hour ago


Yup. Here we go. Another post with bridges and waterfalls.


Today's adventure involved a Jeep ride out on some dirt forest roads, a couple of old one-lane bridges, LOTS OF BUGS, and a really awesome waterfall that we didn't even know about ahead of time. It was also our official/unofficial first (short) hike of the season.


To start, we headed out on I-80 and drove toward a small, old mining town called Washington, CA. Much of the road and scenery looked like this.

Along our route, it seemed the majority of the road on both sides was fenced off with barbed wire affixed with an abundance of "No Trespassing" signs. I can't really blame people for wanting to protect their personal property, especially when it's beautiful riverfront land.


The first one-lane bridge we came across was the Maybert Road Bridge, crossing Canyon Creek which flows into the South Yuba River. The original bridge was constructed in the late 1800s and its purpose was to connect the historical mining towns of Washington and Maybert. Today, the bridge is also fenced off at both ends with barbed wire. But I was still able to get a few decent shots without violating anything!





Canyon Creek view from the Maybert Road Bridge.



For a few miles after this, we slowly drove down a very narrow, rustic, and rutty road that parallels the South Yuba River, admiring the unique housing along the way, until we reached a picnic area at the river's edge.


We parked and got out our cooler that contained lunch provisions and we walked toward the river. An old camper van was parked nearby. We set up our picnic on a large boulder that jutted into the water and sat and enjoyed our lunch with a view.

We even had a curious and cute little Toto doppelgänger stop by to visit us (an occupant of the aforementioned camper van). After we finished our lunch, we walked around the shore and took a few photos. I spotted a cute little frog, quite camouflaged, hanging out underwater.



The emerald hue of the South Yuba River shows well.



Then, we were off again. Continuing on a bumpy forest road, we came to a trailhead and decided to check it out. This South Yuba Trail is around 20 miles total, but we decided we would hike until we felt like turning around. We gathered up our hiking gear and this season's new hiking shoes set out on their maiden voyage.


We read ahead of time that the trail was going to be a bit buggy, so we packed bug spray. I don't really like using bug spray, but I also am not a fan of bugs. So. I had my husband spray me down briefly before we started. Let me tell you, that was not enough. This trail was so buggy, I had to pretty much hike while waving one hand in front of my face the entire time to deter the bugs. As much as I dislike using bug spray, I sprayed down various parts of my body two more times during this short hike and I was still bugged by the bugs.


Aside from the bugs -- which we aren't really used to, since most of our high-altitude alpine hikes have very few, if any, bugs -- the trail was decent and had some nice views of the South Yuba River along the way. We saw a few gold claims posted along the route, as well.

One of the first things I noticed along the trail was this tiny fern-like moss growing on some of the trees. It was very unique compared to anything I've seen before.

Most of the trail was lined with budding and fully-leafed out trees. Some sections of the trail terrain were rocky or had large boulders and rock wall perimeters, while other sections of the terrain were dirt or red clay.

We also spotted several types of wildflowers already in bloom.



A view of the South Yuba from the trail after coming to a clearing. I really just liked this tree.




Then! We came upon this fun little footbridge!

Immediately after this bridge, the trail does a steep incline and you're fully back in the woods. Once the trail started descending again, we decided to just turn around and head back to the trailhead (fighting the bugs the entire way). I get disinterested in a hike without a specified destination. It's like, "Why push yourself when there's no finish line?"


On our return route, we stopped at this little path to a posted gold claim and took in the pretty river view.





We only hiked for about 4 miles, but the bugs made me feel more exhausted, so I was a bit relieved to get back to the Jeep. We continued down the bumpy forest road until we came upon roadside waterfall #1.



The road continued to wind up and up and it opened up to this view.

Then.


As we were rounding a curve, I happened to look back and I saw another roadside waterfall! This one was really something. We pulled off to the side and jumped out to get a closer look.




And when we climbed to the very top, we found a lovely pool that looked very inviting, but the water was pretty chilly to want to get in.


Look how idyllic this is!


Such a cool find, even though it didn't have the same amazing odor as another surprise roadside waterfall.


The next one-lane bridge seemed a little... on the skimpy side. The railings on our deck at home seem sturdier than the "railings" of the Edwards Crossing Bridge. It hardly seemed road-worthy, but we drove across it nonetheless! It was built in 1904.


When is the last time you saw a decorative "banister" like this on a bridge?

View of South Yuba River from Edwards Crossing Bridge.


Our last and final bridge of the day is the Purdon Crossing Bridge. This one seemed like it was a little more difficult to actually get to. At least from where we were. We had to get out the GPS map a few times and we turned around just as many before we eventually (unknowingly) used a "private drive" to cut over to the road we needed to get to. Whoops. Excuse us. In our defense, the sign indicating it was a "private drive" only existed at the other end of the road, so we didn't know until after we'd gone through it. We did get to see some cool chickens and beehives, though!


Back to the Purdon Crossing Bridge, originally built in 1889...


Another one-lane bridge with timber deck and it happens to be the only known example in California of a half-through truss (an unusual truss form in which the deck is carried approximately half-height between the top and bottom chords). I liked the combination of the black and brick-red colors.






Another day, another bridge, another waterfall, and some annoying bugs. But the weather was perfect and I always enjoy getting out of the house and seeing sights I've never seen before. Especially when we can also work in a hike.



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