Updated: 3 days ago
Having grown up in the Midwest, it was quite common for my dad's family to get together and play long rounds of euchre late into the night with my grandparents and aunts and uncles. Apparently, miners in the California Gold Rush also enjoyed the game and named a trail after it.
Our weekend plans changed, so we decided to get out and take the Jeep to lower elevation for a snow-free hike. After nearly two months without any hiking, today was a tough one. Normally, our hikes start out climbing until we reach our destination, after which, we descend back to the trailhead. Today, however, was the reverse and with no reprieve on a 23% grade.
The trail started on a rocky point called Iron Point surrounded by a beautiful expanse, looking west, a rippling tree-covered foothills split by the river canyon.
This westerly view from Iron Point was recreated by landscape artist Thomas Moran in 1871, titled "Giant's Gap".
This is the easterly view of the Sierra Crest from Iron Point.
We started down the rutty, rocky road until we reached the trail intersection, marked by an aged wooden sign hung high on a tree.
In addition to being steep, the beginning of the trail was a little bit rocky and fully covered in dried deciduous leaves, making it somewhat slippery and I was glad I had my hiking poles.
We also noticed this old car that, at some point, had left the road and seemingly wrapped itself around the tree. Whoops.
A little ways down, we crossed the rocky, rutty road once again and followed the weathered and rudimentary metal sign leading to Euchre Bar.
This was the last view before we descended farther into the denser forest.
After descending 1,788 feet in under two miles, we reached the river where there stood this wonderfully old footbridge, built in 1965.
As we approached the bridge, I could still smell the familiar odor of oil (Editor's Note: A very loyal fan, friend, and self-appointed fact-checker has let me know that rather than "oil," the more accurate substance to reference is "creosote" – Thanks, Chad!) from the railroad ties. It spans across the North Fork American River and the views of it from either side were amazing.
Then we made our way down closer to the water's edge as we navigated along the rocks and had our snacks. We couldn't believe how clear and emerald green the water was.
Then, it was time to make the unrelenting trek uphill back to the trailhead. And boy, was it a challenge. At some points, I wondered if I'd ever reach the top.
But we eventually made it and it felt like quite the accomplishment – over 1800 feet of elevation gain in about 1.5 miles!