I am surprised to admit it, but we ditched the dog this Sunday for a fun hike through snow and ice along Lyons Creek. With Toots still rehabbing, the trek would have been too tough for her, and we did take her for a smaller adventure on Saturday to the river on the Greenwood Creek side of Magnolia Ranch. We snuck our daypacks into the car and she had no idea that we left her the next day.
Normally, in January a trip to Lyons Creek would be out of the question, but with so little snow this year we thought it would be worth trying. The Lyons Creek Trailhead is just 4 miles up Wrights Lake Road (about 5 miles east of Kyburz on Highway 50). We were able to drive all but the last .10 miles before hitting ice on the road. My Tiburon is not snow-compatible, so we parked above the problem and walked down to the trailhead where we found four other parked vehicles.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how much snow there was along the trail, but there were still enough dirt patches to make the trail reading easy. The ice was a little tricky, and I was wishing I had brought along my snowshoeing poles. Along the trail, you had to climb over trees downed by the winds or make wider paths around them. I used logs to cross over icy parts whenever possible. We talked to a group of three ladies and two dogs (I missed Toots), and they told us about a huge ice field ahead. We valiantly continue ahead.
Within minutes, we reached the legendary field of ice and maneuvered high above its mass to find a safe crossing. We were near the creek on any occasions and made out way to its edge for photos. Only trickles of water rose out of its icy cover. With the plan to be back to the car before 5:00pm, we stopped for a quick lunch at 2:30 and started the trip back.
Amazingly, it only took 1 ½ hours on the return trip (2 ½ hours outbound), and we never saw the ice field. We think we went low on the trail when we came to it, and easily skirted around without even knowing it. Before long, we were on the long flat stretch back to the trailhead and laughing about the no-longer ominous “field of ice.”
Once snow comes to the mountains, this trip will not be doable, but until then enjoy! Do not try this with horses, however, since it is too dangerous with the icy conditions on the trail.