When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28
Where: BYLT’s Black Swan Preserve
Cost: $15 members, $20 not-yet-members
Difficulty: Moderate 4.5 miles; some sloping, rocky terrain
Join local historian, archaeologist and celebrated hiking author Hank Meals for this special trek of the New Year exploring the history and culture of BYLT’s Black Swan Preserve and surrounding Deer Creek watershed.
“Black Swan is a wonderful place to hike all year but it is especially nice in the winter because it’s below the snowline and dense stands of conifers,” said Hank.
This time of year hikers will enjoy clean, crisp air, long vistas and green rolling hills. The trail weaves through lovely blue oak and gray pine woodland with some meadow, pond and streamside environments.
“Formerly a hydraulic and drift mine, the Black Swan has gradually transformed into excellent habitat for many plants and animals. Remaining ditches, tunnels, pits and prospects help tell the story of this once active gold mine located in the Smartsville Mining District where an estimated $13 million was recovered by 1877. Prior to the strong imprint of the mine this area was once an important hub of transportation and trade for the indigenous Nisenan people,” said Hank.
A Land Trust Trek Leader since the organization’s founding years, Hank Meals is the author of the definitive trail guides: The River: Hiking Trails and History of the South Fork of the Yuba River (2008), and Yuba Trails 1 & 2 (1993, 2001).
This outing is one of many in a new local 2017 series based on an international movement called the 52 Hike Challenge – where participants are encouraged to get outdoors and hike up to 52 hikes in 52 weeks – a partnership between Folk Trails Hiking Club and Bear Yuba Land Trust.
Dress for unpredictable weather by wearing layers and bring a windbreaker. Shoes with decent tread are essential. Poor weather cancels. Meet at 9 a.m. at Penn Valley’s Park-N-Ride parking lot, north east of traffic light at the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Highway 20.