Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Secret Trails of Green Valley
I was surprised to hear from someone, in response to my "Visit to Green Valley," that she wishes the trails of Green Valley kept a secret. She objects to my mention of hiking on old mining ditches or on this or that old trail; there are, it seems, Nefarious People on this North Fork Trails email list, who, though my malfeasance, now know about the mining ditches and old trails in Green Valley.
Never mind that I have often written about precisely these ditches and trails before.
The Nefarious People, she writes, will tie plastic flagging all along the ditches, all along the trails, spray-painting a boulder now and then for good measure, with artful messages like "Green Valley Blue Gravel Mine Ditch, .25."
Perhaps one spray-painted boulder would warn of rattlesnakes. Another might read, "Euchre Bar, 1 mile, If You Like Jumping on Cliffs and Fording Raging Rivers."
Well, I'm sorry, but it is my philosophy that the old trails of the North Fork need to be known, not unknown. The North Fork of the American River--its wildness, its beautiful scenery, its historic trails and mining ditches and prehistoric sites--deserves every kind of protection and preservation. But this protection and preservation is hardly possible if no one knows the great canyon, and its great old trails.
This email list is all about making this wildness, this beauty, these old trails and ditches, known. In Green Valley, a number of private parcels exist, old patented mining claims, any one of which could on any given day sprout "No Trespassing" signs, or even a cabin. The purchase of these private parcels, and the transfer of the titles to Tahoe National Forest, or to the Bureau of Land Management, depending upon the location of the parcel-- the purchase of these parcels is critical to the future of Green Valley.
So, don't forget, the High Ditch is quite near the 2080' contour, in Green Valley, north of the river. Hike it, and let me know if you like it; it makes for a nearly level walk of a mile or so, from one end of Green Valley to the other. It crosses the East Trail about three hundred yards above Joe Steiner's grave, with another ditch, at that point, closely paralleling it, just above. The Still-Higher Ditch, as it were. But the High Ditch itself is the ticket.
Below, a map of Green Valley, showing some of its trails and ditches--which are also trails.