Sunday, December 16, 2012

Quarry Trail: A Beautiful Day in Auburn

The sun may not have been out, and the sky may have threatened rain, but yesterday the hills of Auburn were host to a fantastic day of hiking. After a false start (i.e. me not knowing where I was going), the Quarry Trail appeared. 

Having explored several of the shorter trails near the Confluence, I picked the Quarry Trail both for the sneak peak at the quarry climbing area, as well as for the variety of historical remnants it boasts. The trail is mostly flat, with only the slight occasional grade, which was welcome after last weekend's steep (but short) hike. 

Starting out, the trail follows the water from a high vantage. Soon, the limestone loading docks (what is left of them) mark the side trail to the quarry. I was excited to see the quarry as I hope to climb there soon, but I was not prepared for how beautiful it would be. It baffles my mind that people gutting the earth for raw materials can create such a beautiful sight. A steep hike up through the quarry took us to a shaded path leading back to the main trail, making a nice mile or so downhill diversion after the amazing sight of the limestone walls.

Continuing past the quarry, the trail continues to follow the water, passing a paleontological cave and Murderer's Bar Rapids (which you can more hear than see). The Quarry Trail then meets the Western States Trail, which looks so slight in comparison to the large stature it claims in my mind due to the famous race that traverses it. 
Limestone loading docks
Following the river

After a few hours of strolling, we turned back, and ate near the limestone loading docks. Suddenly, the chill was more menacing than it had been while walking (I had even taken my jacket off for a time), so we set out back to the car. My knee was achey by that point, but I'm happy to report that it feels fine today, even after the five or so miles hiked. The evening trip to the hot tub may have helped my recovery. 

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