Dragoon Gulch Trail – Sonora, Ca

Today is President’s Day, a holiday for the County.  Rather than stay home and do laundry my wife and I decided to take a hike.  We haven’t hiked a trail in some time so last night I started looking for some trails to stretch our legs on.  We initially were going to go back to the West Side Trail but I found another trail that looked a little more interesting: Dragoon Gulch Trail.


We started from the Alpine trail head and walked down to the Woods Creek parking area first.  Had we known this was where the restrooms were we would have started from here.  We then walked back up to the Alpine trail head and started up the Vista Trail.  It’s an easy hike but is all up hill.  It was a beautiful day with the air temperature in the upper 60’s F.

We got up to the end of the trail (the vista) and were rewarded with a view of Downtown Sonora.


We enjoyed the beautiful Spring weather for a while before heading back down the trail.


The Spring weather we are enjoying is known as Fool’s Spring or False Spring.  It’s only February, we will still have more cold snaps and rainy weather before True Spring makes an appearance.  This occurs roughly two weeks before Summer and 90 degree (F) temperatures set in.

We walked down to the Ridge Trail and decided to take that one back to the car.  It’s a longer trail but far less steep and thus easier on our knees.  It dumped us out on the Creekside Trail where we walked back to our car.

Once back to our car we checked my phone for some good eateries near by.  We settled on one that we weren’t too sure about; The Diamondback Grill.  The menu we downloaded to my phone said they had the gluten-free options my wife needs so we decided to give them a try.  I am so glad we did!  I ordered the Flatiron Steak Salad and it was AWESOME!  Grilled mushrooms and onions atop a grilled steak on top of a salad!  The steak was so tender and delicious!  Cristy ordered a Buffalo Burger but they deleted the bun and dropped it on top of a salad for her.  It wasn’t on the menu, they just came up with it for her.  Very helpful wait staff there!  If you are ever in Sonora please give these folks a try!

Diamondback Grill Hours
Grill – Monday thru Thursday – 11am to 9pm
Friday thru Saturday – 11am to 9:30pm
Sunday – 11am to 8:00pm (New)

Wine Bar Hours
Tuesday-Thursday, 5pm to 9pm
Friday & Saturday, 5pm to 9:30pm
Closed – Sunday and Monday

93 South Washington Street
Sonora, CA 95370
Phone: (209) 532-6661
Fax: (209) 396-2456
email: dbacksnake@att.net


Afterwards we walked around downtown Sonora and browsed the shops.  At least, the shops that were open, many were closed for the holiday.  We didn’t go into this next store but next time I’m up there I may buy this sign:


Afterwards we headed back down to Modesto happy and content with the small adventure hike in our back yard.  You don’t always need to travel for hours to enjoy the beauty of nature.  This park is only an hour from our home.  Take a look around your town.  You never know what hidden gems you may be missing.





Saturday Drive to Silver Lake

After my awesome Friday, flying in the morning, camping in the evening, we had to make Saturday every bit as good.  But without the flying, Mrs. Flying Dutchman doesn’t like flying so much.  Since it was forecast to be hot again we decided to drive higher up into the mountains.  Our destination was only an hour away; Silver Lake.  When we arrived we found a lovely 75 degree day rather than the 98 degrees it was forecast to be back at the trailer.  We hiked along one of the roads along the shoreline and then moved to different section of the lake and did some rock hopping and took in the beautiful sights.

After spending several hours at the lake it was time to head back but not before swearing to come back after tourist season is over.  Even the drive back down the mountain was beautiful.


Sunday Morning

On our last day we just hung around in bed for a while, had a leisurely breakfast, and then watched church on our phone.  Afterwards we packed everything up, got the trailer ready to travel, and then drove back down the mountain to Modesto.  It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend.

Pinecrest Lake Hike – 07/11/2019

Last week I had some time off so Cristy and I decided to head up to Pinecrest Lake.  We wanted to get out of the house for a day and wanted to go on a hike so it seemed the perfect place to go.  Pinecrest is located just off Highway 108 in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  We didn’t think it would be too crowded mid-week… we were wrong.   But it wasn’t so crowded that we couldn’t find a parking space next to the lake.  With some patience that is.

We had stopped at Schnoog’s in Sonora to pick up some lunch.  We ate our lunch sitting on some rocks watching all the moms and kids cooling off in the lake.  After lunch we decided to hike to Cleo’s Bath since we were feeling energetic and had never been there before.  So we struck off past the marina and headed towards the dam along the west side of the lake.  Those that have ALREADY made the hike to Cleo’s Bath already know what we did wrong.

It was a beautiful day for a hike with weather in the upper 70’s at this point.  We enjoyed the beautiful scenery looking down at the lake from the trail on our way to the dam.   I found the helipad to be kind of amusing as it was so small and on the edge of the dam!

We finally made it to the dam and then saw a sign pointing towards Cleo’s Bath.  We dutifully followed it along the north shoreline of the lake.  The trail started going upwards so we thought we were making progress, then the trail went back down towards the lake.  Hmmmm…..  But then the trail started going upwards again!  Then downwards again.  After about an hour and a half of up and down and losing the trail once we finally made it to the east side of the lake and had gone almost 3/4 of the way around the lake when we finally came upon a sign that read… Cleo’s Bath!  By this time we were pretty beat and were not looking forward to an uphill hike with no water.

We decided to continue on around the lake and declare victory.  And it really was a victory for us as we’ve never been quite in the shape needed to do even moderate hikes.  The trail around Pinecrest lake is no slouch.  It has all the earmarks of a challenging trail but it is mercifully short.    We’ve decided we will go to Cleo’s Bath in a couple of weeks but this time we will start off in the RIGHT direction!