We return to the Wilson Creek trailhead early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms this time. Our route takes us past Wilson Creek Feeders, a giant feedlot packed full of cattle and manure – thankfully downwind today. We see boldly patterned reptiles going about their business – a gopher snake sunbathes in the trail, and a longnose leopard lizard is starting to warm up nearby also.
The scenery thereafter improves as rock gardens crop up, and finally we drop into Reynolds creek canyon along the now defunct China Ditch, a stone aquifer that appears to have once carried water across Reynolds creek and beyond. Granitic cliffs with a dark orange iron patina rise high out of this canyon, things I’ve noticed from afar.
The bottom of the canyon turns green with trees and stands of poison ivy. We follow it up to the next break in the canyon wall that allows us to return to the trailhead along a slightly different route.