This is the sort of trip I envisioned when I bought a motorcycle last year–a thru-hike with a self-shuttle. The Left Fork of Huntington Creek National Recreation Trail was a perfect fit, with easy Jeep/motorcycle access to both ends of the trail. I began work early on Thursday morning so I’d have time after work to set up the shuttle and complete the hike/ride before dark. I planned to hike the trail uphill (’cause I needed the exercise) so I dropped off the dirt bike at the upper trailhead and drove the Jeep to the lower trailhead and began hiking at about 4PM. Temps were warmish–82°–and they never seemed to let up despite the increasing elevation along the way. The Left Fork trail started out close to the creek but climbed the hillside above it and stayed high for much of the hike. A few times I descended to the creek to have a look at log jams caused by the 2012 Seeley fire and subsequent debris flows.
I only saw one other person on the trail–a fisherman who had hiked above the burn area but still had no luck catching anything. I stopped briefly for a dinner of Oreos and Cheez-Its. The canyon widened and the trail leveled out near where Scad Valley Creek and Miller Flat Creek joined the Left Fork. I enjoyed the views and open spaces along this upper portion of the trail. Honestly, I’d been dragging my ass since about the halfway point of the trail, but I got a second wind along the upper section and made better time as I approached the upper trailhead.
I reached the motorcycle after about three hours and 45 minutes of hiking. The advertised trail distance is six miles but my GPS registered closer to seven, and somehow with only 900′ elevation gain I was feeling beat. I traded my shade hat for a helmet and cruised up the gravel on Miller Flat Road, then down the paved Huntington Canyon road. I hadn’t really considered it before the trip, but one really needs a helmet with a face shield for this type of riding! I was pelted by bugs for the entire ride–it even stung getting hit through two layers of shirts. I returned to the lower trailhead, loaded the bike, and hit the road before the sun went down, enjoying a colorful sunset during the drive home.