If you want to hike the Salinas River Trail — especially north of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge in Paso Robles, there are a couple of things you should watch out for. The first thing is not to underestimate the power of wet sand near the river. It’s a bit different than beach sand. I didn’t expect to sink into it. At first I was afraid it was like quicksand because I sunk so far so fast. My shoes were covered and you can see the bottoms of my trousers also covered. It was actually kind of scary, since I was alone.
The other thing to watch out for is the poison oak. There are large clumps of it quite near the trail. In some places it was actually hanging into the trail. The milk thistles are also everywhere, being their prickly selves, so be careful not to fall in them. They are usually growing very near poison hemlock, which is the most prevalent weed in the park growing beside almost every part of the trail. Since it resembles the wild carrot family, make sure you don’t touch it and then eat without washing your hands well. Make sure your children treat all these kinds of flora with respect.
Now you know what to watch out for. If you sit on that bench, be glad someone pulled away the poison hemlock that was growing straight right through the seat when I was there two weeks ago. It was about a foot past the seat. you can see the remains of it still there. I hope he remembered to wash his hands well after touching it. He was also kind enough to flatten some the thorns and hemlock growing right around the bench. It’s no fun to walk through it. I know. I had to do it two weeks ago to have a place to change my camera batteries.
Now that you are warned, go and enjoy the river while it’s still there.