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Kailua, Hawaii, United States

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big Basin Redwoods State Park: The Waterfall Loop

Tim and I decided to give this hike a try last Saturday and I'm glad we did. We weren't sure that there would be much water at the waterfalls, but it was supposed to be one of the best hikes in the Bay area. It was about an hour and a half's drive from San Francisco, unfortunately kind of a curvy road a lot of the way, and Tim doesn't like that! I had him drive because he says that if he's driving he's too busy to throw up...

We started off on the hike from the park headquarters. The trail was supposed to be about an 11 and half mile loop, which the guidebook said took most people about 6 hours, though some could do it in four hours and some might take all day. We wondered which we were! You are in the Redwood forest immediately on a winding path that goes relatively slowly uphill for quite a ways. The trail became more uphill sometimes, and then would do some roller coasting (up and down, up and down), which I always hate.

Eventually, after several miles, we started a downhill into waterfall country. The first one came up pretty quickly and we stopped at its base and had our one snack for the trip. After we left that one, we discovered that there were several more in pretty quick succession, really one better than the next. We differed on which one was the prettiest. I liked the last one, which cascaded against the rocks as it went down. Tim like the one that is a straight drop into a small pool with fallen redwoods. They were both good!

Continued on the trail, which now took us up and up and up. We were both getting really tired of UP. But we knew it had to come, obviously water flows downhill and all those waterfalls took us far down the mountain, so we had to go back up. We had almost made it back to the park headquarters when I took a header after tripping over a tree root on the path. Eleven miles and I trip 10 minutes from the end! Got a good bloody knee and a dirt bath, but got right up and continued to the first bathroom where I cleaned up. Excellent hike! Oh yeah...the camel you will see in the pics...we don't know what it was doing there, but as we left the park a woman was leading the camel down the middle of the road, don't have any idea why! It was odd.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop with more Waterfalls!

This was a 7.2 mile loop that started off in "downtown" Stinson Beach and rose to about 1600 feet at the top of the loop and then went, well, steeply down Steep Ravine and back to the beach. I parked by the Stinson Beach Fire Department and just a few feet down the street was the trailhead. It started off going over a small creek on a bridge and then began to climb the hill behind town. I came across a sign that said "Rattlesnake Area" within the first few hundred yards, but fortunately did not see any on the hike.

The trail was pretty steep at the beginning, lots of steps too. It was also really pretty with the sound of the creek accompanying me up the path. At one point I could see a nice waterfall across the canyon. I thought the trail would probably take me by it, but it never did. The trail continued to rise but became less steep most of the time. Eventually I came to a grassy area for a while and then wound my way through the forest again, ending up at a ranger station where I took a break after the 4 mile uphill part of my hike.

From there I headed downhill into Steep Ravine. It was breathtakingly beautiful! Huge redwoods, lush green ferns and a babbling creek, not to mention lots of bridges which I love seeing. I went down the ladder next to the first waterfall, which was pretty but didn't have a lot of water at this time of year. I continued on to the next waterfall, at one point having to duck through where a giant redwood had fallen down and been cut through so you could go down the path. There were lots of old redwoods that had fallen down over the years, sometimes they looked like giant pixie sticks.

I came to the next waterfall, which was a series of small falls. It was also a really nice waterfall. I went down on the boulders in front of it and took some pictures before I went on down the trail. The trail continued down, passing by a small dam and a nice pool where I saw 3 deer running through the woods. Soon after that I came out above the beach and walked through a grassy area with lots of wildflowers and eventually down to Highway 1 and my car was just a couple blocks away. A splendid hike!