August 17, 2008 Fall Creek

Wimble Scale: Difficult, Length: 10.1 miles, Climb: 1900 feet, Time: 5 hours

The announcement
This weekend, I’ll be doing the archery tournament thing so Kathy will be leading a hike in Fall Creek. Plan on this being a hard hike, with the option of splitting in two if there is a group that would rather not climb for two hours on a 10-plus mile loop. The other group could do the moderate hike out to the barrel mill and wait for the rest.

Fall Creek is one of my all time favorite places to go, though, and you won’t be disappointed by what you see. There are a couple of special treats along the way. There are the usual touristy spots, like the lime kiln and barrel mill. Less know is the lime quarry itself, if you want to take a 2 minute detour. And the secret, hidden, known only by Donna, pool of goldfish.

The hike is pretty much all covered. The trip up the mountain starts along Fall Creek, goes by the kiln, and then climbs and climbs to the lunch spot. Then climbs a bit more. It’s not especially steep, for the most part, and the lunch spot along the creek is a great place to stop. The trail back down is often hard to spot, so stay with Kathy to make sure you don’t end up in Boulder Creek, as has happened once before.

Hiking poles are recommended, and non-hiking shoes, like sneakers are very discouraged. Some of the creekside trails are very slippery.

The trail down is somewhat steep until you come back to Fall Creek. At that point, its just one damn stunning view after another. The last mile back to the car is where I expect to hear most of the whining. Yes, I expect to hear it even if I’m not on the trail with you. Its like my favorite saying, “It’s a great 8 mile hike. Unfortunately, it’s 10 miles long.” Well, maybe I’m overstating the case. After all the descent, I always just hate that last few hundred yards of uphill back to the parking lot.

If we remember, we should bring along family friendly radios. I’ll try to keep one myself as I hope to come on down after the tournament. I may even meet you before you finish the hike, in which case I’ll give a shout on the radio.

Lunch, as I said, is on the trail. However, I hear rumors of a special event after the hike, an invitation to one of our hiker’s houses for a potluck picnic, bear wrestling, swimming and kayak self-rescue practice. I’ll leave details of the rumor, if indeed they are true, to the person making the invitation.

The hike
Last Sunday, 9 went on a rampage through Fall Creek, pushing over redwood trees, lighting a bonfire in the old lime kiln, pulling limestone out of the quarry, riding logs down the creek, harassing deer and scaring babies. Well, I wasn’t actually on the hike, I was out at a primitive archery shoot, but that’s what I’d expect from FOMFOK when I’m not there to babysit them.

I did meet up with them near the end of the hike. Normally, after the nearly 2000 foot climb the hikers are more than a little sore and slow. Not this time. I met up with the group about a mile from the end and Kathy hot-footed it back to the parking lot as we tried to catch up with Tom who took the less scenic, arguably shorter route back, just in case I was dumb enough to get lost trying to meet up with them.

Since I didn’t get to lead the hikers astray during the actual hike, I instead got them lost on the short trip to Donna’s house. Mind, I was distracted by the major car/motorcycle accident we saw along the route, but mostly I misunderstood the town Donna lived in. How dumb was I?

The party at Donna’s was a real hoot. We wrestled her pet bear, got slobbered on by her other pet, judged the kayak self-rescue finals event, and sampled wine and food until we got stuffed.

What a great day.

Ron’s pictures can be found at
http://picasaweb.google.com/thwarte/FallCreekAug08

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