3.3 miles, elevation gain 472′, 1.5 hour duration, rated Moderate
Our crew of Off-Road Enthusiasts throughly enjoyed the first day of Off-Roading the BLM area in this unusual and fascinating desert canyon location, Owl Canyon 4×4. Some of our group headed out to explore the canyon area near where we camped at Owl Canyon Campground.
We only did a portion of the hike due to the fact that while we were on this desert excursion we received a fair amount of rain. This hike is meant to journey through a dry creek bed, but with the recent storm it was not dry. So with a minimal amount of creek side hiking where we could still keep out of the water and muck we stayed high and hiked up to a ridge that provided splendid views of Owl Canyon along with the desert landscape that surrounded us.
Thanks for joining Loren, Jessica, Linda and I on our hike up to peer into Owl Canyon while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Once we reached the ridge we took a moment to experience some of that Balance that Nature bestows upon those who seek it out. Those that need a bit of a respite from the rigors of everyday life. That is what adventures in Nature can do, bring things back into perspective. There is always adventure around the next turn, so stick with us by doing a few easy tasks: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. Please go up to the menu where you will find that PBTA ventures all over this great West of ours seeking out adventures in Nature. In hope that you too can find some of this bliss, I invite you to look through the categories of the menu to gain ideas about your own adventure. The menu is categorized mostly by location, but in the case of Off-Roading for instance, it is sometimes by activity. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like the Pursuing Balance Through Adventure Baseball Cap that Jessica is wearing in the picture than I invite you to checkout my line of Adventure Wear that also includes T-Shirts at SHOP APPAREL.
3.5 miles, 800′ elevation gain, 2 hour duration, rated Moderate
It’s a steady climb up the foothills towards the mountain. The hike is straight forward through green hills with the snow capped mountains beckoning, shinning brightly, just beyond. Upon arriving at Etiwanda Falls I discovered that it does not show off as much as other falls. Only the top portion of it is visible as there is a steep canyon that twists just out of sight. The only way to view beyond the first two drops would be either via rock climbing harness repelling over the side or maybe a drone.
That being said what is visible is still pretty special. The winter storms brought plenty of rain and snow, feeding the falls in the most glorious way. Etiwanda Falls is quite a picturesque setting. The streams feed it in a broad area adorned with trees and rocks. It really is exquisite. I did attempt to see more of the falls, but without much success as even spots that a glimpse might be possible it is more or less blocked by the steep canyon walls, trees and brush.
Always yearning to see what is just beyond I continued passed Etiwanda Falls following the left fork. What I experienced was a lovely journey along the following stream with only trees and the sound of the rushing water. It was a beautiful trek to a smaller falls, very calming and delightful.
I made my way back along the babbling brook to Etiwanda Falls and then headed up the right fork. There was a good amount of rock hopping involved with multiple crossing to be maneuvered. My journey up the two different forks of the stream added an additional mile and a half to the hike and a couple hundred extra feet in elevation, but was thoroughly enjoyable. I will concede that some of that 1.5 extra miles was me walking around in circles trying to find the best way across a couple difficult crossing not wanting to get my feet wet. The furthest part of my hike did bring me to traces of snow even at these lower elevations.
There was some graffiti which I absolutely deplore. If I hear that there is a lot of graffiti I just mark that hike off of my list. The further I went off the beaten path the more prevalent it became. I suppose with less people around taggers and gang members can do their evil deeds ruining nature for everyone. In my pictures and video I did the best I could to avoid the sad sight. Luckily around Etiwanda Falls itself, where there would be people, it wasn’t too bad.
Even for a Friday there were a good amount of people on the hike. My understanding is that ramps up to crowded on the weekends. There is a descent sized dirt parking lot that on the weekends does fill up. It costs $3 for half day.
Thanks for joining me ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in the foothills leading up to a beautiful flowing waterfall. The sound of the crashing water is always so wonderful and does so much to bring life into Balance… Thank you Nature! Stay tuned for more by doing a few easy things: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu above will show many or the areas that PBTA travels to in order to bring ideas of adventure to you when you are planning your next outing in Nature. The menu is categorized mostly by location. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like the cap I am wearing they are available at my Adventure Wear site: SHOP APPAREL.
5 miles, 950′ elevation gain, 5 hour duration, rated Moderate
What might be a moderate hike in the Summer should be considered a level up when it is covered in snow. In the Winter be well prepared with waterproof high top hiking boots, micro spikes, trekking poles, and a GPS. The first part of my hike, the popular Castle Rock Trail, wasn’t popular on this day as I had the entire area to myself. There were tracks to follow, but the further I went the fainter they were until at the furthest back portion of the Champion Lodgepole area there were none. No footprints, no trail, nothing but snow. I even missed the Lodgepole Champion Tree, 440 years old, the namesake of the hike. I saw some beautiful trees but missed the Grand Daddy. With no trail and only snow, I was off the GPS Track at that point. I discovered this later as I went back and compared the map to my trek.
From the moment I started the hike it was steep and slippery. The equipment I described was a must as it was a great day, but a little sketchy in places. The snow was beautiful, the trees, and rocks filled my spirit. I had not snow hiked in awhile and I had not hiked in the Big Bear Lake area in too long. The hike was magnificent!
Castle Rock, this big gorgeous hunk of rock, stood majestically above the forest floor. I am not sure if people stand on the top. It appeared that it would take rock climbing skills and certainly was not on my radar covered in snow and ice.
I arrived at Bluff Lake. It was frozen and covered in snow. Beside it was an enchanting old cabin and some ruins not far from the cabin. From the lack of footprints in the snow I could tell no one had been to this lonely spot in awhile as I started out on the back loop portion of my outing. I was careful not to get too close to the lake. I certainly did not want to go through the ice. To continue on I needed to either cross a semi frozen bog or duck through a tangle of brush. Not wanting to chance getting wet feet at the furthest point of my snowy travels I opted for the second choice.
The backside of the loop where no one had been recently was just snow, rocks and trees- no trail only my GPS so I traveled through this area picking whatever looked like a good course. The result was unfortunately I missed the Champion Lodgepole Tree, perhaps I will need to come back in the Summer.
Thanks for trekking with me on this wonderful wintery adventure in the snow as I found myself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Such journeys are not just for the mind and body, but indeed feed the soul. For more stories and recommendation of hikes I invite you to the menu above. It is categorized by location and in some cases activity. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. To make sure that you don’t miss out on the next adventure be sure to COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you like my hat in the picture please checkout SHOP APPAREL for your Adventure Wear needs featuring the PBTA Logo and Mantra.
4.5 miles, 820′ elevation gain, 2.5 hour duration, rated Moderate
I did this hike with fellow outdoorsman Loren, whom I refer to as the “Trail Boss”, because of his Off-Roading expertise. Not long ago we had an Off-Roading trip in Anza-Borrego, not too far from where this hike is, with a group of friends and he planned it all out and kept everyone on the straight and narrow. Well, none of the canyons we drove were straight but they were narrow, lol.
Ladders Canyon and Painted Canyon Loop Hike is not unique in the beauty found in some of our South West Canyons, but it is certainly at least on par with some of the best. What is unique, I have discovered, is the Ladders Canyon portion. It is literally a canyon full of ladders. Without the ladders you would need to be a rock climber to do this hike as it is well passed scrambling, although there is still a bit of that as well.
The adventure begins with 5 miles of driving on dirt- ending up in a wash. When you exit the asphalt there is a sign saying “4 Wheel Vehicles Only”. It was nothing at all for my 4Runner TRD Pro, but we did see a few regular cars bouncing along slowly on the bumpy road taking a beating on the washboard track.
We arrived at the trailhead mid morning and I guess we were not the only ones that heard that this was one of the Best Hikes in Southern California. Of course I will say that I am spoiled as I try to do my hiking during the week, but in this case that was not an option for my workaday friend.
As soon as we reached the first ladder there was a bottle neck of people. We were informed that was nothing compared to the 50 or more stopped-up a little further ahead. So we regrouped and decided to take the loop counter clockwise. This meant that we would do the ladder portion last going down the ladders instead of up. Seemed like a fine trade off.
During the counter clockwise route we first walked in a wash, a mixture of packed sand, and pea gravel. The Painted Canyon walls were stunningly beautiful and throughly rugged. The trail led up top to a view of the desolate surrounding desert hills, far off snow capped mountains and we could peer over the side down onto the canyon trek we had completed earlier.
We scampered up to a high spot on a hill overlooking the trail for a break. Not so much because we needed one, but it was nice to stop and take in the surroundings. Our reason for the pitstop was over the far hill hikers appeared like army ants swarming the trail. Apparently that bottle neck of outdoor enthusiasts had made their way to the mid point of the outing, so it was a good time to take a few steps off the trail.
In this area there seemed to be more than one route, we even got off course for a bit before rechecking our GPS trek and then doing a little cross country traverse down a rather steep, stoney hillside to get back on track. Between the start, where we turned back away from the crowd, and getting off course we added about a mile to our day, no biggy.
Most of the trail is pretty easy. Going down into the slot canyon portion was a bit more rugged, heed caution in this area. Watch your step as it is steep with some loose footing. After this point we got into the slot, wow was that cool. Love slot canyons and this was a good one to be sure! Narrow, winding and the rock changed in it’s texture and color. It was pretty amazing.
We were now in the last quarter of the hike and it was ladder time. A series of ladders are maintained by the Coachella Valley Hiking Club, I understand. That is very nice of them. The ladders are in okay shape, perhaps a bit rickety, so certainly look them over including the placement. I saw a couple of people that needed to take a breath before tackling them, but they really aren’t that bad. It was pretty fun as the only ladder I remember being on during a hike was at Arizona Hot Springs where it was quite rickety and slippery down a waterfall of hot water. Most of the ladders are just like you placed them against your house. One leads down into a tight hole, and another required a rope to assist you with a bit of a scramble as a means to reach the next level. All very doable, so not to worry.
Ladders Canyon and Painted Canyon Loop Hike was tremendous. We throughly enjoyed it. Keep in mind that it is pretty popular so if you can adjust your time to that different then most folks that would probably be preferable.
Thanks for joining Trail Boss Loren and myself as we found ourselves ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on ladders in a painted canyon. There are more adventures to be had. Stay with us by doing some or all of the following: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu above is chock filled with ideas and inspiration for your own adventure into Nature, something that we all need to balance out our busy lives. Each location or activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like the hat and shirt that I am wearing I have a full line of top quality Adventure Wear with the PBTA Logo and Mantra at SHOP APPAREL for your purchasing pleasure.
Mount San Jacinto Peak November 2, 2018
16.6 Miles, 5,219’ Gain
Three weeks after summiting Mount San Jacinto I was back. When I was there the first time it was with my friend Dexter. This time I went solo, and it was twice as far and twice the elevation. John Muir said the view from the top of this peak, one of the most prominent in the lower 48, was the most “sublime on earth”. Well, when I was there last time there was a monster storm rolling in so the view was less than stellar. Then my college friend, Jean Howarth Lindberg (Delta Gamma, OSU), jokingly commented, you took the Palm Springs tram to 7500 feet? She had done the Oregon portion of Pacific Crest Trail, and was not impressed, (of course she was probably in her 20’s). So this trip I left from Idyllwild, and the weather and the views could not be better.
I have been plagued the last few months with a racketball knee injury, but straight line seems okay even with a heavy pack. But it was hard last time, and it was hard this time. Last time I might have been dehydrated, and I definitely was feeling the altitude. When I arrived at camp in the dark last time I felt a little sick, and skipped dinner. I was better hydrated summiting this time, and perhaps a little more acclimated. But there were times, as I was being passed by 20 somethings that I was not sure I would make it. Like before near the top I was taking frequent breaks and breathing pretty heavy nearing the summit. But the big thing wasn’t the physical part because hard or not I knew I could do that, but I was also fighting the sinking sun. I did not want to be hiking in the dark again. Since I was taking another route, from the other side of the mountain, I made a deal with myself. If the trail I was on intersected where I thought it would, close to the top, I would finish. If however, it intersected much lower and I still had a long ways to go then I would skip the top. Because I certainly did not want to arrive back at camp in the dark again.
You see, on the first day once again I was caught after dark on a pitch black trail. I backpacked 5 miles to where I was camping. I left Idyllwild mid afternoon, but it was steep, the going was slower than I expected, and I had more weight, as I had to carry more food and water since this was a 3 day trip. I had two issues, both had to do with my camelbacks. One leaked in the trunk all over my backpack, so when I put it on it was wet. So I replaced the needed water with water bottles. Then while hiking my second camelback was leaking, again making me wet, and I was losing precious water. (I ended up having to ration the last day.) Anyway, the going was steep and slow with the heavy backpack, and I found myself hunting and pecking in the dark trying to make sure I was still on the trail. The trails are not always easy even in the daylight. At night, especially with it being Fall with lots of pine needles covering the ground, it can be quite difficult at times with a little head lamp. The temperature was dropping and I had a slight chill from being wet, mostly from the leaking camelback, but possibly from perspiration as well. Finally I was not sure I was still on the trail, and decided I would just pitch my tent and stay put until day break. When I turned around there was a sign saying Strawberry Junction, which was the designated camping area for the wilderness, sweet! So I made camp, fired up the stove and had 3 Sisters Stew. The boiling water in the pouch warmed my hands and I held it against my chest which was warming me up. Once I got in my tent and sleeping bag I was nice and toasty.
Day two was a 10 mile or so hike. It was a loop so I would have maximum views from all sides of the mountain. When I finally made it to the summit I did not enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. There were a lot of people up there since the weather was so nice. Almost all of them were from the tram and so their journey was much shorter than mine. I had to wait my turn for a picture with the summit sign. Also I was pressed for time as I was burning daylight and I did not want to be hiking in the dark again. So strangely enough I am enjoying the view from the top the same as you are through my pictures.
The view is great from on high.
I made it back to camp 30 minutes before sunset after enjoying some great views I had not seen before, although speaking of places where the trail is hard to see… I was so enthralled with the view that I missed a switch back. I thought to myself, this is like the worst trail ever. It is steep, loose dirt and rocks, the stickers are overgrown, hold it… this can’t be the trail. Obviously someone had been where I was before, but this definitely wasn’t right, so I back tracked and sure enough I had missed one of the zig zags.
After a great sunset and some backpack cuisine delight, I curled up in my sleeping bag. While backpacking it seems like I just cat nap all night. Which I suppose is better than last trip with the pouring rain and thunderclaps all night where I did not sleep wink. The funny thing is I would be thinking, okay it should start getting light out so at least I can get going and be doing something. I would check the time and it would be like 11:30 PM.
Day three was five miles back to Idyllwild. Another nice day with great views enjoying God’s creation.
Southern California is experiencing a Super Bloom giving us the best conditions in a generation. Just the perfect combination of rain, after an extended drought, the right temperatures, sunshine and lack of damaging winds are gifting us with magic that has only been seen on a Metro Goldwyn Mayer movie set where a young girl and her dog befriend three strange characters while trying to find the way back home.
Speaking of trying to find their way back home, the horrendous crowds this phenomenon has created has place a hard ship on local residents almost in tears as they are stuck in hours of freeway traffic trying to get home. It has really overwhelmed the area as they are getting 100,000 visitors on the weekends.
That being said, I arrived with my friend Adam on a weekday just after daybreak and there were already 100 cars there. But it was a good move as when we left there were miles of cars and throngs of people. I certainly would not want to be there on a weekend.
It was difficult making this blog as I had 100 pictures of poppies, and I knew they all looked similar, but I just couldn’t help it. With each step it seemed to get better, plus as the sun got higher the poppies open up. That coupled with after we finished the marked trail, you see on the map below, we heard about about an unmarked trail that was even better. It was only a half mile away so we did that trail as well, and you guess it click click click one pic after another.
I hope this article and the pictures do the event justice as it was really stunning to see this in nature. Even going through the pictures I had a tough time cutting out pictures of the poppies, so I hope that they do not put you to sleep as the Wicked Witch would hope.
1/3 mile, less than an hour in duration, approximately 50′ elevation change, rated Easy
Ortega Falls is in the hills above Lake Elsinore and is part of the Cleveland National Forest. It is just a short walk from the 74 Ortega Highway and you will need an Adventure Pass to park, (so I found out the hard way).
Ortega Falls is a seasonal waterfall so you will not always get to see the cascading water as it tumbles over the rocks. With the rains we have had this winter it was showtime for us and it was spectacular. Ortega Falls is made up of two waterfalls with the second just a little downstream from the first.
Speaking of showtime we had some tight-rope walkers that were doing their thing over the falls. How cool is that? A great water display as well as a circus act!
I will say as I have explored some falls in So Cal there is some tagging and I have tried to take my pics in such a way that it didn’t show them. But it is disappointing to see. I can’t believe people like that are even out in nature.
This shows the second of two falls that make up Ortega Falls.
Activity: Off-Road, Overlanding, Hiking, Spelunking, Rock Climbing, Scrambling, Camping
Wow, what an exciting and daring feat! This outing encompassed so many aspects of an thrilling adventure. My son Alec and I were on a Overlanding expedition of Afton Canyon and this was one of the exhilarating excursions as part of that jaunt. Can you tell that I am more than a little enthusiastic about this trek?
So as far as Spooky Canyon… The map that I have attached begins at the Campground that we camped at. The Afton Campground area is about 3.5 miles off the freeway., It’s a good campground with great views, park pit toilets, picnic benches, grills, fire pits and shade coverings. The campground is first come first serve and is $6.
The recommendation is that the dirt road off of the I15 Afton Road Exit is doable for most cars, but if you go beyond that point you should have a high clearance 4×4, as there is sand, dirt, rocks, and water crossings ahead. The map shows the Spooky Canyon Hike as 8 miles, but if you 4 Wheel to Spooky Canyon it is obviously much shorter.
It is a must to have GPS directions as it would be difficult to find the trailhead otherwise. We parked at the railroad tracks, where there is a small bridge, (not to be confused with the train trestle that you pass earlier). We walked under the tiny bridge to get to the Spooky Canyon entrance.
The Canyon is a very cool slot canyon with plenty of twists and turns, rock out cropping and unique rocks formation and walls, with places to squeeze by and scramble over. I don’t know that it ever completely encloses overhead, but it certainly leaves only the most dim skylights in places so that headlamps are a necessity. The hike is most interesting, but where it kicks it up a notch or two is when you arrive at the ropes.
There are a half dozen or so climbing sections that range in 10-35′ in height with one having just a step in between before you begin again, so that one is basically a 60′ drop or so.
My teenage son thought this roped area was the greatest thing ever. It was vertical. You could find footholds and climb up the rope that had spaced out knots and some loops, (and not always in spots that you might need them.) I used a combination of the rope in one hand and a rock handhold in the other and hoped that if the rock handhold came off in my hand that I would be fine with my body weight dangling by one hand on the rope. The first sections going up, (of course up is always easier than going down, which was something that was weighing heavy on my mind, but certainly not the gun ho teen’s), were not too bad. It was the last section that was the most intense as it was higher and was the section that basically had two rather dramatic climbs pieced together.
My son climbed up no problem as I waited to see how that went and wondered was there something up there that worth the effort and dangerous undertaking. All I heard from up above was the crunch of gravel as Alec plodded off down the next corridor. “Alec? Alec?” No response… So I waited about 5 mins and though, Oh the heck with it and started climbing. It would have been nice to have someone there to know if I made it or not… teenagers, lol.
At the top of the climb were more twists and turns of a slot canyon. The roof finally opened up into bright blue sky and I continued along the path of sand, dirt and rocks with steep walls all along. After 10 minutes or so along the route Alec returned to me and accompanied me the rest of the way. The track ended with a scamper up a desert hillside of loose rock to an incredible view of the entire area.
After a snack we headed back enjoying the beauty of this awesome spectacle known as Spooky Canyon. Back to the ropes, only this time it was down, which as I said previously is always harder. Mr. Showboat grasped the rope and leaned back using grip strength on the rope as if he was in a climbing harness, which he was not. I objected to this method saying what if your hand slipped… but to no avail. Then I told him the other problem with your technique is that in the pictures it makes it look like you are just on an incline with a rope instead of vertical, but whatever, lol. We both made it and I will say it was a most energizing and stimulating experience.
Once we exited the canyon there was a long freight train going by which was an excellent sight to observe right in front of us.
Thanks for checking out this invigorating, interesting and eerily beautiful ‘Spooky Canyon’ hike, with my son Alec and I. We highly recommend this hike although to complete it you should be athletic and fearless. You have to put a lot of trust into the ropes as you are forced to question, how good are the ropes? How long have they been there? Who set them up, tied the knots and how were they placed? So if I was to rename this canyon it would be “Sketchy Canyon”, lol! It did appear that the lines were in descent shape and that whoever put them there knew what they were doing, but still… So that you do not miss out on the rest of the adventure in Afton Canyon please COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu you will discover that PBTA adventures to many fabulous locations all over this great West of ours. Each location or activity is a separate Website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Hopefully this expose has encouraged you to plan your own exciting adventure in Nature. It is so important for all of us to take a mental and physical break from the rigors of everyday life with its stresses, routines, and even boredom. Adventures in Nature is what ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ is all about. Nature heals, it is big medicine. If you need adventure wear I literally have you covered please checkout SHOP APPAREL.
8 miles, 1,237’ elevation gain, 4 hour duration, rated Moderate
I discovered that a person that I sail with went mountain biking on the same day I biked at Crystal Cove. She told me that she biked Chino Hills. I had not heard much about this area and was of the opinion that it would be more of a urban type of hike, but decided that I would check it out just the same. My research of the current Spring conditions at Chino Hills State Park made it look intriguing with green rolling hills. I choose a hike that looked like it covered a good amount of ground, but then extended it to be as far away from others as possible, such that I could get that more natural, on my own type of Zen like feel that I seek when I hike.
The best way to get away from it all was to pick something a little steep and higher up then most everyone else would do. If you see my map I went clockwise up to a ridge. The ridge was great as it provided a bird’s eye view of the area, the mountains off in the distance including snow capped Mt Baldy, the rolling green hills all around me, the interior of the park, and unfortunately the sprawl of urbanization, and some power lines which is something I try to get away from when ’Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Still if I looked where my feet were taking me and glanced off to the green hills to my right then all was good, that is once I got passed the power lines.
Here are some of the particulars in regards to the route. I parked on the street at the corner of Elinvar Dr and Sapphire Rd. Doing this will get you into the park earlier then the 8AM that the drive into the park opens and saves you the cost of parking. If however you park where I did on a Tuesday, on Street Sweeping Day, which is not well marked, and you will get a huge frick’n ticket… Unfortunately I speak from experience.
The asphalt drive into the park is Bane Canyon Drive, so that is the beginning of the trek and it is somewhat steep. At the top of the incline you can go onto dirt hiking trails left or right, I went left and there was a trail sign pointing towards East Fence Line Trail this led up more incline until you make your way onto Bane Ridge. It was cool hiking along this spine and there is even one spot that you are on a sort of a knife’s edge with steep drop offs on both sides. This goes on until you finally take a left turn on to the wide Pomona Trail. Stay on that trail until you see the old windmill. Just in front of the windmill turn right back onto East Fence Line Trail. I pretty much had all of this section to myself which is just the way I like it. The trail will run along a fence line, thus the name and finally empty out on to Long Way Around Trail where you go left. It is a short distance to Corral Trail where you will have some really pretty views as you head downhill. I found some lovely patches of poppies and the green hills and canyon were very special. Once you get down to the bottom of the trail you need to get to the paved road in front of you by taking a short cut little trail or go to the right and then loop back to the left. Up the hill for a scenic view and then turn to the right to the Equestrian area. There is a shaded picnic area there and a bathroom. Go straight ahead up Bane Ridge Trail. You will stay on this trail all the way back to Bane Canyon Drive, the paved road and on out. Along the way through a series of hills, on a winding path, I found more poppies and the Black Mustard was in bloom. This is a sort of day glow yellowish green tinted invasive species, a weed basically, but it certainly adds color in the Spring.
So summing up the area. I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the park was especially in the Spring when it is so green. The power lines and the urban views from the ridge were a turn off, but otherwise I liked it.
Thanks for hiking along with me as I checked out what is a new area for me all in the name of ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. I loved the rolling green hills, the canyons, and the wildflowers. Despite what I mentioned regarding the urban views from the ridge it was fairly remote along the first half of the trek and in one spot maybe even a little wild. I found fresh scat and a half eaten bunny so it certainly wasn’t that tame of a spot. It was a good place to leave the troubles of the outside world and wandering the paths. Nature clears your thoughts and restores some balance and that my friend is what PBTA is about. So stick with me for more healing through nature’s open arms. This can be accomplished simply by doing this: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu is a great resource for you when planning your next outdoor adventure. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. You will find my Pursuing Balance Logo and Mantra on high quality Adventure Wear for purchase at SHOP APPAREL.
6+ miles, 1,500’ elevation change, four hour duration, rated Hard
This is an outstanding outing in nature that has just what you are looking for when you are ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. It has grand alpine scenery with a rugged canyon, picturesque peaks, old growth stands of pine and cedar, a babbling brook and a hidden treasure being a three tier 80’ waterfall that is a little hide and go seek in nature.
The first part of the adventure is just getting to the trailhead. By the way, you will need an Adventure Pass for Parking or other suitable pass for the National Forest. There is about three miles of gravel road that sometimes is pretty torn up depending on when it was last worked on. Many people believe that you need a 4×4, but I would say a truck or SUV with descent clearance would do.
Once the trek is underway there is approximately a mile of switch backs to maneuver and the view gets better with every step. This portion of the trail can be steep with some portions that are rather narrow, dusty and rocky.
You will work up to a forested area with some magnificent trees which is much appreciated on a hot summer day. I would suggest an GPS Map App to follow as finding the actual hidden gem of a falls is not easy. It’s off to the left of the main trail at about the 2nd mile or so, across some dry creek beds, off trail, sort of bush whacking your way in hopes that you are going to find the correct finger heading up. I trusted my intuition while verifying my steps with the GPS Map App. This can be frustrating and not everyone finds their way. I soon was on the path, and when I say path it is not much of a path as you are soon doing some creek crossings, log walking, rock hoping, and scrambling along a glorious little stream. There are some little pools collecting along the way of clear cool water until you lay eyes on the main event a gorgeous 3 tier 80’ waterfall cascading down the rock face to a crystal clear reflecting pool. The water is cold even in the summer, but it feels so good after the hike up. Rejuvenation and relaxation is in order as you soak up this treasure’s bounty.
On my way back I made a bit of a loop dropping down off of the main trail to Stone House Camp a rocky area along a stream with wonderful deciduous shade trees for a reprieve of the afternoon heat. There is only a foundation of what must have been a small stone house and you could pitch some tents here, but it is not really a camp, but still it is a scenic and restful spot. From here you reconnect with the main trail once again making your way back to the trailhead.
Most people love this hike, but not all… some complain of bugs, not finding the falls, being worried of the narrow trail with big drop offs, and the condition of the road to the trailhead. Sounds like paradise and adventure all wrapped up in one ball know as attitude and perspective.
Thanks for joining me chasing waterfalls while ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. This time I really was chasing waterfalls as the last half mile push was off-trail, traipsing about hoping that I was somewhere in the vicinity of the falls. Thank goodness for GPS mapping or I would probably have turned around. I suppose that it is all part of the adventure of finding this hidden gem. The good part of the difficulty is this special spot has not been destroyed and trashed by graffiti as some of our Inland Empire Waterfalls have. Speaking of Adventure, for more profound outing in nature, with me as your host, please complete the following simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you peruse the menu above you will discover that PBTA ventures to incredible spots all over the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Please stop by and purchase our top quality Adventure Wear at SHOP APPAREL, such as the shirt on my back. It not only looks great and carries the mantra, but helps support this endeavor.