I'd had this trail in my wish list for a couple years and got reminded by J. Larson's recent hike
Most of my hikes aren't a "want" scenario but a "need." I need to get away, therefor I do.
Of course I researched all I could ahead of time on HAZ and printed out the directions and nifty little map. Half of my fun comes from the planning (ask me about my map room
Anyway, it looked like it was family duo on this one so my sis and I drove out and up to the trail. We stayed above the washboard most of the way off the highway until we caught up to a slower vehicle on the curves. Sometimes that's a good thing for me, slows me down, keeps me in check. Anyway about 1.5hrs and we were suiting up at the trailhead.
I think there were about three other vehicles parked there. We met two groups coming out as we were switchbacking.
I finally got a link cord this week for the old abused etrex I traded a friend my iQue M5 for (which as nice as it is on paper, somehow doesn't "do" tracks but was free for some work I did anyway). I still have my old 3600 which I would love if the internal battery didn't only last for an hour. I keep it because I would miss it in the vehicle for its color topos and also miss for its solitaire and MP3's on certain secluded sit down occasions.
Anyway, less coffee ramblings and more on topic trip stuff. The point was, I got to do my very first official route for this trail instead of powering up the other GPS 6 different times along the trail like usual to just ease my mind on my whereabouts.
So the trail- Not too much to think about on the way in. After boulder hopping and some climbing later on in the day, the steep side took a little toll.
Did the down stream, loving the water sounds the whole way. Also did the long legged brotherly thing where you hang back just a little but still let sister legs make it on her own for her own piece of mind.
Got a few steps too close to a descent sized Black Rattlesnake that was only sporting two rattles and seemed to to be stingey on the shakes on top. I only heard two hints of a rattle later on when he let me know that no he wasn't going to come out of his new shady position on his own for pics and to move it along. Other that that he was cool with us and us with he. (btw, nurse sister and I were wondering, if a bite should take place down in the canyon, would it be best to work the poison in by hiking out on your own legs for help or hope your partner could get some kind of help for you as you waited much longer below?)
Anyway, most of the pools were clear and full. Plenty of 8ft mark spots to dip along the way.
When we got to the narrow section we went left-up then straight down.
The rope down to the Dipper was pretty tricky. From above, at its position on the left, it dropped you right into the water. I free climbed it down a little further over since I was wearing my unwettable camera and gun. Dana dropped down on it to the steep water's edge but then came to the realization that she wouldn't ever be able to touch the bottom and didn't want to get wet yet past the knees. She made me blow up one of the tubes and float it over but by the time it was ready, her arms had lowered her to the neck line anyway.
After bring her a tube and making her blow up mine, I took it and floated around, played in the waterfall and then tried to climb it. It did what I wanted to do but couldn't yet and slipperily slid me down, fully submerging me in the cold water. Of course the wind picked up just then and I retreated back into the sunnier part of the pool. For those curious, the pool is at current at least 18 feet deep, perfect for jumping (just make sure there is no unseen debris beneath!).
We let the sun get over the hill top, and took some better pics before deciding we were just about out of light for the trip back. We moved the rope over a bit so it could be accessed out of the water, but the assisted climb still required a bit of hand and toe work and an awkward chest oomph over the ledge.
Now that the sun was out of the picture, every waterfall looked like it needed to be photographed but I resisted somehow for the sake of time. At the narrows, I tried out the other side but Dana retraced her previous steps. It took longer over there and from my vantage point, the rock face looked a lot more severe. The frogs also started getting noisy along the way, calling back and forth along the creek. (Yet another side story: My previously non-camping brother-in-law, upon one of his first trips with us to Red Creek, ran all the way back to camp in the dark after exploring with his friend, because I needed to "come quick with the gun, because there was something out there!". This was the weekend right after the rabid mountain lion incident, so I asked him to detail me on what he heard. He said he couldn't explain it, he'd never heard anything like it before. I asked him to try and reproduce the sound before I went storming off into the night to find it on my own. His words: "It sounded like a digital goat." Well I went with him to the area the sound came from, having no idea what to expect. After a long dark silence, the tiny little camo frog in the crevasse finally spoke again. Before he could turn and run (thank God he is a little too much closet-Dem for his own gun), I showed my light over his monster in the dark, and you know what has happened ever since.
Dana and I both made it, kept on keeping on, missed our snake friend on the way out, crossed the creek for the last time and headed up to pay our toll on the steep in the fading light. We hit the vehicle at 7:15 and rolled down the hill lights ablaze until pavement was spotted.
Note: bring some bug spray. Not an issue until the shadows bring them out, and sometimes even the curious ones bite.