With all three of my nephews were in school during the week we had them choose the hike we'd all do together, and this was by far the #1 choice, favored by my older sister as well. It was a great choice... reasonable length, more shade than sun, nice falls and a moderate climb of 800' AEG over the length of the hike (the extra 400' was due to my climbing up and down at the falls multiple times).
Since my youngest nephew was a Steve Irwin devotee, this hike was more about catching and releasing whatever critters we came upon, including crickets, spiders, lizards and fish. He was hoping to find a few snakes, having found gopher, bull and rattlesnakes along here in the past.
A note of interest here:
We cancelled our trip to visit them last year due to him being bitten by a rattlesnake followed by a couple-week stay in the hospital along with dozens of doses of anti-venin, with his hand and arm swelling to over four times normal.
As much as he already knew about snakes I asked him what he was doing grabbing a rattlesnake by the tail. He said it looked like a gopher snake but turned out to be a young rattler with no rattle, and being young it wasn't stingy with its venom. Now that he's had the experience he has decided against becoming a rattlesnake milker.
Needless to say, both my sister and Tracey were happy no snakes were encountered on this hike. I believe the total critters caught-and-released was 16 Western Fence Lizards, a Southern Sagebrush Lizard, some kind of spider that caught a fly right in front of us, a Camel Cricket, and one small trout.
Oh yeah, the water at the falls was so cold it was quite painful, although after only a minute or so of wading the effect was so numbing I felt nothing. Once out of the water, within a few minutes my legs had a weird but very welcome warm feeling. So welcome that I wanted to experience it again so along with my youngest nephew I went back in again and got the same feeling again. But twice was enough.
After the requisite family photos we took a leisurely walk back to the TH, well the ones who weren't still catching critters anyway. But it was a great hike with three boys who truly love the outdoors... nothing like the field-trip brats yesterday at Lassen. Hopefully everything works out and they will take the trip to AZ with my sister next year and we'll hike every day for a week. And yes, we will be hunting rattlesnakes among other things.