We were still taking good advantage of Dave’s early finish (he was still wishing the alarm didn’t have to go off quite so early each morning!) each day and decided to spend Wednesday afternoon at Whiskeytown. We had hoped to attend the free kayak program, unfortunately we were too late calling to reserve anything – the down side of constant traveling is that I don’t tend to assess what’s available until the week we arrive, by which time it is often too late. Regardless, in the Visitor Center the fantastically informed volunteers told us about the Waterfall Challenge. If we hiked to all four waterfalls, we’d receive a prize. Becca’s ears perked up!
We drove out to the Brandy Creek Falls Trailhead, crossing right over the dam and photographing the bizarre Glory Hole Spillway – similar to an enormous drain-hole in a sink – designed to ensure there will not be any overflow issues.
The uphill hiking began immediately we left the car park, no-one was especially thrilled except Dave who was quite buoyant compared to the rest of us! We were walking along an old logging road – extremely hard to believe! We crossed bridges, witnessed debris brought down in the winter of 1997, made it to Lower Falls and then onward to the Upper Falls. It was a wonderful, just over three miles, hike, particularly toward the end as we had to climb the rocks to reach the Falls.
At each of the four waterfalls in the challenge a bronze rubbing needed to be completed in a special book. It was really a great idea and a fun way to encourage people to hike.
The return trip had us moving quite swiftly in an attempt to outrun mosquitoes and biting flies. We discovered that in Alaska they do serve a purpose: they assist with blueberry pollination. I almost feel that I could survive without blueberries in order to avoid being eaten by these book-sucking terrors!
Joshua joined us on Wednesday afternoon as we drove out to Whiskeytown Falls trailhead. I swear Jake and Joshua could ceaselessly hike for miles as long as conversation did not run out…..they chat…and chat!
Of the four, this was probably the toughest (and longest at almost four miles) hike. There was some shade but it was quite steep. The trail leaflet said: hiking up the path, try to imagine the logging trucks that regularly drove up and down this former logging road. Arthur Coggins, owner of the land and the Northern California Logging Company, selectively logged the area for Douglas Fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and incense cedar during the 1950s.
Undeterred though, we made it to the Falls, appreciating the beauty of the views as we hiked. Given that it was a Thursday, we were surprised by how many people were hiking this trail.
Photographer’s Ledge was the lower vista, the kids climbed up along with Dave to the Artist’s Ledge while I sat and enjoyed the momentary peace!
I had remembered bug spray today although realized that evening that my neck obviously wasn’t well enough covered – little suckers!
Crystal Creek Falls were the most accessible of the four – an easy half mile paved trail. These Falls were actually man-made when excess water from Carr Powerhouse was rerouted to Crystal Creek. The creek was moved about 50 feet to the left to make a shortcut over the creek, creating this picturesque waterfall.
Our final destination was Boulder Creek Falls. To reach these and ensure the shortest hike possible, we had to drive up the unpaved, 4-wheel drive only Mill Creek Road. Those who know Dave realize that this was pure bliss for him, and those who know me, will realize that it was sheer terror for me! Unsurprisingly given the challenging drive up to the start point, we did not encounter many people. It was a peaceful hike up through trees, over some rocks, and out to a lovely picturesque fall.
Before we left on Saturday, we stopped in at the Visitor Center to present the book with all the rubbings we’d completed at each of the four Falls. Becca was especially thrilled by her new red headscarf – apparently that made all the hikes worth it!