The good news is that I was actually able to get to this waterfall. The bad news is that there is no clear view of it.

My initial plan was to go on a 12 mile hike (in the rain) to a couple other new waterfalls, including a big one. However, access to the area was closed because of active logging as a result from the King Fire in 2014. Three years later and the area is still closed to the public. Ridiculous!

However, there were no closed signs on the other side of the road, even though the fire reached on to this side as well. I decided to try Leonardi Falls, a much shorter hike, but potentially more difficult and dangerous. Also, it was snowing, not raining. There was a couple inches of fresh snow on the ground, and it continued to snow all morning. I was happy about that. Snow is much preferable to rain.

I tried this hike a few years ago, before the big fire. I could not make it to the falls at that time because the old road was far too overgrown with thick brush. I was swimming through it. I turned back before I was strangled by the brush. I had always meant to try the hike again with a more determined attitude, but the King Fire intervened.

As I hiked through the old burnt forest this weekend, I found the going much easier. Yet there was still a lot of brush on the road. At first, I thought the brush had not burned, even though all the surrounding trees had burned. As I hiked along, however, and passed the point where I had turned back before, I realized that the brush had indeed burned. This was all new growth. In less than 3 years, all this brush had grown back and it was becoming close to un-navigable already. Yet I continued on, past the point of no return (where I had turned back before), and towards the mysterious waterfall. I just hoped that none of this new growth was poison oak. It was all covered in snow, so I could not tell.

I did not really think I could get too far down the ridge to see the waterfall. In fact, I did not think I would even get a view of it. The ground was extremely saturated and very unstable. I did not want to get anywhere near the edge of a cliff today. But I kept going down and down. Past where I thought I would only be able to go. Down down down. It was not cliffy or dangerous. Finally, the waterfall came into view. I got down to a rock, which was secure and stable on the edge of the cliff (I hoped). I could not go down any further from here. Unfortunately, the trees were obscuring the view of this marvelous 41 ft. high waterfall. If the view was clear, it would be incredible. You can see from the photo that the fire reached all the way down to the falls. If those trees had toppled, then maybe the view would be clear. Or maybe not. There is a lower tier as well, a even bigger drop, and I got down to it also, but the view of that one was even more obscured. Oh well. At least I finally made it to this elusive waterfall. If not for the King Fire, I doubt I could have done it.


2 Responses to “THANKS, KING FIRE”

  1. Robin S Kent Says:

    Quite a challenge! Thanks for the post.

  2. Leon Says:

    Thanks Robin!

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