It was a much much warmer night compared to the previous night at Lord Meadow. My alarm did not go off for some unknown reason, and I wanted to get an early start, as I still had a big hike ahead. Also, I wanted to go back to the middle falls on Cherry Creek and photograph it. This was one waterfall I was not expecting on this trip. It is always nice to get a bonus waterfall. And it’s a good one too, about 40 ft. high.

It was a quick hike up to the falls. To get the best view of it, I had to cross part of the stream on Cherry Creek (not the huge and deep part of course). Not wanting to get my feet wet, I crawled out on a big log across the stream. I could not walk across it, so I had to scoot my butt along it. It was kinda funny looking. No one saw me. Not even the bears. Maybe a squirrel saw me, but I cannot be sure about that. Anyway, this got me into a much better angle to photograph the waterfall.

When I got back to the camp, it was still early. I packed up, ate breakfast, drank coffee, and relaxed a bit. Then I headed up the hill. It is a 1500 ft. climb to the top. When I came to the brushy section, I decided to stay more to the left of the stream. There were rock cairns here, and I assumed this was the proper way up instead of through the brushy part. At first it seemed a good route, and not too brushy. Near the top, however, I lost the rock cairns. Where did they go? Back through the brush? I decided to keep going straight up. It was much steeper, and a little brushy but far better than going back to the other side of the stream. I was concerned, though, that I might get blocked out by a cliff, or too much brush above me. Then what would I do? I’d have to go all the way back down. That would suck.

I pushed up ahead. I made it all the way up to the top above the brushy section, and eventually up to the trail again. From here it is downhill all the way back to the car and trailhead, but it is still 9 miles away. I felt really good in the beginning, and was ahead of schedule, but before long I started to become quite tired. It was a very hot day. My feet were hurting. I had to keep on going. It is a long road home.

Surprisingly, I happened upon some rangers who were doing trail maintenance work, clearing out trees on the trail. Overall, this trail is in bad condition. Many fallen trees on the trail, and a lot of brush. I do not think it has been maintained in many years. Thus it was quite a surprise seeing anyone up here, and so far up the trail. They were at least 7 miles from the dam. I made sure to thank them for clearing the trail. Although, it would not help me at all as it seemed they were just getting started. At least I hope that was it because I still encountered a heckuva lot of brush and fallen trees on the way down.

One of them asked if I had my wilderness permit, and he also asked me if I had packed out all my trash. Okay, I can understand asking about my permit, but asking if I packed out my trash is insulting. Clearly, I am a responsible backpacker and pack out my trash. Don’t all backpackers do that? I asked him in return if he wanted to see my dirty toilet paper. I was joking of course. I’m kinda glad I said it though, after that insulting question.

I wondered if the rangers had driven up the closed road and parked at the usual trailhead. I could not imagine they would hike 7 miles up the trail from the dam to do maintenance work. I was betting they had driven up the closed road. Perhaps they left their vehicle unlocked with the keys in the car, and I could steal it and drive back to the dam, saving me 4.5 miles of hiking. It would serve them right for insulting me. I’m kidding. However, I was very tired and delusional. Who knows what I would really do. It did not matter. I did not see their vehicle at the normal trailhead. I did not see their vehicle at the dam either. Perhaps they had driven partway up the closed road to where it was damaged badly (supposedly).

The last half mile walking along the dam seemed to take forever with the heat beating down on my poor head. Finally I made it to my car. I soaked my head with water. Then I made the long drive home, but of course stopped at Pizza Factory in Groveland first. I sure needed that.


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