Grab some popcorn and watch my newest waterfall madman release. Please share and subscribe!

For my Black Friday, as I always do every year, long before REI ever came up with the idea, I go out hiking. My hike this year was going to be an epic one, but unfortunately did not quite turn out that way. It was a long one, however. I hiked 17 miles; I started my hike before sunrise, and it ended after sunset. Wow!

I started at the Salt Springs Reservoir hiking into the Mokelumne Wilderness. All access roads to the reservoir have been closed due to storm damage from last year. Two of the roads are still closed. I noticed on the Eldorado NF website, however, that Ellis Road is now open. It seemed like the perfect time to get back here. This road will be closed soon for winter, but it is not closed yet, and the river would be flowing strong as well. It was going to be awesome.

Surprisingly, I was not the only one out so early at Salt Springs Reservoir. There was a car parked at the trailhead where a fisherman was sleeping in his vehicle. I think I woke him up, but he did not seem to be upset about it, and we chatted briefly before I started my hike. Even though I started early, the hike to the end of the reservoir took longer than I thought it should. I do not really understand why. I also found a multitude of ticks. The first ticks I have seen this season, and there were a heckuva lot of them. It is only November, far too early for ticks. I was constantly swatting them off the brushes with my hiking pole as I hiked along the trail. By the end of it, the ticks had worn me out. Literally. And I think it cost me a bite. When you get to the end of the reservoir, there is something else to worry about too: poison oak. Somehow, I managed to get in the wrong place, right in the middle of the stuff. Fortunately, I somehow managed to avoid getting the big itch, which is a miracle, considering how late it was before I could get home and wash myself down.

So I was already running late, tired from swatting ticks, and already in the poison oak. I took a long distance photo of the Blue Hole Falls which I have been to previously, then continued hiking up the river. There is no more trail, or not much of one anyway, but it is fairly easy going. I did not see any ticks in this area, thankfully.

I came to this 20 ft. high waterfall, which is called Island Slide Falls by the kayaking community. It is easy to see why it is called this, as the river splits around rocks at the top of the falls. It is a gorgeous slide. I debated about even going to this waterfall because it is out of the way, and delayed me even more. As it turned out, I am glad I did go here.

From here I retreated in order to climb up the mountain. I went the wrong way up and it took much longer than anticipated. More delays. Frankly, I thought I was going to get cliffed out and not be able to get all the way up, but I made it up successfully. I then started going down the other side. Now I did get cliffed out. There was a tremendous amount of brush, and major cliffs. I could not get back down to the river. I retreated back up the mountain, and ate my lunch at the top. The views of the Mokelumne Wilderness are stunning from here. However once again, I could not get to Fantasy Falls as I had hoped to do. Will I ever try it again? Yes, for sure I will. After I ate my lunch, I did find a possible route down. I don’t know if it will work or not, but I marked it with my GPS. I think next time, however, I will backpack in here. That will give me more time.

I went back down the mountain (the proper way). It was late, I was tired, I was out of water, and I still had 7 miles to hike back to the car. I filled my water reservoir in the river, then made the long hike back. I tried to hike at a fast pace on the downhill parts. I did not want to be hiking back in the dark. You cannot see ticks in the dark. I arrived back at the car just after it started getting dark. It was not until I got back home that I noticed I had a tick embedded in my backside. I had to get my daughter to get it out for me. It is odd that I did not notice it biting me beforehand. How long had it been embedded? Thankfully, it was not a bad bite. It was a long but beautiful day in the Mokelumne Wilderness.

No Comments

Leave a Reply