12 miles, 3,500 Elevation Gain!
Hans, Bill, Julie
“Do you love waterfalls enough to be willing to grunt out a 3,500 foot elevation change?....
The other problem with Murietta is that it is an ephemeral fall and is only there for a very short time after a rainy period. Graciela was more than willing to do the hike and we scheduled the one weekend we could do it. I woke up to find it is snowing in Lompico – a rare event and one not to be missed. Weather conditions cancelled the hike (and I’m glad we made the choice – it would have been a miserable hike in the rain).
I told my husband Bill, that I would do it alone the following weekend if I had to. I asked our friend Hans and when he agreed to go, Bill said, “Of course, I’ll go, too!”. I had my team. The waterfall is outside of
We got to the trailhead and quickly packed up and hit the trail. Right off the bat – steep uphill climb. 2.4 miles up! It was a fire road so the grade was steep. No switchbacks here. Bill took off like a shot – but we all eventually hit our strides and shared the lead. I came around a corner of the trail and there was a bull in the middle of the road. Well, maybe it was a cow – but it had big horns and it wasn’t moving – just looking at me. I waited for Hans and we got around the cow somehow.
The road was either steep up or steep down. Eventually it turned into a pleasant path next to a stream. I never thought I would be so happy to see switchbacks. Then back into the rolling hills. It seemed like we would never get there. I had serious doubts about making it back out.
To get to the falls you have to circle around the back of it making almost a U turn around the fall. There you scramble down about a ¼ mile. About halfway down the scramble Bill said, “I’m too tired to go on, let’s stop here.” You had a sideways view of the fall from there. I was so tired I thought he was serious and I was ready to give up going all the way down for the full fall view. I got ready to sit down. “I’m joking” he said.
The bottom of the falls is in a steep canyon. There weren't too many places to sit and there were already several groups of hikers in the close-up spots. We found a perch and had a quick lunch. Not a lot time to rest. The waterfall was a bit anticlimactic, I’m afraid. The photo had made it look like
Hans was eyeing the terrain. We were at the bottom of a grassy canyon. The side walls were steep – maybe a 70 degree angle. Hans said, “We can climb straight up this hill – the trail is right at the top. It looked like a scary proposition to me, but I was so tired I agreed. We zipped up the side in about five minutes and saved at least 40 minutes of hiking. I was so encouraged that I ended up getting a second wind and sailed back – making good time and feeling great.
We stopped and climbed a giant rock which gave us a great view. That’s the photo of me and Hans on the rock. It was steep going downhill – but still easier than climbing up. When we got back to the car, Hans and Bill cracked open beers and I went to the bathroom. A shepherd with hundreds of sheep surrounded the restroom. I was really impressed with the way the sheepdog moved those sheep to the commands and whistles of the shepherd.
When I came out a sheriff’s car had pulled up and an officer was talking to Bill and Hans. Turns out you can’t have beer in the parking lot – though you can at the picnic table 10 feet away. They explained we were so busy getting on the trail that we didn’t read the sign – which was true. He was very nice about it and let it go as a warning. We happily drove back to
Lessons Learned: Sometimes taking a short cut is the right decision. Don’t drink beer in the parking lot at Del Valle lake.