Monday, June 9, 2008

Waddell Creek - Berry Creek Falls

Big Basin State Park

Bike 10 miles

Hike 3 miles??

Julie and Bill

I bought a new cheap $80 mountain bike while up in Redding and wanted to try it out here.Ever since we hiked Big Basin to the Sea I have wanted to try to bike fromWaddell Creek to Berry Creek Falls. I kept looking at the trail and saying - even I can bike this. It seemed pretty level for the most part.

Because Bill doesn't have a bike we were
going to rent one. When I checked around I found that only one place rents bikes and we didn't want to go there. I talked to Tom Sullivan and he explained that the insurance is exorbitant for covering bike rentals, which makes sense. Finally our friend Brant said he would lend Bill a bike, but Hans while riding it from Brant's house ran off the road and messed up the gears so it wouldn't shift out of one gear. Ooops! Better than nothing, we thought.

We had a lot of errands to do in the morning before hitting the trail - including buying a bike locks and bungee cords to tie the bike down. We were planning on stopping at AuntieMames for breakfast, but decided to just grab something quick at McDonald. I haven't had many breakfasts there and when I flipped my paper place mat over for the nutritional information - I learned that my breakfast choice was the highest one in fat. I at over 50 grams of fat between the breakfast burrito and 99c breakfast sandwich! Oooooops! Good thing we were going to get some exercise.

The drive up the coast went quickly without too much traffic. Waddell Creek isn't that much beyond Davenport. We parked in the dirt lot overlooking the ocean and unloaded the bikes. It wascool and overcast which is just fine for a bike ride.

We crossed the
highway and were on our way. The
beginning of the trail is a paved road going through private
property. There is a small for with neatly planted fields and beautiful farm house. I joked that it looked just like my garden at home, which is sadly far from the truth.

The road eventually turns to gravel - but is relatively level. You actually going uphill most of the way, but you don't notice it until you are on your way back. That's my kind of grade.

A couple of miles in there is a backpacking camps which seems extremely popular. There was no-one on the trail until we passed a couple of hikers coming from the camp. The road winds thought the redwoods and lush ferns. It was shady and cool and we even felt a few droplets of rain.

We came to a steep narrow part where the road turned into a path with steep switchbacks. It was too narrow and steep to ride, so we walked that part. There were only two sections of the trail that I needed to
walk though.

Annoyingly, my brakes made a screeching noise every time I used them. This had happened when I first bought the bike - but then they had quieted down. Not on this ride. They
screeched the whole way. Bill was pedaling away in his one gear. Fortunately it was an easy gear for hills, but this meant when we were on the flats he was doing a lot of unnecessary pedaling. He of course didn't
complain about this. So there we were
Screechy and One Gear riding away.

It's five miles to the bike rack and we got there in about an hour. I remembered how long it had taken to hike it and was thankful for our bikes, regardless of annoying things like squeaky brakes.

There were about six horses and riders at the bike rack.
They asked if I had been to the falls before and whether it was worth seeing. I said yes, the
falls were really close. One of the guys was trying to tie up his horse who was not happy about being left. Someone else in the party said "that horse is going to have over the cliff". Which didn't install a lot of confidence in their ability with horses. I just wanted to get out of there.

>The hike to the falls took a little longer than I remembered. It seemed that when we were hiking it that bike rack came right up. It was still probably 1/2 to a mile hike. Berry Creek Falls was flowing, but wasn't full. Bill wasn't impressed being used to Rocky Mountain falls, but we had the platform to ourselves once the horse people left.

We hiked up to Silver Falls and had lunch there. It wasn't worth it to Bill to hike up to Golden and Cascade falls. The steps are cut in stone right next to the falls. When the falls are running full, it can be a little scary but it always invigorating.

I liked looking down from the top of the falls to see Bill down below.

Golden Falls is unusual in that the rock is a mud colored and when the falls are full, they look golden. Since they aren't quite full, they aren't as impressive. I hiked to the last fall and then back down to where Bill was.

As we hiked out we came a larger group of boy scouts or at least boy backpackers. After passing the main group, we saw one straggler, agangly boy who tripped, did a face plant and his glasses flew off. We stopped to help him. I couldn't believe that they had left him behind and that there wasn't an adult coming up. As we walked a bit further we came to the rest of his group, which was a relief.

We got back to the bike rack and started
back. It was amazing how most of it was downhill. We had been coming uphill on the way up without even realizing. Going back was a breeze. My squealing brakes were annoying of course, but it seemed like we were back in no time.

When we got back to the beach there were lots of Kite Surfers. I asked the only woman kite surfer I saw whether it was fun. She said, "it's great, but it has a huge learning curve. It took me three years to learn how to do it and that was coming out here every day". I decided that was too much of a time investment for me. Especially since I can't swim well. It did look like fun.

Bill and I stopped at the Roadhouse in Davenport for our post celebratory drink. Scott doesn't work there anymore, but the Bloody Mary was still tasty. It had been a great day and bike ride we will definitely do again!

Lessons Learned: You cover ground a lot faster n a bike. You get what you pay for.