Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Whiskeytown Falls - Redding

Whiskeytown Falls
Redding - CA
June 19, 2009
3.5 miles
2 hours
Dave, Mike, Julie, Nick, Sarah, Kevin

I have been wanting to do this hike for several years. During the winter months, the trail was closed. I had thought that Nick and I had hiked to Whiskeytown Falls the year before, but it turned out that was Brandy Creek Falls. This hike was a family affair. My Uncle Dave from Wisconsin, brother Mike from Minnesota and my nephews Nick and Kevin and niece Sarah were all up for the hike.

We had gathered in Redding to celebrate my dad's 80th birthday and the morning after we hit the trail. Sarah and Nick drove from the hotel with me and Uncle Dave drove his rental and picked up Mike and Kevin from Mom and Dad's house.

It's been a couple of weeks since we did this hike - so the details are a bit hazy. Dave, Nick, Sarah and I had hiked the Old Mine Trail in Whiskeytown the day before. This one was about equivalent in length and elevation, but much more shaded and scenic with the big pay off of all the falls at the end.

The trail started downward after the trail head. Not the best sign, since this is an out and back hike, so you know that we would be hitting uphill at the very end of the hike.
It wasn't too much of the downhill however before you started the climb. I had heard there was a bit of uphill in the hike and it turned out to be true.

Dave was stylish in his sun hat and walking poles. He set out a good pace that he maintained throughout the hike. He walks daily in Wisconsin and is in great shape. He definitely felt the uphill of this hike, but kept plugging along at it.

At the bottom of the first downhill, we caught up with the creek. Now was the beginning of the climb. There were nice bridges for all of the creek crossings.

The three younger Kowalewski's all stuck together on the trail, though Kevin would often run ahead. Mike was taking up the caboose, since he was carrying a gallon of frozen water and was stopping to take pictures along the way.

The climb was steady, but the trail was wide. Dave wondered how the trail was made. I suspected it was old fire or farm roads. There were a few places the trail was eroding, but it was for the most part well maintained.

There were strategically placed benches along the way. Here the Minnesota Kowalewskis take a break.

Here is the second bridge which was at the top of the main climb. The path got narrower after this above the creek. Soon we came to the bottom of the falls. There was a large open area at the base of the falls and a steep iron railing leading to the upper falls.

Here are Kevin and Sarah above the lower falls.

Father and son at the top.

Dave contemplates the lower falls. He wasn't sure that he would climb the narrow railing to the top, but he did.

Here is a shot of Mike and the railing to climb up to the upper falls. The path is narrow and muddy, so it's nice to be able to hang on to the rail.

This is the view from the upper viewing platform. It was a really sweet waterfall.

We enjoyed the falls up above and then sat at a log at the base of the falls. Uncle Dave started back early, since he was travelling slower then us, he thought, though we never caught up to him until the parking lot.

The hike out was a breeze, since it was mainly downhill. Even that little uphill at the end didn't bother us. We met a man and his son in the parking lot who had a form for all three waterfalls in Whiskeytown. There was supposedly a post where you could do a rubbing and if you did it for all three falls - you got a free scarf at the ranger station. No one had told us about this program.

It was an enjoyable morning and a hike that I will definitely repeat. It was great to hike with my family.

Lessons Learned: Postponed pleasures can be worth the wait.

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