Friday, March 31

The Ultimate Waterfall Hike – green mountain water and sanitation

I am continuing my mission to hike to as many waterfalls as possible this summer and this is the ultimate – Big Basin State Park, Berry Falls loop hike! I have put off this hike partly because it’s so long, 11 miles round trip and I need to get to the park early to start. So, I picked a Wednesday because the crowds would be lighter. This hike is in my 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles book by Jane Huber. My goal is to complete all of these hikes eventually! So far I’ve done 18, long way to go…

Starting at the ranger station like usual and paid my fee and

started in the direction that the ranger pointed, there were 2 trail closures marked on my map but it didn’t really affect my plan.  There were surprisingly quite a few other hikers along the way, this was a popular hike.

I started at Redwood trail next to the parking lot and followed the signs to Sunset trail.  Sunset trail goes up and down through the redwood forest and eventually peaks in a brushy area with views down into the valley.  I passed many banana slugs along the way.  I continued on until reaching Golden Falls.  The water flows down a large smooth rock that has a golden tint.

Following along the trail and it begins to go down along rocky steps with cable handrails.  It was quite slippery and steep, I can only imagine what it’s like in winter and spring.  I passed along Silver Falls and hiked along the creek.  Eventually, the hike started down along Berry Creek Falls which was larger and more magnificent than the previous 2 falls combined!  The views from the trail were beautiful and the sound of the water was so loud!  The trail winds around to a bench with a perfect view of the falls.

After taking photos, I continued on my hike, it was a long hike and mostly uphill the way back but lovely and cool hiking through the forest.  Definitely worth the time and effort.  It’s so amazing to realize that there is such beauty in our backyard.  We are so lucky to live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Start/End:  Ranger Station at Big Basin State Park

Trails:  Redwood, Sunset, Berry Creek Falls, Skyline-to-the-Sea

Mileage:  11 miles

Has anyone been to the falls at Castle Rock State Park or Mount Diablo State Park this year?  Is there a lot of water?  Have I missed any not-to-be-missed waterfalls?

Hike Drink Read in Loch Lomond, Felton, CA – green mountain water and sanitation

One of my all time favorite books is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It speaks to me in a way that I can’t quite describe.  It’s a reminder to me to surround myself with a variety of activities to keep my mind and body healthy.  My own perfect day, aside from spending time with my family, is to hike, drink a good wine, and read a special book.  Hiking just clears my mind.  When I get out there away from the crowds and breathe the fresh air, and have time to think, I just relax and come back feeling refreshed.  I love wines and trying new ones; especially local wines.  And when I can’t hike, or can’t sleep, I love to read.  I devour books.  My husband has encouraged me more that once to look into being a professional reader/editor/reviewer.  Hmm, something I should probably consider more seriously…

So, here’s my Hike Drink Read recommendations for today.

Mountain Lion Habitat

Hike:  I recently drove to Loch Lomond in Felton, CA.  It was in my favorite hiking guide book of all time, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles San Francisco.  All I can say is, Amazing!  So beautiful, so peaceful, and only a 15 minute drive from Santa Cruz, CA.

I started at the beautiful marina area,  it was a Friday and there was lots of parking.  All of the hiking is pretty much on one side of the loch.  I began by hiking along the shore and heard the murmer of fisherman’s voices as I passed along the trail.  It was so so peaceful, there was no sound from the freeway, and the hike along the path was cool and lovely.  As I hiked along the trail, there were not very many other hikers, but there were a lot of people fishing.  It made me want to come back and rent a boat and fish!

As I started hiking up and away from the loch, I became a little nervous about mountain lions, I know they live and hunt in the Santa Cruz mountains, but they are nocturnal.  The only wildlife encounters I had that day were with a squirrel, a reddish brown lizard, and a banana slug.  I did hear a woodpecker and a bull frog.  The most vicious of all the wildlife I encountered were the annoying gnats that started buzzing around my head after about 30 minutes into my hike.  They buzzed for over an hour and the only thing I could do was fan them away with my trail map!

Loch Lomond Dock

When I reached the top of the hills, the views to the loch were amazing!  It really felt like I was in Sasquatch country, I was surrounded by mountains and evergreen trees.  I hiked along and eventually the trail started back down towards the loch and and the lovely picnic sites at the base of the trail near the road.  The trails got a little tricky but I only back-tracked twice.  The little shop at the marina rents boats and sells bait, snacks, drinks, and very cool hats.  I can’t wait to go back with fishing poles!

Start/end: Loch Lomond marina parking lot

Trails: Loch, Highland, Gilchrist

Mileage: 4.9

Drink:  I love to try local wines and beers and I’m loving Soquel vineyard’s Trinity Bianco blend.

Sword Fern

Read:  I’ve been wanting to recommend some of my favorite books for this year.  Currently, I’m reading Lessons From Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott.  I’ve read it twice before and I love that it reminds me to savor and enjoy everything in life and that we don’t need a lot of fancy or material items to live a beautiful, glorious life.

Before that, I read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.  If you haven’t read it yet, it is amazing and such a moving story about 2 young women from Africa and how their descendants led such different lives following multiple generations, I couldn’t put it down.  There is a lot of hype out there about it, because it’s such a brilliant work.

Before that, the Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.  She’s one of my favorite authors and everything she’s ever written has been amazing.  I love how both these last two novels have characters that immigrate to the US.  Both are about women coming to the US, which is so very relevant in this time of regulating immigration. Do you have any favorite all-time books that you read over again?  Do you have any favorite new books to recommend?  Has anyone ever fished at Loch Lomond?