Hike Date: February 14 2015
Miles: Approx. 10
Hours: Approx 8 (including rests)
Hiking 4 the Homeless had a Valentine’s Day hike I decided to participate in. Basically a bunch of crazies dressed up in pink and brought refreshments and lunch to a nice break place underneath the bridge where we could watch bungee-jumpers and (for the really crazy ones) get in the water.
The hike started a bit early, which was good due to the weather that has been happening lately (upper 80’s low 90’s in FEBRUARY!?!?). After meeting at 5:45 AM, we started heading to the trailhead just after 6:00, heading up highway 39. The trailhead is always busy on the weekends, and even as we pulled up the main parking area was already full (fortunately there is ample parking on the street leading to the parking lot).
The hike down the fireroad to the permit station and second bathroom seemed to start waking everyone up, which was good since if they didn’t wake up now they certainly would at the first water crossing. After everyone had a chance to get their bearings, and we got a permit, it was time to start heading towards the trail.
The trail runs roughly parallel to the river crossing back and forth over it several times, and especially early in the morning the water is a bit brisk. I personally don’t like balancing on things and risking falling in, so I just wear my water shoes and just go straight into the river (plus then I can help everyone else cross safe and dry).
The hike to the bridge is very pretty, but apart from the water crossings, it is one of the easier hikes I like to do (roughly 800 feet total elevation gain, most of which is in the final 1.5 miles or so before the bridge). The bigger issue we had to contend with was heat, which starts getting bad as soon as the sun gets over the ridges protecting the canyon, but thanks to our early start wasn’t terrible before we were on the final exposed stretch of fire road heading back to the cars.
There was a lot of foot traffic on the trails, some of which I think was the bungee jumpers, although I thought they used to corral all of the jumpers together and make them hike in a big group, but perhaps they have rescinded that policy (which is nice because getting stuck behind them was terrible).
Overall, this hike was a lot of fun. I got to chat with people who I haven’t seen in several months, plus I got to meet a few new people (making new friends is always fun).