Location: East Bay, Walnut Creek
Distance: 5 miles
Entry fee: $0
For our first hike we decided to try a simple, short loop. This area has a reputation of being hellishly hot and dry, so we figured the winter would be a good time to not only see a little more vegetation in the area, but also maybe catch one of the waterfalls which, as the placard at the trailhead put it, was the “ultimate goal” of our hike.
The beginning of the trail was relatively flat, following and eventually crossing over a babbling brook. There are a variety of trails that branch off of each other, so following the right path proved to be trickier than anticipated. About 20 minutes in, however, I had the directions torn from my hands by a fellow hiker (who will remain nameless) and was told I wasn’t “going to see nature if you have a piece of paper in front of your face, in the wilderness we just use the sun as a compass”. So the paper was put away and from then on we relied on pure instinct to guide us. 45 minutes later we ended up in…guess where…the wrong place.
After trekking up some very steep hills, the team as a whole concluded that we were a.) no longer anywhere near any water sources, b.) hungry, and c.) lost, so we decided to call it quits. Hike #1: failure. But we did get some nice views and hit up some awesome bar-b-que at Kinder’s Meats & Deli on the way home, so it wasn’t a total loss.
Lessons learned: bring a map. Especially if you want to see the waterfalls.