Yesterday, instead of writing (bad), I took to the road again, and went up to Eaton Canyon. I had this idea that hiking up to the falls would be an easy thing, that I would get great pictures for the travel article on Examiner (http://www.examiner.com/article/nature-lovers-hike-to-eaton-canyon-falls), and feel accomplished. The Internet assured me that it was an easy hike—one mile of flat followed by a mere ½ mile of rocky fun that ends far too soon. It assured me that everything was well-marked, easy to follow—even your two-year old could do it.
Ladies and gentlemen, in a surprise to nobody but me, the Internet lied. Or I really should have joined the Girl Scouts. What was supposed to be a mere ½ mile of rocky, good fun turned out to be a little longer than that because the paths weren’t so much set as they were treacherous suggestions. The pathiness of the rocks kind of depended on how good you were at discerning if that flatish rock in the corner was a destination marker, or just kind of a flat rock. On more than one occasion, I had to come back down from an elevation because I thought it was a path, but in fact, it was just elevated dirt and boulders. Did the lovely folks at Eaton Canyon post signs that warned me that I was leaving a well-marked, flat, actual trail for a “good luck with that one” destination? Yes. It’s one of those signs I should have really paid attention to along the way.
I was alone. I had no idea where I was going. And it felt like it was 100 degrees (when in fact, it was a mere 85-ish).
At more than one point, I did get lucky enough to see hikers coming out of the forest. They assured me that the waterfall was indeed “up ahead,” which was nice, but not really so much directional, as vaguely reassuring (and condemning because it meant I had to keep going). Add to this the fact that I was afraid to touch anything along the path because when I had left the well-marked actual trail, I saw this sign:
Soooooooo every time the brush moved, I assumed it was a rattlesnake, and I was terrified of touching anything green (or formerly green, but now red) while I was climbing over things. Sweet.
Maybe it’s easier when the creek bed isn’t dried up. Maybe flowing water would have pointed out trails. As it was, it just looked like another rocky way forward. And I almost didn’t go forward. At one point, which I now know was incredibly close to my final destination, I almost turned around—except I wasn’t entirely sure how to get back to where I started.
Yes, I finally got the waterfall—or what is left of the waterfall because it’s the dry season, and rain is but a distant memory. Was it pretty? Yes. Will you see pictures of it? Yes, if you go here: http://www.examiner.com/article/nature-lovers-hike-to-eaton-canyon-falls. Do I feel like I accomplished something? Eh, sure. If you count stumbling over rocks, going in circles while inviting sunburn, hay fever and heat stroke as an accomplishment, then I do.
But I think this video of me finding the picnic area near the parking lot on my way out sums it up best.
P.S. Actual hikers should go see the place. It is beautiful. People like me who think hiking could be a good idea if only it didn’t involve the out-of-doors and something like exercise, should stay at home on the couch.