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Fred's Hiking Journal
July 2014
indian creek canyon

stream detail, Indian Creek
stream detail, Indian Creek

Sensing a break in a persistent heat wave, I vowed to get up at zero-dark-thirty and go for a hike up Indian Creek Canyon. I figured with the current drought conditions that creekbed hiking couldn't get much easier. Naturally, after a string of dozens of clear, hot days when I had to work outside, on a "hiking day" I woke up to overcast skies and complete darkness at 4:00am.

Getting to the Vista Point parking lot in a light rain and darkness, I took a nap in the back seat of the car until the rain stopped and it got light enough to see where I was going. Eager to be free of the hordes of humanity who swarmed around these parts over the 4th of July weekend, I had the trail to myself and made good time over to the canyon. Humping upstream I saw fresh sign of the bear that I'd seen on my last trip flattened depressions in the ground, large overturned rocks, worn away troughs across punk Cedar logs, and the occasional hornet nest strewn about. I actually enjoyed following my fur-covered bulldozer as he (or she) always seemed to prefer the exact path that I would have taken and if there were any branches or forest debris in the way the bear would plow it aside instead of gingerly stepping over it as a deer might do.

Alas, just as I passed the big waterfall on the right and began to get into the much narrower canyon above the rain started up again and made the rocks too slippery for safe "boulder hopping", so I turned around and headed back. On the way down I did manage to get off-track a bit and found it necessary to shift into "4-leg drive" for a short distance through a very dense clump of some kind of shrubbery. I'm always amazed at the sheer number of spiderwebs one encounters thrashing through the brush! Keep to the manicured trails and you might never encounter any, but turn aside and immerse yourself into the greenery and suddenly you're covered with a sort of exoskeleton of web material, twigs, leaves, bits of moss, and who knows what else.

root creek

new bridge on Root Creek Trail
new bridge on Root Creek Trail

I hadn't been up Root Creek in awhile and I was curious to see what the water level was like during the current "drought". There's been quite a bit of trail maintenance lately, including the impressive bridge [shown above] crossing the seep from Fern Spring.

As usual, the creek was dry above the spring-fed feeder creek upstream from the trails end, but below that point it was business as usual, as shown below.

Root Creek
Root Creek

Hiking up into the gorge below the waterfalls [shown below], I found several nice pools filled with clear, COLD water, showing that at least the recent thunderstorms were keeping them flushed, while the falls themselves were reduced to barely a trickle.

Continued up through the woods hoping to top out just below the Dome on the trail but the brushclimbing was more than my knees wanted to deal with so I came back down with a little under 6 miles of actual travel.

gorge on upper Root Creek
Castle Dome from gorge on upper Root Creek