Upon Battered and Beaten Legs We Walk

19 June 2013 in Memories, Trails/Hiking, Traveling, Yosemite National Park

Lookout Point Hetch HetchyWith almost ten miles logged the previous day we awoke late on Lindsay’s final day off this week; legs afflicted with various pains shooting reminders of the wear and tear the trail can bear. We let the morning pass us idly, not wishing to waste the day, but also in no hurry to find ourselves summiting another strenuous trail.

By lunch we had decided there was still a little life left in our lower appendages and so we proceeded in searching for their limits. A short trail couldn’t hurt and with the sun shining high in the cloudless sky how could we spend our time doing anything else? Lookout Point would be our destination. A short jaunt of a little over a mile would carry us up to an overlook providing views of the Tuolumne River Valley, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and the surrounding high country.

Spreading PhloxThe trail was easy compared to the previous day’s endeavor, but on our sore feet the climb was still a challenge. Taking in small clusters of wildflowers and fluttering butterflies eased the pain as we crossed little pools of water with grand bounds or tightrope style upon fallen trees. The hike up was a pleasant one. And as we circled and ascended a large dome of granite the views offered were more than worth the effort.

Atop this high point we sat. Far above Hetch Hetchy with views of Wapama Falls we were once again on top of the world. Gentle breezes graced our faces as we laid out on the huge, slightly rounded expanse of rock. Here we lay, myself day dreaming and Lindsay actually dreaming, having fallen into a short sleep. If the air were a hair warmer and the breeze a touch gentler we may have laid here all day. We saw no other hikers along the trail or during our stay, it was an ideal place to take in nature.

Carlon Falls - Stanislaus National ForestWe reluctantly left after awhile and proceeded back down the trail and to the truck. But with daylight to burn, as well as the last of our legs and feet, we hit one more trail on our way back. On the way in we had passed a sign for Carlon Falls. A set of trails along the Carlon River that Lindsay’s supervisor had suggested for trail running. In no condition to run we took a casual walk down the dirt path. There was no sign to mark the distance to the falls and so we were left in that questionable predicament of “how far should we go before turning back?” You find yourself hurrying down the trail a little in hopes of finding a clue or coming upon your destination. No matter when you decide to turn back it seems silly considering the end of the trail might be right around that corner just ahead or up over this last hill.

In cases like this I use time as a deciding factor. I’ll allot us a specific amount of time to reach our target and at the end of that time if there’s still no sign we’ll turn back. Luckily in this case Carlon Falls fell within this allotted amount of time and after cresting and descending a very steep hill there was the roar of yet another waterfall.

Unlike the vertical giants of Yosemite Valley or Hetch Hetchy this falls reminded me of the waterfalls I’ve seen in Wisconsin. High on the hill there was a shelf of water perhaps forty feet wide spilling over its rather level edge and dropping it about 15 feet. Below the main falls the water ran through a series of boulders and fallen trees creating rapids and smaller waterfalls before settling back into the gentle flow of a river.

Spent from nearly 18 miles of hiking in the course of three days we headed home. Lindsay would begin another work week tomorrow and I would start my first week on the job in just a few days.

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