Some things can never be fully appreciated through others. Not feelings of grief or joy, or how hot and cold feel on the skin and not how it feels to watch a dance of color against water and slate. Today had a pretty big WOW factor but I wonder if it will translate …
The hike is about 4 miles or so roundtrip, but don’t be thinking it’s a walk in the park. It climbs almost immediately, so you get your 1000+ feet of elevation in just shy of two miles. It’s the kind of hike that demands attention to each step. One errant stride on root or loose rock and the ankle will twist in a most unnatural way. And there are lots of rocks and roots.
Last time I attempted this hike there was a sign that the bridge was out. It was early in the year so I took a pass. I had read that there is now a “makeshift bridge of logs” across the East Fork of Van Trump Creek so I figured I’d be fine.
It’s confusing, but doable.
Bottom line, there is still no bridge.
Three twenty-something young people came up behind me as I pondered where to cross. This is not a creek you want to fall into. There are a few rock-hop spots (never my first choice) or you can do as I did and walk upstream a bit to the two logs that (barely) pass for a bridge. The pre-showstopper here is a three-tiered plunge from Van Trump Creek known as Bloucher Falls.Yes, walk toward that. I had read about the mist in the sunlight and I wasn’t disappointed. Tricky light for a photo but quite impressive.
I got wet getting to those logs but made it across without incident. Good thing, because those three young people waited for me before heading across themselves.
Your first clear look at Comet Falls is always a heart-stopper. It is a four-tiered waterfall (a tributary of Van Trump Creek), thirty feet wide and plummeting 320 feet into a pool below. There are two smaller tiers at the bottom, one 40 feet and one 20, that make this an impressive 380 foot waterfall.
(On the approach there is about a ten foot section of eroded trail. Watch your step here. It’s a pretty nasty drop if you misstep.)
I considered hiking UP the last mile to Van Trump Park but then the color-show started at the falls and I was mesmerized. I sat and enjoyed my snacks from the perfect sit-spot and was content to let this be my destination for the day.
On the way down I finally saw a resident marmot and three pikas. The flower show is mostly over but there are still berries to be had ! You’ll get a little bit of everything on this hike, with the noticeable exception of crowds. It was a bit busy as I headed down but nothing like the conga lines at places like High Skyline trail at Paradise or Sourdough Ridge on the Sunrise side.
4 more miles logged and I may return here sooner than I think. It’s a great alternative to most anything at Paradise in the heat (and crowds) of summer. My mileage totals will not be the WOW this month, but hopefully the beauty will.
George Winston has a song on his Autumn disc that I love. It got in my head today and it will make it’s way back into my car for awhile.
This was the soundtrack of the day.