Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Zim Zim falls trip report – 4-10-2006.

Wet. Really wet. Soooo wet.

We met at the usual 9am time in Winters. Sam was the designated leader for this one, so I didn’t do my usual head count. I think there were about 13 to 15 people. Not bad, considering it was raining. I suspect the promise of a 100-foot waterfall in our own watershed was just the motivation people needed to brave the weather. We carpooled up to the trailhead, dodging the landslides and fallen rocks on the road. These storms have done a number on the slopes, and erosion was everywhere.

We finally made it up to the trailhead, parked, and got ready to slog up the trail to the falls. Eticuera creek had been extremely high recently, as was evidenced by the debris line, which was the highest I’ve ever seen it. Walking up the trail, we passed the small grove of (currently dormant) Osage orange trees. They are a remnant of the old hotel and ranch grounds, now long gone. After crossing Zim Zim creek the first time, we could smell the sulphur from Zim Zim spring.

The valley looked really nice, and the wildflowers are trying, desperately, to get going. Just too wet, cold and overcast to really start the show, but if we get a break, they are sure to just go nuts, and for quite a while with all that soil moisture. We meandered, talking, up to the final split, where we began the ascent toward the vista of the falls. Slowly they came into view, as well as becoming audible. The falls were spectacular, given the volume of water pouring through the narrow gap between the mountains.

After lunch on a nice rock outcropping, located about halfway down the slope, directly across from the falls, we headed up to look at the valley above. Feeling adventurous, I talked most of the group into making this hike a loop, by passing into the Nevada openings, following Nevada creek, then looping back to Zim Zim. I’d never taken this route before, but given that I’d studied the maps beforehand, and had my GPS (with the car’s location entered) I felt confident we’d have no problems.

The loop added a hair over a mile to our trip, but was well worth it. The lands along Nevada creek are pretty stunning. Jagged rocks rise up to cap small knolls, hidden waterfalls drop down side-canyons, and blue oaks dot the grasslands that mix between the brush-covered mountains. One other hiker and I described the place as having a really good ‘vibe’. Hard to describe, but some places just feel nice, and this was one of those places. I’d love to do an overnight here sometime.

We followed the creek downstream, then wound a bit up the side of the hill, eventually finding our way back down to the creek and around the mountains that separate Nevada creek from Zim Zim creek. Along the way, several small waterfalls were visible in side canyons. I’m going to have to explore these one day.

Once back at Zim Zim, we walked the half-mile back to the cars where Sam was waiting. Huge kudos to Sam for waiting the hour and ten minutes longer it took us to do the loop. Sam had headed back with Carol and Andrea, from the falls, and since he had carpooled with several in my group, he had to wait. Yet, he was just as enthusiastic about the trip as our group, since this was the first time he had seen the falls!

Overall, another fabulous and beautiful trip in our local watershed.

1 comment:

john said...

Could you give directions for the side trip you took back along Nevada Creek? Where did you go from Zim Zim Falls to get to Nevada Creek and at which point did you return to the Zim Zim trail? Thanks, this side hike looks really interesting.