Fall Creek

September 6, 1997

Our start featured a rendezvous at the Lowell Ranger Station with a couple we had expected to meet there, along with another pair who had reached the SEHS parking lot as we pulled away. They had caught up with us at a stop light, en route, where they confirmed that we were the group they wanted to join. Hence, we arrived at the Dolly Varden trailhead nine strong. As we started hiking, I told the group we were seven minutes behind the previous year’s group I had led on the same trail. To make matters worse, the trail section between Dolly Varden and Johnny Creek posed several various impediments. Two large fallen trees were particularly troublesome: that portion of the trail definitely needs some work. Despite the delays we reached Johnny Creek campground by noon but elected to hike a bit further and lunch by the creek. Still later, after utilizing the “facilities” at Bed Rock campground, we continued on our way, attacking the steepest challenge of the trip. In a surprisingly short time we were high on the canyon wall. Equally surprising was the amount of poison oak we found growing along the trail at that elevation. From the lofty position we started a descending “glide pattern” that carried us to a spot on the stream where we found swimmers and fishermen attesting to the close proximity of the Puma campground on the opposite shore. The last surprise of the day came when we emerged at road junction 1828 at 3:06 p.m. We had more than compensated for our late start and had beaten the hiking performance of last year’s group. This year’s “champions” included Anne Bonine, Jun-chin Chen, Jim Clarkson, Mary Ann Hastings, Kwang yee Kang, Gerry Roe, Cathy Tilton, Sheila Ward and Vernon Barkhurst, leader.

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