We were to meet at Pack & Paddle at 8 but by 7:40 most of those meeting in Lafayette were already there. Once we arrived at Clark Creek Natural Area, we looked around for the folks we were meeting there. Hmmm…one group was there but a group of 5 was missing. We got one of the missing 5 on their cell, said they were climbing a hill and were already with the group.
Jon, a new guide who was helping on this trip, made the call. He told them that they were NOT with the Pack & Paddle group and to please stop and he would catch up to them. They were actually with another Pack & Paddle guide, Kevin, who was there with his scouts. I couldn’t imagine that Kevin would hijack our hikers and the whole thing just made no sense, that is until we caught up with the hijacked hikers and got the full story.
By the way, the hike on the improved trail is up and down and up and down, it makes your heart beat a little bit and does remind you there are muscles that you should probably use a bit more often. The hike out is mostly downhill to the creek beds so that means the hike back to the parking area is, well, a bit strenuous.
So back to the hijacked hikers, we caught up with them about 2/3 of the way down the improved trail. They said they recognized Kevin from another Pack & Paddle trip they took with him and they told him, they were here for the hike. Kevin said okay go pay for parking here and they thought…well that’s odd we didn’t have to pay last time but they just followed his direction and paid the $3 parking fee. Okay so that was part of the story, the rest didn’t come until later once the hike was over, I still didn’t understand why Kevin “hijacked” them.
Our complete group now headed down the trail then climbed down the unending stairway to the creek bed. We turned right and then took the first fork to the right where the boulders are covered in moss. This is a beautiful spot for a rest and a drink of water. While we were sitting there we noticed a spring dripping water into the creek. After a short rest we headed back to the fork and visited a waterfall. We hung out here a while then headed back down the creek, passed the crazy stairway and the water shoot where kids are always swimming.
To get back down into the creek bed, we had to jump down the embankment. At the next creek intersection we turned left, if you turn right it is private property. We had lunch on a sandbar and talked of petrified wood. We headed back up the hill on another trail that meets back up with the improved trail then headed over to the top of another waterfall. We didn’t go to the bottom because it is a slippery scramble to reach the stairway. From the top of this waterfall we stayed in the creek bed to reach the bottom of the next waterfall. We climbed the stairs to the top of this one then got back in the creek bed to the intersection of the improved trail and the primitive trail.
At this point we made our exit. I was sure to take a few photos of what I thought would be “smile-less” faces as we climbed up the long hill but to my surprise there were many smiles. One of our younger hikers climbed everything in sight, he could have rivaled a mountain goat. It was a little hot but walking the creek beds with the occasional walk through the water and maybe sticking your head or body in the water, makes for a great day.
We had cookies and round two of sandwiches in the parking area, once everyone left Jon and I saw a boy scout coming down the trail then more but no Kevin. I asked the boys to call Kevin the “wasp whisperer” (long story) so when he arrived they really played it up. Kevin said, “Oh you must have met Stacey,” and the boys said who is Stacey and it went on and on before Jon and I walked up.
So the rest of the story is, Kevin sent out a general email to several scout troops. He didn’t know who was coming on the trip. These two ladies showed up saying they were here for the hike, they looked familiar and the two boys were indeed in scouts. So he said, come on let’s go and they did.
-Stacey Scarce, Trip Leader
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