Sunday, June 2, 2019

Lower South Loop & Little Falls - 6/2/19

Little Falls (June 2, 2019)

Griffith Peak Drainage from the South Loop Trail

Starting up the South Loop Trail

Many Fallen Trees to Cross Over, Under & Around
 The South Loop Trail has been the big mystery this spring of 2019. So, today, Rita and I hiked up to see how far we could go without microspikes. Presently, the answer to this question seems to be just above the steps that come after the 1 mile mark. Before you reach the second big wash crossing, the snow is still covering the trail on a steep hillside. There are foot steps to step into but the snow is icy since it is starting to melt. We turned around at this point since there was another hiker coming our way on the one-way snow path. We could see the first switchbacks and they seemed to be fairly hikable. The problem was in getting to them.

Approaching the Wide Wash
 We passed several Sunday hikers on the way down. Many of them came prepared with microspikes and were ready to assault Griffith Peak.

Starting up the Steps
 We passed a fire and rescue man and he said that yesterday, they had to rescue hikers from the top of Charleston Peak! The hikers had used the Bristlecone/Ski slope/Ridge route. But, I guess they couldn't get down. This guy also intimated that the snow will probably not completely disappear until July. Hmmm.

After Steps comes Snow

After Snow comes Difficult Snow - Then first Switchbacks
 So, we got back down to the South Loop / Cathedral Rock Trailhead and decided to continue up to Little Falls since we had not tired ourselves out yet. This trail was free of snow all the way up to the Little Falls slot. At the slot, we ran into a large creek coming down the trail. With waterproof shoes, we finally gave up trying not to get our feet wet and stepped in the shallows all the way up to the waterfall. Oh my goodness! The waterfall and the creek below it were soo beautiful! It was definitely worth the wet feet! We stayed here taking photos for several minutes.

View of North Loop Ridge on Descent
This waterfall only runs during the snow melt season. Otherwise, it is a small trickle. To see the waterfall in this condition is very rare.

Echo Trail Junction free of Snow
 After getting our fill of the water, we turned to go back down the creek. Waterproof shoes only work just so far, then the cold water enters in.

Reaching the Little Falls Slot

A Veritable Creek!
 We hiked back the way we came except for taking the shortcut through the lower Cathedral Rock parking lot. (See the map below.) Our adventure was only 4 miles today but another mile could be added by parking at the Echo Trailhead. The elevation gain for today was around 1600 feet. It didn't seem like that much. Anyway, we had a lot of fun and plan to repeat this hike for the group on Tuesday with the additional mile.

4 miles; 1600 feet elevation gain; ~2.75 hours

Kay & Rita at Little Falls

Fisheye View from Slot Corner

Creek Descent

1 comment:

Kay Blackwell said...

Thanks for the photos of Little Falls - I've never seen it like this! - Susan Murphy