Monday, April 18, 2011

Lions Canyon Run, 04/18/2011 (a bobcat, a buzzworm, and a busted digit)

What the hell happened to the beautiful, sunny weekend we just had?!? You know, the one that I spent on-call and at work. I got a chance to leave work in the noon hour and bolted out the door, only to be reminded that getting out from under the marine layer would involve some driving.
My first thought was that Matilija might be sunny...wrong! I just kept driving up the 33. The fog and cloud parted at the crest and I drove down into a green and bright Rose Valley. With the limited time I had due to the late hour I opted for a quick circuit of the Lions Canyon and it's east and west fork falls. I took the connector trail that starts just at the entrance to the Rose Valley campground.
West Fork Falls, Lion Creek (above)
I remembered why I liked the connector trail. I takes you up over a ridge and down into Lions Canyon. It's an interesting and varied trail and right now is the time to see it. All the little watercourses are streaming and everything is green.
The West Fork falls are kind of fun to get to. Taking the creek upstream from the WFork camp is pretty and shaded. There are a bunch of old sycamores just before this neat 12 foot falls. Of the 2, the West Fork feels a bit more remote.
I was leaving the falls when I messed up and crashed head-first down some largish rocks into the creek. Yeah, I ate shit. Bashed my knee pretty good. When I could stand and knew that the knee would hold weight, I addressed a corona of pain blossoming in my right hand. I realized that, not only was my right pinky finger not working, but it was also facing the wrong direction. Without giving myself a lot of time to think about what I was doing, I grabbed that digit and yanked hard, added a twist at the end, and felt it pop back into place. A few minutes later I headed over to the East Fork.
The East Fork is more of a collection of waterfalls, most of them less than 10 feet in height, and did I say pretty? Yes, this is a very pretty place and well worth visiting. I think I was 11 years old the first time I saw these falls. It's funny how I forgot how much I like this hike.
A couple other interesting things occurred in addition to the manual, on-site dislocated finger reduction. I pissed off my first rattler of the season. He was in the brush and grass a few inches from the trail and the warning buzz convinced me not to investigate. And to put nice little bow on the day, I spooked a healthy bobcat who had been hiding under a tree full of chirping birds. I guess I wrecked his shot at an early evening snack. All in all, it became a very eventful unplanned afternoon. The 6 mile hike took me 2:45 minutes with stops at both falls. And yes, the finger hurts like hell.
Below: a fat & happy horned toad

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