Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lost at Horsetail Falls

My first adventure in California after Jason left for South Korea was one giant mess.  It was a big reminder for me of just how out of touch with singledom I had become.

I decided I wanted to go for a hike.  I didn't really know many people at my new job that well, so I went online and started researching nearby hiking trails.  Having lived in three different cities, all with hiking trails within city limits-- and all that I was pretty familiar with, I was a bit rusty at searching for quality hiking trails.

That was mistake one.

After spending a week googling "Hiking trails near Sacramento," I came across several reviews for Horsetail Falls.  (Not to be confused with the one in Oregon).  Just an hour drive along Highway 50 toward South Lake Tahoe-- each review went on, and on about the beauty of this trail.

"Done." I said out loud to no one by my dog.  I researched the area, read the trail description over and over, and studied a map of the drive to make sure I got lost.

Then I went back to reading the reviews:
"This spectacular fall is created by Pyramid Creek as it cascades down the granite faces of Desolation Wilderness."
"The creek flows along the trail, winding around boulders and aspen, beckoning you to take photo after photo."
Sounds great right?  Well, I'm sure it would have been.

The day came for our big adventure.  I packed up my backpack with lunch, some snacks, and lots of water.  I hooked Khloe in her hiking harness, and strapped on my hiking boots-- loaded up the car and hit the road.

After exactly two hours of driving-- searching the highway for the trail head, I would up in South Lake Tahoe.  A few miles past my goal.

I had never been to Lake Tahoe before, so despite the fact that I was annoyed about missing my destination, I decided it was worth a walk by the water.  The lake is incredible, and I'm really excited to go back and explore it with Jason.

After a half hour of walking-- up and down the beach, and letting Khloe splash around in the waves-- we hopped back in the car, and back tracked until we found the trailhead-- about 10 miles south of where we were... So close!

Relieved that we finally made it to our destination-- Khloe and I hopped out of the car, and started up the trail. We hiked along the creek, and stopped to take a few photos.  Though, nothing beckoned me to stop and take pictures like the review had promised me.

We climbed and climbed for a good hour, until we met this:

Yeah, that's a steep-ass cliff made of granite! No trail, no signs, no nothing.  Um, dear Mrs. Reviewer Lady-- what the hell?!?!?

Not wanting to miss out on the falls, I decided to climb the cliff.  30 minutes later, sunburned and panting-- I finally made it to the top, and found a sign pointing to the trail... which led to another granite hill, and another sign that said "Entering Backwoods."

It was at that point that I said, "Fuck it." And decided to turn around.  I didn't have a backwoods pass, and I wasn't really in the mood to act out my favorite scenes from Bear Man...  or become a news story at my new station.  Besides, when I looked up, I was still a ways away from the falls.

Yeah-- it wasn't worth it.

Khloe and I carefully made our way down the hill-- hopped in the car, and ate our lunch as we made our way back down the highway to Sacramento.

When I got home, I immediately got on the  computer and ordered some hiking and travel books from Amazon.  I learned a valuable lesson-- don't trust online reviews of trails, or you'll be sent to search for a waterfall in the back country!

Have you ever tried a hike after reading an online review?

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