Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lake Kirkwood/Caples Creek Hike

Half-moon over Caples Creek Canyon

On Furlough Friday (Oct. 9th), Herb Lee, Mike Broderick, "Furlough Frank" Gerace and I headed up into the Sierra's for an exploratory hike of Caples Creek Canyon. Caples Creek flows out of Caples Lake into a hard scrabble canyon of vast granite slabs and giant boulders. A 15' high waterfall and a series of cascading falls hidden in the canyon was our destination for the day.

We started the hike from the Lake Kirkwood campground. A map we had indicated a trail to the falls but the trailhead was hard to find. We decided to head up and over a giant granite outcropping and work our way toward the falls down the canyon.

The way we went was the hard way and involved some tricky descents. On our way back from the falls we discovered the trail back to the campground. It was well hidden but a much easier way to go, if you can find it.

The following pics show highlights from a great little day hike.

Click on pic for enlarged view

A classic bonsai tree is deeply rooted in the crack of a granite slab

Looking at the waterfalls from Carson Spur off Hwy 88. This was the destination of our day hike. It was harder to find than it looks from the highway.

To get there, we had to cross vast slabs of granite and descend into the canyon

Mike and Frank going up and over the granite outcropping. This was the easy side.

The other side drops off quite precipitously into the canyon. We carefully work our way down the canyon wall and follow the creek downstream to the falls.

Eureka! We found it.

Herb and Mike stand above the 15' high waterfall

A group foto followed by lunch at the base of the falls

Mike discovers potholes on the granite slab. Were they created by nature or natives?

Further downstream

The creek cascades into the canyon


Furlough Frank diving in.

"Help me Herb!"

Lake Kirkwood, a small but beautiful lake where we started/ended the day hike

Several tidy cabins are spotted around the lake. We need to look into renting this one . . .

A cush way to fish

Herb taking in the views of Lake Kirkwood

It's October but too early for fall colors. The aspens in foreground are still green. Black Butte and Round-Top Mountain in background.

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