Arroyo Seco 3: 29th to 31st July 2005
Our yearly trip to Arroyo Seco would included a few newcomers, namely
my mother, Scott (a Chez Panisse cook), and Eve (his girlfriend).
Emily and I met Scott at his house in Oakland and then we piled into his
car and drove to Lafayette to pick up Eve. From there we zoomed
down 680 to 101, experiencing only bad traffic as we merged from one
freeway to the other. At the Arroyo Seco Gorge parking lot we met
my parents and their dog Scoobie and everyone piled into the Ford
Explorer. Emily drove with Eve beside her, my parents were in the
back seat with the dog, and Scott and I laid down amongst the gear in
the very back. Eventually we made it to the Escondido Campground,
our only mishap being unable to locate the turn onto Indians Road once
inside the military base. It was quite late by the time we were
all settled down to sleep.
The next morning, at 7 am I believe, we bid Pa and Scoob farewell and
the rest of us headed down to the river. Em's allergies were the
worst I'd ever seen then, it wasn't yet sunny, and black flies were
everywhere. I promised everyone that it wouldn't go on like this for
long but I'm not sure that they believed me. Indeed, for the first
3 hours we slogged along through shallow pools while being pestered by
flies and shielded from the sun by the trees.
But eventually it opened up, just as I promised, and we found a nice
spot for lunch with ample sun and a deep pool. With bellies full
and feet rested the next question became how much further to camp.
My only answer to this was that on my previous trip it had taken 9.5
hours but I hoped it would take less this time. Well, it
didn't. We pulled into camp around 5:30 pm or 10.5 hours after
leaving Escondido. I don't suppose that it took any longer than my
first trip since we had a very long lunch break this time.
Two pots of chili-mac were made and consumed, Scotty then cooked his
fish over an open fire, and then we frolicked about, happy to be in the
middle of nowhere.
The next day we stayed around till about 11 am and then went down the waterfall where we had lunch and Scotty performed the leap of
death. From the waterfall the hike to the suspension bridge was
relatively short and easy and soon we found ourselves walking the 3
miles along Indians Road back to Scotty's car. After paying for
showers at the Arroyo Seco Campground we hit the road, stopping at a
great little taqueria (Pacheco grocery) in Soledad for an early dinner. Next we
deposited Ma with Pa who was waiting at the intersection of 101 and
156. Actually, we ended up waiting about 15 minutes for him since
he got stuck in traffic. From that point we didn't stop until we
were back home in the Bay Area.
|Early on in the trip Scott amazed us with his ability to
hop among the rocks while catching fish and even a turtle.
||One of the highlights on hiking from the
Escondido Campground is that you get to see this amazing little
waterfall and associated pool that flow into the Arroyo
Seco. It was still pretty early when we reached it and not
yet in the sun so I converted the photo to black and
white. I also remember that the water was much colder than
that in the Arroyo Seco. If you aren't looking for it you
might miss it so keep your eyes peeled to the right (when
looking downstream) when you are about 90 minutes from the
campground. From the left we have Ma, Em, Scott and Eve.
|Catching fish and turtles wasn't enough for Scott so at
lunch he caught us crawdads.
|After lunch on the first day we spent a good bit of time
floating/swimming through sun drenched pools.
|But lest you think it was all a cakewalk, at times we
scrambled through brush along the shore to avoid walking on
large slippery rocks in ankle deep water.
|And sometimes we were able to walk on dry solid rock
directly adjacent to the river. This was the case less
than 1% of the time.
|Grilled trout was a real treat, thanks Scott.
|Day 2 and a shot looking downstream from our
campsite. Emily and Ma are in the foreground and Scott and
Eve are in the background. If you look up near the top of
the hills you can just make out the line indicating the cut for
Indians Road. The lower Yin Yang pool is to the right, not
visible in this picture.
|To complement the previous picture we now present a photo
looking upstream at the lower Yin Yang pool. If you didn't
notice, Scotty is in the upper left hand corner. Sorry
about my shaky hands.
|Here is a shot of Eve and Casey in the upper pool of the
waterfall. To the left, out of the picture, the river is
calm and serene. The people to the right have just climbed
the ropes adjacent to the main falls that is to their left and
not visible in the picture. Without the multiple ropes it
would be very hard to navigate the falls.
|Scott took a picture of us sitting on a rock at the base of
the waterfall in the narrows, chucked the camera down to me, and
||...he jumped! Goddamn! I don't know where
to begin with this picture. This is a very dangerous
leap. I did the same Yin Yang jump that you can see Scott
doing a few pictures back without hesitation but didn't even
consider this one. The water is plenty deep but you've got
to miss some rocks. He spent some time building up his
courage for this, during which time my Mom and Em were
encouraging him to not jump while I clung to a nook in the rock
in order to get a steady shot.
|All good things must come to an end. Some of the more
notable items in this picture are as follows: my mom is over 5
dozen eggs old and completed the trip in slow but steady
fashion, Eve and Scott spent most of their time in cotton
clothes with no ill effects, after lunch on the first day Scott
started carrying the Yucca stalk on his back and was still
faster than all of us (he plans to make a didgeridoo), Scott and
Eve completed the trek in shoes without socks and did not suffer
any foot maladies, and finally Scotty's shoes looked like that
BEFORE the trip started!
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