Berry Creek rainy hike
Big Basin - Berry Creek Falls Rainy Hike
Date: Feb 7, 2015
Duration: 1 day
Distance: ~12 miles.
Elevation: ~3000 feet
Trail: Park HQ -> Redwood Trail (0.1miles :P) -> Howard King Tr -> Skyline to sea Tr -> Berry Creek Falls Tr -> Berry Creek Falls -> Berry Creek Falls Tr -> Golden & silver falls -> Sunset Tr -> Sunset Connector Tr -> Park HQ
Park Map: here
Previous Hike: here
More Information: Gurmeet EveryTrail StateParks
We decided on this hike instead of Mt. Diablo via eagle peak due to the predicted rains that day. Big Basin redwood state park is one of the best places to be hiking on a wet day; especially considering its serene greenery, relatively easy trails and the numerous waterfalls and streams that make a nature admirer’s eyes shine. Thanks to Jugal for organizing the hike this time. We decided to do it rain or shine and yet again at the end of it, the hike reminded me of tropical wet hikes you can find in the Western part of India (Dhoodsagar trek, Sakleshpur trek) .
After picking up my fellow carpoolers - Abhinava, Pavan, Shruti and Nileema (Well, Nileema hitched a ride with Jugal), I was on my way to the park. The day although had predictions of rain in the evening after 5pm was pretty cloudy. We reached the park and met up with the other folks - Jugal, Deepak, Nileema, PT, Jai, John, Nikhita, Vishram, Deepankar, Gargi and Akanksha. After the quick introduction, we started the hike at 8:50am. Redwood trail that we took was so short that I almost thought I still hadn’t even started on the trail. At the first intersection(Skyline-to-sea, sunset, howard king), we took the Howard king trail and chugged relatively slowly.
The park itself looked beautifully transformed by the pouring rains over past days. Although it wasn’t raining at that moment, it was still very wet and there were tiny drops sprinkling on us. Walking through the thickness of the woods and the immensely big and tall redwood trees brought upon the magical feeling of being transported to middle earth - the ancient times that nurtured mysticism and magic. We took our first stop at a flat area somewhere half way to the top of the ridge. This was at around 9:30am. After this we hiked briskly along the Howard King Trail. The trail climbs up the ridge and going further, it is pretty much flat. We - Abhinava, Shruti and I slowed down putting us behind everyone else. I was busy taking pictures :) At the intersection of Howard King Tr and Skyline-to-sea trail, taking a right got to us a stream crossing after a while. The trail then climbs a bit before reaching a fork from where Berry Creek Falls trail (a very short trail) takes you to the falls. With all the rain, the water quantity was better than what I had hoped before the hike. Out of nowhere the falls came into my sight . It was just beautiful and to make it even better, there weren’t anyone else there other than our group. My mobile read the time to be 11:30am which meant we had ample time to cool off, hit the water and finish lunch.
The water was cold but then again much warmer than what I had expected it to be. This meant a dip in the river. After a quick dip and some tasty food - thanks to Nileema for the Sandwich and Vishram for the super tasty oranges, I was refueled for the return journey. Oh wait I forgot about the tasty cashew chikki (blocks) that Jugal got us. We started our hike back from the falls at around 12:45pm continuing along the Berry Creek falls trail towards Sunset Tr. Along the way we came across the Golden cascade and silver falls. We quickly reached the junction of Berry Creek Falls Tr and Sunset Tr. It was a good 5.5 miles back to the park HQ from here and this was also the toughest part of the hike. The trail ascends and descends a lot to give you a good workout with net elevation gain of about 3000 feet. And as expected, we slowed down a little.
After a good hour or two, it was John, me and Shruti at the back. The three of us took our time to enjoy our walk back to the park HQ. It started to rain at around 4:30pm but by this time we obviously were drenched multiple times (the fun part of this hike). At around 5:00pm we got to the parking lot of the park HQ. Jugal’s and PT’s carpools waited for us. We bid a quick to-be-continued good bye and drove back to civilization. What followed was an amazing potluck/dinner at Jugal’s place.
A rainy / wet hike is a completely different experience. But it does come with inherent risks and one needs to be prepared physically, mentally and in terms of rain and cold gear. But for whoever is radical enough to try it out and for those who love the rains, I’d recommend a rainy hike here at Big Basin Redwood State Park. The perks outweigh the pain (empty trails, lot more water in the falls, plush greenery and rain).