Monday, October 1, 2012

A sweet adventure

With a rare Sunday sans football, John and I decided to make it special. We woke up early, went out to breakfast (Pancake Mill!), and drove past Florence to this great little web of hiking trails. We discovered them with the South Coast Striders many months ago, and I wanted to go back, just us, for more exploring.

We stopped off a Beaver Creek Falls first (and for some reason, my photos loaded out of order a bit, so there's another photo of Beaver Creek Falls later).

If you climb out onto this huge tree that fell across the creek, you get a great vantage point. The view was worth the bushwhacking we had to do to get here — the trail was a bit overgrown.

Then we drove down to the Homestead trailhead of Sweet Creek Falls, which takes you through this gorgeous canyon for about a mile, ending at Sweet Creek Falls itself. The last time we were there, the water flow was much higher, as it was late spring. Right now, the creek had to deal with a very dry summer, and will soon be up and at 'em. 

Low water flow, we discovered allowed us to sneak down by the creek and wander around much more.

More mini waterfalls along the way.

This stop off was my favorite little side excursion. There were three waterfall tiers (which I couldn't quite get into one photo, as the lower one was quite a bit lower), and how beautiful is this? We were right on the water after a little climbing off the trail.

Here's the random photo of Beaver Creek Falls that got stuck in the middle. Ha.

And back to the off-trail excursion. We found this crawdad wandering about aimlessly. We watched him for about five minutes as he decided where he should re-enter the water — it's a treacherous area for such a little guy, and he eventually (and cautiously) tumbled into a pool.

Here's the lower portion of Sweet Creek Falls. There's a small trail that leads you to the upper viewpoint and upper tier of the falls, but it's running awfully low this time of year, so no photo of that. But this little area was quite pretty. We sat on some rocks in a quiet pool of water right below the falls; this area hadn't been touched by the hot sun, so it cooled us off from the 70-plus-degree day.

And here are a few more photos on the hike back, when the light was better to capture all the beautiful falls along the way. A few of these looks quite impressive with higher water flow, but look delicate at summer's end.