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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Feather Falls

September 7, 2019

To start off our California trip, Aprille & I decided to check out some of California's waterfalls.  Feather Falls and Burney Falls were both on our list, but since Burney was such a far drive, we chose the closer one: Feather Falls.

We left our AirB&B at 6:30 to make the 30 min drive to Feather Falls.  The drive was pretty uneventful, but the further in we got, the more remote it got.  We arrived at the parking area around 7 am.  We geared up, making sure we coated ourselves with bug repellent (the area is known to be infested with ticks), and began our trek about 7:30.

Every blog/YouTube video recommended taking the upper loop to the falls, so that's what we did. The trail was very wide and easy to follow.  About 10 minutes in, we reached the junction between the upper and lower loops.

The trail meandered in and out of the valley, mostly downhill.  All along the way, though, we were pestered by millions of gnats buzzing around our faces.  About an hour in, we arrived at Frey Creek where we were greeted with a quaint, but beautiful waterfall.

An hour and a half into the hike, we reached a sign pointing out a rock formation known as "Bald Rock Dome".  Bald Rock Dome is a batholith, whose make up is similar to that of Half Dome in Yosemite.

Right around the 2 hour mark, we reached a junction where the lower loop meets up upper loop.  Instead of taking the lower loop, we turned right, to head to the waterfall. The trail finally began going uphill.  In a couple minutes, we reached a bench and another sign, overlooking the Sacramento Valley.

The stream below is fed by the Feather River, so I assumed we were close the falls.  As large as this waterfall is supposed to be, I was worried that I couldn't hear it at this point.  It concerned me that maybe it wasn't flowing well.  I continued on along the trail with a metal railing and as soon as I turned a corner, I could hear the roar of the falls.  I followed the trail to a beautiful wooden platform on a spur ridge jutting out into the valley.  Upon arriving at the platform, I was stunned by both the view into the valley and the featured aspect of the hike: Feather Falls.

We enjoyed the falls for almost an hour before making our way out.  On our way out, we met a few other hikers who said they came in on the lower loop.  Although the sign said it was closed, they all said it was wide open.  So, we decided to take that route out since it was supposed to be shorter.   We also hoped there'd be less gnats.  No luck.  The hike out was a lot more exhausting since it was almost all uphill.

About 30 minute from the end, the hike got real exciting!  I saw some movement in the brush to my left and got excited as I wanted to see some wildlife.  I crept closer, looking for what I thought was a squirrel or chipmunk (we don't have those in Hawaii, lol).  To my surprise, I was greeted with this . . .

Needless to say, I got spooked!  I took a bunch of steps backward before pulling out my SLR and my zoom lens to photograph this thing!  It was my first encounter with a rattlesnake.  You could say my adrenaline was pumping through my chest!!  I waited for Aprille to catch up and cautiously got us past the snake.  We booked it out, tired of the gnats and getting a little tired.  We got back to the car around 12:30 pm.   We changed clothes, checked each other for ticks, then headed out for some grub.

Since we were in Cali, we stopped at a Boudin restaurant for a grilled sandwich and some chowder in a sourdough bread bowl!!  Yum!!!

Check out Aprille's video here:

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