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Arroyo Seco
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Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Arroyo Seco on 06/15/2010 16:25:05 MDT Print View

Arroyo Seco 6: 12 June 2010

Cabin Fever, I had it bad, so it was time to head into the wilderness. It was still too early for the High Sierra, so instead I went to the eastern side of Big Sur, an area I first explored in 2004, but hadn't been back to since 2006.

At 7 am on a Saturday, I left the Bay Area, and after one stop for gas, was hiking by 10 am. One hour and 3 miles later I left the fire road and headed down to the river. An hour after that, I reached the mouth of the narrows. Shortly after that, approaching the bottom of the waterfall, I encountered unexpectedly high water volumes, and was badly spooked. My plan was to camp about an hour beyond the waterfall, but due to the amount of water, I was happy to turn around and exit the narrows in one piece.

fire road
The hike into the narrows starts with a 3-mile walk on a fire road which is closed to vehicular traffic. The wide open views are outstanding, and generally few and far between on trails in this area.

day hikers
Day hikers playing in one section of the river, as viewed from the fire road.

Here's the sign where I leave the fire road and head down to the river.

The trail crosses the river via this suspension bridge. From here on out I would simply follow the river upstream.

Campers just upstream of the suspension bridge.

entering river
Entering the river.

getting wet
After a while , it's no longer possible to walk along the river, you actually have to swim.

mounting air mattress
Awkward attempt to mount my air mattress and swim smoothly away from my camera within the 10 seconds allotted by the timer.

where to walk
Walk in the river, or along the bank? You must decide.

at narrows 1
Self portrait with the entrance to the narrows in the background.

narrow 2
Water's getting deeper. This photo taken with camera on tripod on air mattress.

When this photo was taken, I was pinned against the rock behind me, with the water pushing me down and to the left. This was really scary because I was alone and downstream was to the right. I got into this awkward position since you can't see the waterfall unless you swim around the corner, and when I did that the current caught and pinned me.

Here's the waterfall with much less water during July of 2004. The rope is required mainly due to wet shoes and slippery rock.

Visibly shaken, standing on a submerged rock after getting out of the turbulent zone just below the waterfall.

Edited by clbowden on 06/15/2010 16:30:36 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Arroyo Seco on 06/15/2010 18:19:33 MDT Print View

Casey, nice photos! Did you end up going by yourself??????

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Arroyo Seco on 06/15/2010 22:02:55 MDT Print View

Looks like a fun time. I am sorry I had to work! Hope to catch up with you later in the season.

Joshua Billings
(Joshua) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz,Ca
Good job Casey on 06/15/2010 22:51:39 MDT Print View

I couldn't make it either. Sorry because I really wanted to.That's great that you did it yourself.

K ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
nice! on 06/16/2010 06:32:09 MDT Print View

Thanks for showing us what we missed...Sorry it didn't work out, but it looks like you had a great trip. Hopefully we'll meet up on an outing soon.

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Re: Arroyo Seco on 06/18/2010 12:27:25 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments guys. I'm already looking forward to my next trip there, hopefully with some company. Next time I'll try to get some info regarding the waterfall beforehand! Also, a few days after the trip the following thought occurred to me, what would I have done if I opted for the one-way trip (upstream to downstream). I would have reached the top of the waterfall and either:

1. Tried to go down it.

2. Tried to go around it.

3. Reversed course and gone back upstream.

I'm really glad I didn't have to make that decision. Options 1 and 2 would have been really dangerous, potentially lethal, but I would have been tempted since option 3 would take so much longer.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Re: Re: Arroyo Seco on 06/29/2010 10:28:19 MDT Print View

That's a very different hiking (swimming) trip from what I normally do, so it was great to see it. Glad it worked out, and you are able to hike yet another day!