Bear Skulls Fall
May 10, 2008
My body needed a day to recover from the tough Dry Creek adventure. By Friday night I was up for another hike to take advantage of the recent rainfall, but strong thunderstorms were forecast to hit around noon Saturday. I needed a scenic destination that I could get to and back from quickly. A return trip to the Bear Skull Falls area seemed like a good choice.
I got to the parking area a little after 6, and was at the big falls by 7. It was nice to be able to photograph all the things Cliff and I had seen a week ago, like the canopy of Umbrella Magnolias and the tall shale bluff downstream of the waterfall. I found a Jack-in-the-Pulpit plant at the base of the bluff.... Jack seemed to be enjoying the view of the falls! The giant magnolia flowers were blossoming.
I headed back up to explore the little stream that was the source for all the great scenery. Just above Bear Skull I found another nice little waterfall that spilled over a rock ledge. The ledge ran along a half-circle below the waterfall.
I continued to follow the stream instead of sticking to the trail; I knew I could always head north and find the trail, and I had the parking spot stored in the GPS. I came to a neat section of the creek between 100 and 200 yards long where the stream bed was flat rock composed of many thin layers, and the banks were rock shelves I could walk on. There wasn’t that much water flowing this far upstream, so I didn’t break out the camera. One of these days I’ll have to come back and see how this section looks with more water.
My last stop of the morning was another small waterfall, which cascaded down multiple steps of rock layers for about 5 feet before making a 3-foot drop. Thunder began booming overhead, and I started to worry about getting caught out in the middle of a violent thunderstorm. But my fears didn’t prevent me from lingering long enough to take a few photos. I worked to include the Shooting Stars that were flowering beside the waterfall.
Just uphill I found an old road trace. I remembered crossing it as I took the trail in, so I headed in a westward, downstream direction until I found the trail crossing. From there I took the trail east back to the Tahoe. It rained lightly a few times but I had a umbrella and stayed dry.
Later that afternoon thunderstorms swept through the area as forecast, dumping quite a bit of rain on the Boston Mountains. It was agonizing to know I had to stay home and perform Mother’s Day duties instead of making one last waterfall trip during my vacation.