Ramona Falls from Top Spur

November 17, 2007.

Top Spur Tr–Timberline Tr | 14 miles | 2700′ ele. gain | 6.5 hrs.

We decided to tramp through soaking wet forest and visit a popular waterfall on this not-too-popular hiking day.

The forecast called for 100% chance of rain, with warm (40-45 degree) temperatures at the lower elevations and snow above 7000′. At a start elevation of 3900′ we anticipated yucky weather for the duration of the hike. Indeed, the weather delivered as planned. Suited up in rain gear from head to toe, we set out pleasantly enough along the wet, wooded trail as it curved up through the loosely packed trees and out to a massive debris field. We paused here to take in the grandeur of this colossal landslide, imagining what force it took to wipe out such a wide swath of land.

From here, the trail is marked with pink flagging. We bounded from flag to flag, now out in the open, getting drenched by rain. We crossed a small stream and scrambled carefully up a muddy embankment studded with loose rock. I stepped aside to let Brad get up there first, avoiding getting nailed by rocks he kicked loose. In a short while, we reached the Muddy Fork of the Sandy river. The water rushed over the rocks as if with a purpose. I stood on the banks, looking fearfully at its liquid menace. Brad easily found a spot to cross, which he completed and motioned for me to follow. I refused.

It took close to 30 minutes for him to locate a spot that appeared safer to cross and I grudgingly followed. While standing around in the soaking rain I noticed a wet spot on my right thigh which eventually grew to be my entire right leg, then my left leg. Somewhere there was a leak in the system. Wonderful. I was crabby about crossing the river, which would only rise while we continued along our hike, and miserable thinking about the prospect of getting wetter and wetter. But we moved on.

Just over an hour later, we reached the lovely Ramona Falls. It was a nice spot, and I regretted I had never visited this place on a nicer day. We sat, downed some lunch, switched to dry gloves, and then went back the way we came. As predicted, the river was even gnarlier to cross on the return trip and I submerged my left foot in the water during the process. I wanted nothing more to see the inside of my car. And so we hustled down the trail in silence until we made it to the trailhead.

Normally rainy hikes don’t spoil my day. But the combination of leaky clothes, an unfriendly river crossing, lack of preparation and other inane minutiae led to a rotten situation. I’d say this was the first hike I’d been on where I was really, truly happy to be done with it.

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