Caples Creek walk - June 2019

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Kyburz, located about 90 minutes driving time east from Sacramento, is in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where Silver Fork joins in with the American River, which later passes through the City of Sacramento.  On the drive up, the American River looked impressive, late season snowmelt & runoff still contributing.

From Kyburz we drove south about 8 miles on Silver Fork Road, windy but paved.  The trailhead for the walk is near the Silver Fork Campground that has a nearby bridge crossing that creek.  Caples Creek merges into Silver Fork and the hike begins along Silver Fork but in 40 minutes switches to Caples Creek, once we reach the confluence.  

Just as Silver Fork originates at Silver Lake, Caples Creek originates at Caples Lake, both lakes being on scenic Hwy. 88.     

On a Saturday in mid-June, ten hikers got in nine miles of walking with about 1,100 ft. of elevation gain.  The waterfalls we saw were deep, fast-moving and very loud, again, testimony to a long, snowy winter.   

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again.

walk preview combined creek falls, see note   Rich
  again   lot of shade on today's walk
next set of falls highly oxygenated water trail above, creek below new growth is bright
Frank during a break more uphill
snow flower umm.... Lynda and  Linda turnaround point on Caples Creek
    ..nice lunch spot too !      

note - these falls show combined flow from both Silver Fork and Caples Creek, which confluence occurs about 40 minutes into the hike.   

We had lunch at one of the few quiescent spots on Caples Creek.   

Not far from the lunch spot was a horizontal 'tree trunk' type bridge for crossing Caples Creek & then you could take to the other half of the loop trail.  I took a few steps out on the big log and realized the sight of raging water below was going to be a visual distraction.  In addition, 10 or 20 feet ahead I could see uneven and un-planed walking surfaces.  Unsafe and scary, yes, but it was exhilarating to see such a full creek, no doubt with amazingly cold water, moving so fast.  If a typical hiker fell off the crossing, there's probably a 50% chance you're a goner, when I thought about it. 

But our destiny was pre-determined by Rich to avoid risk and the group went back the way we came.  Good call !!!

old Cedar ? same tree meadow plant  
  meadow path Jean yellow moss
the walk back above the confluence confluence  

The day started out pleasantly cool, and, for most of the hike there were cooling breezes.  By late afternoon when we returned to the cars, it was hot, with intense sunlight.  I think we were at elevation 7,000 ft. or so, today. 

The remainder group of seven, after subtracting three who wished to head home earlier, lounged in the shade & jabbered for awhile, with cold water or sodas, basically recovering.  

Overall I noticed that the group walked at a really nice 'clip today.  When I fell back to take photos and search my backpack a few times, for a pair of glasses, which I never found, it took me nearly an hour of fast walking to catch up to the group.  It was a decent workout walk, in great waterfall scenery !  

After the initial recovery we drove downhill on Hwy. 50 to Pollock Pines, to try a fairly new Mexican restaurant called C&T, which Linda found online, which turned out to be as good as it gets.  

Thus continues the hiking group's recently acquired habit where we stop for an early dinner, somewhere on the drive back.  I think we all know this helps to break up a long drive, kind of a mental health thing. A cold beer & good food certainly enhance recovery after any hike. This tends to extenuate camaraderie time, too, a good thing. 

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Quote from guide about the other part of the loop:  "...the Silver Fork canyon abruptly steepens as the Silver Fork begins to drop through a spectacular series of unnamed cataracts on its way to its confluence with Caples Creek.  Above these falls, the trail clings to the steep slope, literally held in place by old-growth sugar pine, Douglas fir, and Ponderosa pine.  Some true giants flank the trail, permanently misted by the tumbling water nearby."

Someday we'll come back and walk that other part of the loop.

All photos were taken with a Canon G16.