It is hard to tell, but this waterfall is about 200 feet below the trail from where I am taking this photo. It was huge!
We went on two hikes this day, one was the very short El Cariso Nature Trail, a 1.2 mile loop around a hill. The fun part of this hike was the mine shaft. As you can see Ms. "Throw Warnings to the Wind" liked it too.
The second hike was called the San Juan Loop Trail. It was 2.4 miles, with an elevation gain of 320 feet. There were tons of trees shading the trail, and at one part the path followed a very full stream. Ferns and mosses were growing out of rocks and cliff sides. Small and kind of large rocks were everywhere on the trail and made walking a bit tricky-that must be what makes a mountain hike a mountain hike! About half way through the hike we could hear the roar of the waterfall. According to the map, we were close to a spur that led to the vista point for the falls. We were a bit nervous that the hole we saw in the chaparral we had just hiked by might have been the spur we had been looking for. A few dozen feet ahead, 2 chatty young women asked if we had passed the trail to the falls. If they hadn't seen it, we figured we must have passed it already! So we went back,( it was only about 50 feet,) and headed down what we thought must be the trail. It was a trail alright, but not the marked one. After some tricky maneuvering down the rocks, we arrived at a very secluded part of the stream. There were stone ledges that the water very prettily fell off of, but they were only about 8 inches in height. Even so, the place was very tranquil and made for the perfect rest spot. After a nice drink and bit of a relax, we hurried out in order to avoid any rangers and their finding us where we shouldn't be. The lesson learned: never trust the hiking skills of young talkative women who are not Ticklers. The trail to the falls was impossible to miss, they had walked right past it. Fortunately, we did not miss the trail or the falls. I never knew such a thing existed in Orange County. (Well, actually Riverside County, but it is close, and I'm sure water rights or something are involve.) It was a glorious outing!
I can't wait to do some more hikes in the mountains. The Holy Jim Trail is calling my name...