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7.17.15 ... Loves Falls

Hike Details:

  • Elevation - low of about 4,300 - high of 5,300 ft.
  • Location - just outside of Sierra City, off of Hwy. 49
  • Mileage - the plan: 3 1/2 - 4 miles; the reality: at least 5, maybe 6
  • Hiking time - 2 1/2 hours
  • Route - (see map and description below) - important note:  the CalTopo map (and other maps) show Loves Falls as being south of the PCT, which is incorrect, unless they're naming something else as Loves Falls that are further down the river. The bridge and the bigger falls are right on the trail of the PCT.
  • Weather - warm...okay, hot!
Hiking with 12 people was just a warm-up for the hike a few weeks later with about 50-60 people! Which is one of the reasons to pre-hike! I've done this hike before, but we decided to add a little mileage so that we'd be hiking on the PCT a little longer.

We started through the campground, got directions from the camp host, and took off up the gravel road in search of the trail intersection with the PCT. We'd walked for quite awhile and it seemed like we should have found the trail turn-off. After trudging up a hot, steep hill for much longer than we should have, we realized we needed to turn around because we'd obviously gone too far. Sure enough, about a half a mile back down the hill we saw the PCT turn-off. In our defense, it was at an angle that was hard to see from the other direction and the marker was on the other side of the trail up in some bushes. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Oh, yeah, and we walked right past a bear. Wait, what??!! So technically we didn't see the bear, but we're 99.999% sure we heard it. We had just walked past some thick bushes right next to the trail when a few of us at the back heard a "huffing" sound. And it was loud. One of the girls said, "Hey, that sounds like a bird fluttering out of the branches." Um, sure, that's what it was. (Not!) We just kept walking and didn't make a big deal about it because we didn't want to alarm any of the girls (or the bear). Stay calm. Keep walking.

When I got home I immediately started researching bear sounds and found this website with a video that had the exact sound we heard--it sort of sounds like a horse blowing through its mouth.

Glad to know the website calls this "harmless bluster", but it still freaked me out a little bit. Or a lot--at least enough to prompt me to go to my neighborhood REI and pick up a can of bear spray. I also did a lot of research about that and now I carry it with me on every hike.