Mini-TR: Last Chance Falls in Big Sur Region Dayhike

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Mini-TR: Last Chance Falls in Big Sur Region Dayhike

Post by c9h13no3 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 1:45 pm

So I took a little trail running trip down to Arroyo Seco campground this past weekend. I wrote about it in my blog that no one reads, but please don't click on that link, because the site would likely crash if it got any traffic.

Hiking in the Santa Lucia mountains is hiking on hard mode. Poison Oak, trails eroding under your feet, ticks, encroaching brush, this wilderness isn't welcoming. However, in winter & spring, the temperatures are mild, water is flowing everywhere, and it has a unique beauty. Backpacking trips like these will be great from March until mid-May, and may be a great option for those blocked by early season snow in the Sierra. And if you haven't been up on one of the coastal mountains to see the ocean from 3000+ ft up, you really should.

We went to visit Last Chance, Mutt & Jeff falls this past weekend (route guide found here), a couple of the prettiest waterfalls in the area. Jeff falls, shown below, is just a bit off trail, pretty easy bushwhacking. You could also creek walk up to the falls as well, especially if flows were lower. Either way, you'll want the standard full coverage gear (long sleeves, long pants or tall socks, gloves) because the poison oak is real. And as you can tell by my hand touching the ground, it's pretty steep.

Last Chance Falls is easier to find, because you can see it from the trail. It's about a mile past Last Chance Camp, which would be a great place to spend the night. Because most of the terrain in the Ventana area is so steep, the campsites on the Forest Service maps are actually worth aiming for since they're usually flat (whereas in the Sierra, you can pretty much camp wherever).

You can scramble behind Last Chance falls, but beware the rock is muddy and loose. I had a couple of hand holds break off on me.

We also saw some white water rafters floating down the river. I've waded the Arroyo Seco in summer when flows are much lower, but rafting it at high flow looked like buckets of fun.

So I'm hyper sensitive to poison oak, and I ended up getting poison oak rashes in odd places. Like my arm pits. If you're like me, I'd suggest washing your hands with Tecnu before you take your clothes off at the end of your hike. And yeah, you gotta strip down to your underwear at the end of the hike, to tick check & get out of the poison oak clothes. They have bathrooms at the Arroyo Seco campground, so it wasn't as bad as other hikes I've done where I'm bird-bathing in my underwear in the parking lot.
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"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen
Also, I have a blog no one reads. Please do not click here.

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