Half Dome Training at Big Basin

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Big Basin, CA

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

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After experiencing a rather filling Saturday, I wanted to follow up with more training for my Half Dome hike coming up in two weeks, so I felt that the 11mile Berry Creek Falls loop trail at Big Basin was a pretty good challenge. I had done this big hike four times in the past and even twice from the trailhead at Waddell Beach.

Today’s challenge would be the increased weight of my payload. Yesterday’s Hike at the PG&E Trail in Rancho San Antonio was very tough as I overloaded my bag with 37+ pounds of water, snacks, camera gear, and other essentials that I would bring on the approaching Half Dome hike. The heat and weight really wore me down for that 9+ mile hike. Since I know how hellish the last 5 miles of the Berry Creek Falls loop trail can be, I decided that it would be smart to ditch about 5 pounds of weight.

My Canon 5D MKII and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM II attached to it had to stay behind.
It was a slightly crowded day so I had to park a bit further from the trailhead which added to my overall hike. Sunscreen applied, Natural Bug Repellent Sprayed on, and with all my gear accounted for, I set off on the hike.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California’s Oldest State Park, established in 1902. The park protects over 18,000 acres of old growth and recovering Redwood Forests with mixed Conifer, Oak, Chaparral, and Riparian habitats. Elevations range from sea level to over 2,000ft.

“The Berry Creek Falls loop trail is a strenuous one, but it is 96% shaded”
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Berry Creek and Berry Creek Falls were named for Tilford George Berry, a lumberman who built a cabin at the base of the falls. Berry was one of the earliest land speculators in the Big Basin area, arriving as a homesteader in the mid-1860s. Berry was a hermit, and lived his entire adult life near the banks of the creek that would ultimately bear his name.

“Berry Creek Falls, a 70ft+ tall, year round waterfall”
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“From the top of the falls, the scale of people on the newly rebuilt viewing platform is revealed”
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“A lot of Big Basin had been refurbished recently, the wooden planks cover what used to be a rather muddy path”
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“The next waterfall is the Silver Cascade Falls and drops water from a height of just over 60ft up”
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“A closer look at the base of the falls where the massive fallen tree trunks dwell”
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“The stairs go up, up, up, to the next waterfall”
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“Just at the top of the Silver Cascade falls is the home of the 30ft Golden Cascade Falls”
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“Long after the waterfalls, I found an Old Man of the woods”
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“Inside the left eye of Old Man Timber was a curious resident, the vibrant Banana Slug”
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“When I got back to the Starship, I checked my stats and posted them here just below”
(For an interactive map, click the images below)
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The hike was quite tougher than I remembered, but of course that had everything to do with the increased payload and the fact that I was still a little sore from yesterday’s 9 mile hike. I was glad to have brought along my little Canon S120 and a small tripod to finally be able to catch some of the beautiful scenery that this trail has to offer.

I’ve been training rigorously with a personal trainer for the last 4 months and I have about two weeks left of training. I have dropped a total of 24 pounds and shaved off just over 10% body fat to date. I just hope it’s enough for to take on Half Dome in two weeks! I guess we’ll see, until the next post, remember to travel with camera in hand and “Shoot the Planet!”

“Cheers!”
~Indigo

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