July 15, 2017
Lewis Creek Trail to Corlieu Falls
Total distance walked: About one mile
Back in January, I wrote that my goals for the year included a summer backpacking trip. Together with Chris and our kids, we came up with a weekend in July that worked for everyone. We dubbed it the backpacking weekend.
All the good Yosemite spots fill up quickly. By May I began fretting. I had not picked a place for our backpacking weekend nor reserved a permit. Chris suggested that we have the kids come here and do day hikes in place of backpacking. After hiking all day, we could return to the comforts of home, to good food and soft beds—the things we crave while backpacking. The more I thought about it, the better I liked it. Everyone agreed to the plan, and the backpacking weekend became the hiking weekend.
A list of scenic hikes played like a movie reel through my mind—trails to snowcapped mountains, sweeping views from granite domes, picnics by crystal-clear lakes, flower-filled meadows and alpine forests. Would three days be enough to cover it all?
July arrived hot and sunny. The kids and their dogs came home for the hiking weekend. Tioga Road was finally open for the season and I was eager to get going. Our first planned outing was a short hike and picnic at cooler Tuolumne Meadows, but no one was interested. Instead we ate lunch in our air conditioned home, played a game afterwards, then napped.
That evening I conveyed my plan to the group for the next day’s eight mile hike to Spillway Lake. They had a few last-minute requests: no long walks, no mountain climbing, a short drive to the trailhead, must bring the dogs. I laughed to myself. Obviously, my understanding of the hiking weekend was different from theirs.
Early Saturday morning we headed to Lewis Creek, a dog-friendly trail in the Sierra National Forest. It was a quick ride from home.
A sign at the trailhead warned of mountain lion activity. We did not see mountain lions or any other animals, but did come across an alien-looking being.
After a half-mile downhill walk through the canyon, the trail took us to a viewing platform situated across from Corlieu Falls. We watched the foaming swirls and heard the thundering natural force of the fall. It was cooler there.
Leaving the platform, we continued down to the creek passing a variety of wildflowers along the way.
A large, branchy oak tree stood like nature’s playground between the trail and the creek.
We said goodbye to the old oak jungle gym and returned to the trail where we trudged uphill to the car.
The backpacking turned hiking weekend was not what I had envisioned it to be. Though my legs wanted long, vigorous walks, my heart was content and happy. Sharing quality experiences—whether backpacking, day hiking or at home on the sofa—is what makes us a happy family.