Title: March 18, 2017 – Stevenson Creek Falls and Million Dollar Mile
Hike Info : Description : Background : Extra Photo's : Flowers and Plants
Trail head: Italian Bar Road
Trail: Million Dollar Mile
Destination:Stevenson Creek Falls
Distance: 12 miles 1
Start Time: 9:00am
End Time: 2:00pm
Travel Time: 5:00 (2.4 mph)
Moving Time: 4:15 (2.83 mph)
Elevation Rise: 1,220'
Maximum Elevation: 2,365'
1Another hike without my GPS. So the times, distances and elevations are best guesses based upon experience and my Fitbit. (Yipee-found my GPS, but after this walk.)
This was the final training hike in a series of five to get ready for the Classic California Half Marathon. The idea behind this one was to walk five hours to the end of the road, to Powerhouse #8 and back. We were to walk about 13-14 miles. But we had a slight problem: we could not go beyond Stevenson Creek Falls. Why you might ask? The Falls were thundering, covering the bridge, making it impassible. So we decided on a different tactic.
We would give our meetup group two options:
- Option A: To hike 7 miles round trip from the trailhead to Stevenson Creek Falls and back. Six of our group took this option. This would take 2 ½ to 3 hours.
- Option B: To hike the full five hours. We would hike to the Falls, then back. Any remaining time we would hike half of the time back towards the falls, giving us the rest of the time to walk back. Four of us took this option.
So we met at Eddie's Bakery at 7:00am and get off about 7:20-there was repeated visits to the bakery for coffee and pastries. A stop in Prather-the last bathroom before or along the trail. Then take off along some backroads-Audberry Road, Jose Basin, and Italian Bar Road-where our trail starts. The trail is a road which Southern California Edison cut into the mountainside 90 years ago-it is still in use.
Shortly along the way, we cross JoseCreek-on a bridge built for trucks. Most of the time before we crossed it, there was water, but way down. Today, there are falls above it running full, along with the creek beneath us. After lingering there for a few minutes, we take off up the road.
|Inside the adit|
|San Joaquin River|
But now we are off again. We start to see the gorge which Stevenson Creek dumps into the San Joaquin. The only thing we are able to see is a bit of white foam where the two combine. But the gorge itself is so deep and the river is at the nadir of the steep V of the gorge. We can look all the way up to mountains which are 8,000' high.
|Stevenson Creek Falls|
Note: This video is courtesy of Bill Redando
|Mist from top|
|Art and Gary|
|Sherri on the road|
|Water down a rock|
|Ken and Gary|
Tired, not looking forward to the drive back. But looking forward to our meal at Velasco's. I have a light meal of a chicken burrito-content. Then it is back to Eddie's to drop off Art and Ken. We get back home around 4:30 to take a shower and enjoy family time.
An adit is an opening cut into the side of a hill or mountain to drain or access something. In the Big Creek project's case, it was to gain access to the tunnel leading through the mountain.
The Big Creek project is a Southern California Edison project dating back to the 1910's. It actually was originally the project of the Pacific Light and Power Company before being taken over by SCE. Its purpose was to harness the San Joaquin River for the use of hydro-power. Since then, the San Joaquin River has gotten the reputation of being the hardest working water in the world. Some links:
- History and description of the project from SCE (pdf)
- Sierra Nevada Geotourism information
- Wikipedia pages
- California Water Board map of the Big Creek Project (pdf)
Flowers and Plants