Ted's Hiking World Cataract Falls
Mount Tamalpais Watershed

April 23, 2012

My original destination was a fairly lengthy trail over at Point Reyes.  There is so much fog around here today, however, that I believe I will opt for a shorter outing.

The Cataract Falls trail has been on my bucket list, and a minor detour gets me over to the trailhead.  Just one other car is present as I arrive.

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The sign warns of a steep and possibly wet trail ahead, which is expected.

The trail skirts Lake Alpine for a while, before heading up the hill.

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There probably will be a lot of stairsteps today

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Yep

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Minor cascades abound on Cataract Creek

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Some attractions are not well-placed for photographs

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This is more like it

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One of several well-constructed bridges

A short spur trail leads to a pleasant little pool.

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The Grotto

There always are more stairs ahead.

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I am getting the workout I sorely need

Few flowers are out as yet; but the crimson-colored ones always catch my attention.

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Indian Warrior

At the top of the hill, the trail levels out as I approach an area featuring half a dozen picnic tables.  Just beyond it, I decide to turn around.  Although I have not yet seen the road, it must be quite close; they didn't construct this facility just for hikers!

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A nice roadside rest area So there are other hikers here

I have been walking in drizzly fog since the start — not enough to cause me to use the hood on my poncho, but enough to discourage hanging around any spot in particular.  One of the hikers ahead asks whether I have found the sun yet.  Since it has not made an appearance, I opt to start back without further ado.

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The views are pretty much the same going down

Having expected to spend the day walking mostly in soft sand, it doesn't take long for me to realize that I am wearing the wrong boots for this trail.  My new Keen Alamosas served me beautifully in Patagonia last month, enabling me to cover great distances comfortably on dry trails.  But it turns out that these soles are terrible on wet surfaces.

Slipping on a wet rock, where a problem normally would not be suspected, could be downright dangerous if I were off-trail somewhere.  Making a mental note always to keep some Vibram-equipped footwear stashed in my car in the future, I gingerly make my way down the steep steps and wet ground with the help of my walking stick.

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This guy has seen better days

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The nicest spot on the trail

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Finally, a number of hikers are making their way up the trail.  Many are oldsters like me.  I look at a woman quizzically as she asks how the weather was — yesterday.  Then she looks at me quizzically as I respond, "Ninety degrees and sunny".  "In Sacramento!"

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Near trail's end


§: Well, I did it and I'm glad.  Because Cataract Creek dries up by summertime, this was good timing for a visit.  Although I would rather have been here on a nicer day, admittedly all the ferns and other plants were quite pretty when wet.

Several walks to other waterfalls are available nearby; but the prospect of staying around here in the fog just isn't that appealing.  I'll save those trails for another occasion.

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ABOUT BOOT SOLES

Compounds known as "sticky rubber" do excel at grabbing wet surfaces.  The stickiest rubber is used for specialized footwear such as canyoneering shoes.  Vibram, an Italian company, produces a somewhat less sticky version that is used by many makers of quality boots.  Vibram soles grip far better than the cheaper, plain-vanilla compounds used by some vendors.  Of course, tread pattern can be a factor, and Vibram excels at designing those as well.

The relative worthlessness of my Alamosa soles in wet conditions presumably is common to all Keen models.  In light of the fact of a recent lawsuit over a trademark issue, I deem it unlikely that Vibram soles are featured on any Keen products at this time.

All that having been said, my Alamosas are very comfortable; that's why I purchased them.  Their future usage, however, will be dependent upon weather and trail conditions.

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Cataract Falls