Kelsey Creek to Maple Falls 5-10-17

Photos by Francie, John and Keeley

Nine hikers started today at various times, with the goal of seeing Maple Falls, some 2,200 feet higher and 4.5 miles away. This included 2 experienced hikers from Klamath Falls and 7 locals, under clear skies (some smoke from a nearby burn zone) and 70 degree weather. From my perspective, this was going to be an average hike through the forest and up to the falls, have lunch and return.

However, it was anything but average. Kelsey creek was in high gear and putting on a show. There were so many 10 to 15 foot waterfalls, one lost track. Then we saw an adult black bear (around 6 feet high and weighing in at 250 to 300 pounds) running away along the creek, then up the steep hill across our trail and up out of sight. There were several small landslides on the trail, but nothing too difficult to handle (until the end - keep reading). The flowers were reasonable with Lupine starting to flower along the trail. We saw many dogwoods in bloom, which were spectacular.

Most of the downfall on the trail was easily managed, with two big exceptions. Siide creeks were flowing and most were easily crossed, until we hit a rather challenging one near the top. Seven of us made it across, some taking their shoes off, some jumping from rock to rock with grace and another, well, with not so much grace (splash).

Maple Falls is usually completely hidden in the trees and we have lunch on the topside of the falls. However, due to a 1/4 mile long land slide from above, sliding directly at the falls, the area was completely cleared of trees and replaced with dirt plus large rocks. Mother nature was in full force and displayed her strength at this location. So we had lunch, not above the falls, but below, looking up at the rapidly descending river.The trail was completely wiped out and it was 1 PM (I was hungry). Then, on the way down, we saw an 18 inch long rattlesnake crossing the trail. After getting a bit close, it coiled up in the nearby bushes and we decided, after taking a picture, to move on down the path.

Due to the hour of completion, we went straight home.

Keeley

Ashland Hiking Home

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