Trip to the Origin of Aptos Creek

Update:  Please bring your bike. Bring parking pass if you have one.  We will carpool from the entrance to George's picnic area with our bikes.  This would allow us to to bike from the winter gate to Aptos Creek trail saving us 3-4 miles hiking on the fire road.  When we reach Five Finger Falls we will review our situation. Once we go beyond Five Finger Falls there will be no turning back.

This trip is an all day hike. In case we are delayed and have to walk to the road in the dark we should carry flashlights and plenty of snacks and water. Take layers for the weather and extra water shoes.

The trip is approximately  19-20 miles  including 5 miles of following the creek bed after passing Five Finger Falls climbing over log jams, climbing over rock walls, and scrambling up gullies  around  water falls. At the origin we clamber out of the canyon up to Aptos Creek Road. 

There are dozens of trees to climb under and over. The most difficult spot is probably  "the wall". http://img.geocaching.com/cache/large/a9c235e0-7060-487d-bf84-8811b8527d78.png We must stay together through the journey to help each other get through the obstacles. 

Sign up  will be on the waitlist and  needs  organizer  approval and  limited to 8 people. Terms and conditons are on the pages tab. This is a highly risky activity.

Rene' cell (408)[masked]


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  • Rene'

    I wrote up a draft for May 24th on the calendar. Let me know of any suggested additional info or changes.

    April 27, 2014

    • Susan

      I'd love to go again. The 24th would work for me. Thanks. Susan

      April 28, 2014

  • Susan

    Wow Sara I am so impressed! I would love to do it again or a variation of it. Those dates would work well for me. What is the Facebook link? I can't seem to find it. Thanks. Susan

    April 26, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Can someone include the link to see those images?

      1 · April 27, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Dan. Are you on Facebook? If you are send me a friend request, "Sara Kelly Keenan" in Santa Cruz CA, and then I can share all the videos with you including the after dark rescue videos. ;-)

      April 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ps. They are posted on the Facebook page Rene created as our backup way to communicate when the meetup website is down.

    1 · April 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just posted a few videos I made Thursday in the area we will cover....the slide area below the epicenter sign on the Aptos Creek Trail. Climb on the forest that toppled down the ridge into the creek on that fateful day!

    1 · April 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi again everybody. How about May 24 or June 14? Those Saturdays work for me. What do you think Rene? Merritt, you might really like this! I have videos of the downed-tree and rock clusters if anyone wants to see what they are attempting to climb.

    1 · April 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Tomorrow I am going to scramble from the spot where we locked out bikes all the way to Five Fingers Falls in the creek. Then I'll put on dry shoes and take the trail back. I'll be locking my bike at the same spot. Thanks Dan for the idea to do this part of the creek with less elevation change than what we did since I will be alone. I'll let you all know how it goes.

    April 4, 2014

    • Rene'

      Congratulations on the Trail Blazing!! I'm ready for another maniacal obstacle course. Let me know a good date and we'll go for it. We can talk about more details.

      1 · April 25, 2014

    • Donna B.

      Way to go, Sara! Sounds like fun.

      1 · April 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wow, this rain, the falls must be roaring right now. Some people have gone down from the top, just to look at the falls. You would backtrack on the track that we took out. A couple days after the rain stops, would be perfect for some good pictures with the falls. You can look down from the top, then go around the way we scrambled up. But if you go, wait a little or the gully we climbed up from the falls will be too muddy. If you actually wanted to do that, you might want to use a gps receiver to find the exact track down. I have the gpx file that would give one proven route down and back and could send it to you if you wanted it.

    1 · April 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    DAN, is it possible to do this in the future just as we did but doing the creek up to The Wall or near it and then climb out to a trail? If so I would lead this periodically myself. I do believe I was lucky to make it up The Wall and that if I tried it 3 times I'd probably fall once.

    March 23, 2014

    • Donna B.

      That is way cool, Susan!

      1 · March 30, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'm happy for you Susan, Hope to do this myself soon.

      1 · April 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Yes Renee. I'd like to learn more about Mt Whitney as we'll. add me to that list with Susan! :-)

    March 29, 2014

  • Susan

    My Garmin GPS watch battery died just after 8 hours, or just about the time we were near the upper trail. I started it at the bike rack. The stats I got were 4586 elevation gain, 2434 highest elevation. That highest elevation sounds a little high to me??? Dan could we have been that high? It sounds more like the elevation of Santa Rosalia peak. At that point it said we were in 7.2 miles which sounds a tad low, but given all the foliage and stuff sometimes the signal is lost. Here is the link to my GPS page which I don't know if it will link because it is my Garmin Account and may default you to a log in page. But worth a try. I'm still bonked but recovering! http://connect.garmin.com/activity/466285713

    March 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Wow, I just looked at your garmin stats! Thats really interesting...Your heart rate was between[masked] for like 7 hours. Thats a good cardio workout( I know we already knew that)! And it automatically displays the elevation changes. Nice! So you were relatively relaxed, at the Falls while we relaxed (valley in the heart rate), then from there on, it was a grind to climb out. It looks and felt like climbing out of the canyon was the most continuous heart pumping stretch.

      March 25, 2014

    • Susan

      Yes it was a good cardio workout, overall. However my Garmin watch tends to inflate my heart rate so I don't rely that much on it for accurate heart rate. My Garmin bike GPS actually measures my heart rate much more accurately. When I run I use a polar heart rate monitor for better accuracy AND my Garmin GPS for the other stuff. Crazy, I know, I don't do anything with the stats but look at them! Even though it looks high I wasn't about to die....the next day different story!!! I was achy but back out biking by Monday. Doing JMT and Whitney this fall so gotta keep cranking.

      March 25, 2014

  • Anita

    So exciting just to read all the comments!! Way to go you guys!! Woo hoo!!

    March 24, 2014

  • Merritt E.

    Susan,
    I had a conflict and couldn't go...if anyone wants to do this (again), I'm game.....

    1 · March 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Merritt, I thought About you yesterday during the day and how you would love this!!

      March 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'll probably wait to do this route again until next year, when the water is flowing a bit more, and take some pictures of the falls.

      March 24, 2014

  • Merritt E.

    Thanks for the thoughts, Sara. I'm a little concerned about doing this hike if you reached your limit.....I didn't think that was possible ;)

    1 · March 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Yes Merritt. I am pretty sore today, have blisters from being in wet shoes for the 7 hours in the creek, even though I carried a dry pair for dry conditions, and have small cuts around both ankles, wrists and forearms. AND it was the most exciting activity I've done since I completed a 200 mile bike race climbing 10,000 feet across Death Valley in 18 hours in 1997.

      3 · March 23, 2014

  • Sandra P.

    Like Susan, I couldn't make it yesterday, but would LOVE to do it if it is scheduled again. Sounds like it was FABULOUS! Kudos to all of you who went!

    March 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Well, I had a little trouble with my Track, and can't get the elevation chart to work, but here is the map with the track on it:
    http://www.techedadventures.com/GPSAdventures/meetup/hiketrack.png
    The statistics I recorded from the Bike Rack to the Ridge trail, where we hiked out of the canyon, were
    9 miles (all up hill), 3820 feet of vertical climbing.
    This does not include the hike down the road, or the bike ride either way.

    3 · March 23, 2014

    • Donna B.

      Thanks, Dan, for the stats. Those are pretty impressive numbers! I'm going to pat myself on the back now:)

      2 · March 23, 2014

    • Donna B.

      Wow...I just added in the Fire Road & the bike ride...I think we came in at about 21.5 miles (going off the distance shown on the Nisene Marks map)!

      2 · March 23, 2014

  • Susan

    Epic. Awesome. Incredible group of people. Give me another 24 hours and I'll be wanting to do it all over!

    March 23, 2014

    • Rene'

      Advanced stages of Burning Bush Syndrome.

      1 · March 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I took my dog on a 1-mile walk this morning, and thats it, not doing anything more. I'm relieved to hear Sara is not doing another hike today because that would make her be a different species of human.
    I enjoyed the group, and the day thoroughly. Thanks for organizing this Rene!...Statistics will come.

    2 · March 23, 2014

    • Susan

      Ha ha. I felt the same way about Sara tackling another hike today! My Garmin battery lasted about 8 hours. When I upload I'll post the stats I got too. It looks like the tracks I got before the battery died was just a bit below connecting with the upper trail. Glad there was no scoring on style points. I did more belly flops getting up and over things than I did when I was learning how to dive.

      March 23, 2014

    • Rene'

      12 hours of finding a way that gets you there.

      1 · March 23, 2014

  • Donna B.

    Amazing! Thorough planning by Rene' and Dan made this such an epic adventure. Hope to be able to do it again sometime.

    1 · March 23, 2014

  • Rene'

    Outstanding all around! Super group that worked together brilliantly to get through the hundreds of obstacles set before us. Huge thanks to Dan for special guidance through spectacular territory. We've all been through something completely unforgettable.

    1 · March 23, 2014

  • Donna B.

    This was so much fun...I felt like a kid again when we were scrambling...it was invigorating! Thank you Rene' and Dan for guiding us and making this such a great adventure.

    2 · March 23, 2014

  • Anita

    Oh wow, guys!! I can't wait to hear more!!! You guys ROCK!! I feel Meet-up History has been made!! :D

    2 · March 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    THAT was epic!! By hank you Renee for posting this hike and thank you, thank you Dan showing us the way and a very fun slant on hiking, scrambling!! It's Sunday morning at 745 and I don't expect to be able to walk much today, let alone hike. Thank you again what a great group of 5 we made sharing such an adventure!!!

    2 · March 23, 2014

  • Susan

    Only a crazy person would do this hike! I LOVE being crazy. Thanks Rene' and Dan for your astute leadership. EPIC hike.

    1 · March 22, 2014

  • Susan

    Since I will be biking from my home, I plan on meeting the rest of the group at George's, then bike to the trail head together? Does that sound ok? Susan

    March 21, 2014

    • Susan

      I've thought about the ride after, Daniel. Going in I'm not thinking of any issues. I have thought about the ride home....even though it's only 5 miles I may be interested in a ride home if anyone is able to shuttle me home!!!!

      March 21, 2014

    • Rene'

      We plan to leave the entrance at 8 and will see you at George's about 8:10. We'll get you and everyone home.

      1 · March 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm looking forward to meeting people in this group, and really excited about leaving my computer for a whole day of wilderness excess and breathing the forest air.

    1 · March 21, 2014

  • Sandra P.

    I am also having to cancel, very reluctantly. I came down with a bug. I hope someone will do this hike again. I REALLY want to do it! I hope my cancellation gives someone else the opportunity to go. Have a GREAT adventure...look forward to hearing about it.

    March 21, 2014

  • Anita

    Aww, Rats!! I am having to change my RSVP, and will not be on this one after all! Hope to try again on the next go round! Have fun, all!

    March 20, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Renee. Can I change my mind and join you on this? Sara

    March 20, 2014

  • Susan

    I will probably just bike from my home to the beginning of the trail since I live close by. My only concern is the safety of locking the bikes for so long. I won't be riding my "best" bike but I'd hate to lose it. I will bring several strong locks. Anyone with experience locking their bikes that far in the park? I've usually locked mine down by Epicenter where there are lots of people but that won't work in this case. Thanks. Susan

    March 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      There is a metal rack there... Not too many people see it. I've locked my bike numerous times there, and never had an issue. I've also, at different places locked my bike in the bushes out of sight, to a tree, where I can find it later. No guarantees though.

      March 17, 2014

    • Susan

      Thanks Daniel. I think if we do a good job of locking them together it certainly is less appealing to a potential theft. I'm not especially paranoid it's just that recently I got a great deal on a used bike to set up for a commuter bike and I don't want to "jinx" my good deal! LOL

      March 18, 2014

  • Sandra P.

    Thanks Dan & Rene' for your responses. I did see the photo of the wall but I couldn't tell if it goes further up than what shows in the picture or if that is pretty much the whole wall. Still would like to know how far into the hike the wall is. I assume we go down it on the way back ...or is the route back different?
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    March 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      We pass the wall about 3/4s of the way on the way up the creek. The hike will be a big counter clockwise loop from where we park the bikes. Up the creek, climb out of the canyon, back down the ridge trail and fire road. We'll only go through the creek going up, which includes all the obstacles. Its definitely a challenge, but we always find a way to overcome it.

      March 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      That is the whole wall in the picture.

      March 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    So, my experience on this hike is hiding and finding geocaches that I and others have placed in the canyon. First someone put one at 5 finger falls, after finding it we'd go a little farther. The next person would find it and plant another cache a bit farther. Eventually I went with a group with the goal of finding the creek origins. The Wall and the Secret Falls are just our names for geocaches that we hid there. They were obstacles along the way. I've been with parties of 8 people, including plenty of people our age. It mainly takes a determined, can-do attitude to make it, if you have already done some recent 15 mile hikes.
    You can google some of these geocaches and read some of the logs of proud geocachers.
    1. The Secret falls of Nisene Marks (this is not 5 fingers falls, this is a[masked] foot falls, which is spectacular when it is flowing.
    2. The Wall of Aptos Creek (the picture above)
    3. Aptos Creek Pool Challenge

    March 17, 2014

  • Rene'

    Dan's elevation description is excellent. I don't recall any discussion of 600 feet. He may add some information about the wall.

    March 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      The Wall is about 15 feet high...see picture in the link above in description.

      March 17, 2014

  • Sandra P.

    Thanks Daniel for your response about elevation gain. You're saying it's 2000 ft. (total due to up, down, up, down). Somewhere I thought Rene' said it is 600 ft.
    Rene', can you clarify that? Were you just referring to the starting elevation subtracted from the highest elevation reached?
    Also How far into the hike is "the Wall"? & about how high is it? The picture looks a bit challenging but doable. For me "do-able would depend on how tired my legs are at that point and how high the wall is.
    I REALLY want to do this, but I don't want to be holding people back. THANKS!

    March 17, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Total climbing of 2000 feet. But the aptos trail from the parking lot to 5-finger falls has some mild up and down hills that will add maybe 200 feet.

      March 17, 2014

  • Merritt E.

    Daniel,
    My suggestion was for using the mt. bike trail as a short cut...saving time, energy and more interesting than the fire road.....then rejoining Aptos Creek fire rd. at White's Lagoon trailhead.
    As you point out, continuing on the trail past the lagoon would not make sense in the context of this hike....but thanks for mentioning it.

    March 17, 2014

  • Rene'

    The plan is to ride our bikes from the winter gate to the Aptos Creek trailhead and lock our bikes at the bike rack. This is 2 miles each way (4 miles) on the fire road. No other bike riding is planned. The hike( not including the bike ride) is 16 miles.

    March 17, 2014

  • Merritt E.

    Rene',
    When you scramble out, reach the Aptos Creek Fire Rd. and begin your return.....eventually you pass a mt. bike trail that drops down to White's Lagoon which is shorter and more interesting than sticking to the boring fire road past Sand Pt. and down to the beginning of White's Lagoon Tr. Just sayin'......

    March 16, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I agree! that's a really interesting "bike trail"! There is a sign at the start "no bikes", but they often go down it anyways. From the white lagoon, instead of rejoining the fire road, you can continue to follow the ridge path, eventually straight down to the bottom of the incline. But it involves some bushwhacking, and we'll be tired of that.

      March 17, 2014

  • Merritt E.

    Barb, don't think you got your bike rack question answered....as I recall (anyone please correct me if I'm wrong), each official trailhead has a bike rack. So you don't have to lock your bike at Loma Prieta but can ride it to the 'bottom of the incline' and lock it at the Aptos Creek trailhead.
    Wish I was going with you....should I pray for rain and a cancel so I might join on the re-schedule?

    Merritt

    March 16, 2014

  • Barb

    If you lock bikes at the bike rack at the Loma Prieta trailhead - is that what you mean? Either way if you use bikes about what will the total mileage be? I have a bike.

    March 16, 2014

    • Rene'

      Yes. Bike & Hike total mileage is 19-20 miles.

      March 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I can answer that question since I've done this hike a few times.
    If we bike to the Bottom of the incline, it is 480 Feet elevation there...we start hiking here.
    5 finger falls 786 feet. Leave trail here and start rock hopping/ wading/ scrambling.
    Secret Falls 2000 feet (almost at the end)
    Ridge trail after climbing out of canyon 2495 feet.
    Then hike back down the road to the start.
    This entire first half of the hike is one gradual climb, following the creek, then climbing out of the creek. So the entire gain is around 2000 feet plus a couple hills on the aptos creek trail. But even though the elevation change is relatively small compared to some hikes, the physical challenge is when you have to scramble up and over rocks and up and over fallen trees. Its a beautiful canyon, and very few people reach this remote part of the park.

    March 15, 2014

  • Sandra P.

    How much elevation gain? THANKS Rene'!

    -Sandy

    March 15, 2014

  • Susan

    What's the situation for locking the bikes where we would meet up with a trail head? I frequently bike up there but have never left my bike except down by Epicenter Bikes so I don't know the situation for locking bikes further up the fire road.

    March 12, 2014

    • Rene'

      There's a bike rack where the Aptos Creek trail starts. Bring your lock as usual.

      1 · March 12, 2014

  • Merritt E.

    Rene', of course I'd love to join this hike but had already scheduled a wine tasting that day. If the date changes for some reason, please count me in.
    Thanks

    March 12, 2014

  • Joan

    If we bike in, does that reduce the hiking distance?

    March 11, 2014

    • Joan

      Ha! Ha! I meant the distance that you stated in your write-up!

      March 12, 2014

    • Rene'

      Same total distance. Of course we might throw in a few hyperbolas, parabolas, and elipses.

      March 12, 2014

  • Michelle

    What an adventure you're going on!
    Rene you come up with the most interesting ideas.
    Someday my wrecked leg will recover and I will be able to do a 20 miler. In the mean time I'll wish for great weather for your trek!

    March 11, 2014

  • Anita

    Rene',
    Let's go for it!! Donna, Joan and I have done 18 miles there before (West Ridge to Five Fingers and down) and lived to tell the story. So I am ready to go!
    --Anita

    1 · March 11, 2014

  • Susan

    Oh boy. This sounds awesome! Love the scrambling and climbing part.

    March 11, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Whoo Hoo, this is one of my favorite hikes, and the water will be flowing. The reward is great to make it to the falls.

    1 · March 11, 2014

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