Sunday, March 25, 2012


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Cataract Falls hiking trail on Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, California

Waterfalls and redwood forest make a great place for hiking !!

JimH & I drove through Fairfax, CA and took the scenic Bolinas Fairfax Road to the trailhead at Alpine Lake Reservoir.

Cataract Falls Trail - Road map, topographic map, satellite map and pdf map.

• PDF map: Watershed Visitor Maps - Marin Municipal Water District.
• Map book: California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.

Online map user instructions. Click and drag to reposition this interactive map.
• The tool on the left zooms in and out. Point on the red markers to see the names.
• Map=roads. Satellite=satellite map. Terrain=3D shaded topo map. Topo=topographic map.
Full-Screen online map - Cataract Falls Trail.

Coordinates - landmark (marker).
N 37.93651 W 122.63785 - Trailhead elevation 680 ft (A)
N 37.92362 W 122.62738 - Rio Dell elevation 1660 ft (B)

Cataract Falls trail to Laurel Dell is delightful on the first sunny day after a rainstorm !!

The Cataract Falls Trail starts along the placid shores of Alpine Lake Reservoir then rises steeply for 1.6 mi to Laurel Dell on the north slope of Mount Tamalpais. After a bit of hiking we started to hear the sounds of the waterfalls on Cataract Creek. There are multiple waterfalls and lots of whitewater in between them. The incredible sparkle and energy of the creek are with you the entire way up the trail to Laurel Dell.

Doubleclick on the photos to see the large size image - use the back button to return.

waterfall at Cataract Falls Trail, Marin County

waterfall at Cataract Falls Trail, Marin County

The canyon has a lush, beautiful, second growth redwood forest with lots of interesting ferns, mosses and the occasional spring flower on the forest floor.

fungus at Cataract Falls Trail, Marin County

mosses at Cataract Falls Trail, Marin County

flower at Cataract Falls Trail, Marin County

More photos: 2012-03-18 Cataract Falls, Marin County.

Going There and Coming Home

On this trip we had a rare opportunity to get both breakfast and dinner at Betty Lou's Bar & Grill in Vacaville, CA. Scrambled eggs, home fried potatoes and coffee fortified us for the hike. Then on the way home we stopped there again for corned beef & cabbage, some dark beer and a Harry Potter movie.

Additional information:
Waterfall Hiking in California - websites - BRT Insights.
Hiking Trails in California - Davis Wiki.
Hiking, Biking & Camping Trip Reports & Photos - BRT Insights.
• Digital Camera: Canon PowerShot A490. Photos edited with IrfanView and GIMP software. Video edited with Windows Movie Maker and YouTube tools.

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Friday, March 09, 2012


Cooperation Restores Access to Cache Creek at Rumsey Bridge (Yolo County, California)

Guest authors: Shawn O’Brien & Walter (Lee) Schmelter

Dear Paddlers and Friends,

Recreational access to Cache Creek at Rumsey Bridge has been restored! Since the 1930's the public enjoyed access to beautiful Cache Creek via the Rumsey Bridge access point. River users were disappointed and frustrated when in the spring of 2010 public access was illegally blocked.

(Doubleclick on the pictures to see the larger image - use the back button to return.)

Before: Rumsey Bridge across Cache Creek - access blocked by huge debris pile, Spring 2010.
Cache Creek river access blocked at Rumsey Bridge

After more than a year of negotiations we were able develop a workable solution with the cooperation of the landowners. Impetus for resolving the easement blockage originated from two concerned paddlers - Shawn O'Brien of Ukiah (myself) and attorney Walter (“Lee”)) Schmelter of Sacramento - but we would not have been successful without the assistance of many others. Several groups and individuals made significant contributions of time and effort to this project, including Yolo County; the California Conservation Corps (which built the access path as a community service project); Senator Mike Thompson's office; Andrew Fulks of Tuleyome; the California State Land Commission; attorney John Holland; and the local residents of Rumsey. All were all pivotal players.

During: California Conservation Corps clearing the easement January 12-13, 2012.

CCC clearing the easement for Cache Creek at Rumsey Bridge

The newly designated path, construction gifted by the California Conservation Corps, is across the river from Rumsey, on river-left, upriver and parallel to the bridge. The landowners agreed to a ten-foot wide path - though the recorded Hwy. 41 easement

extends but three feet on either side of the bridge. One good wide path is a better arrangement for all. Public parking is permitted on the upstream side of the bridge, and is discouraged on the downstream side of bridge. Of course, use discretion when deciding how many vehicles can park along the road. Plentiful and visible parking is available a short walk away at the Rumsey Post Office on Route 16. When putting-in or taking-out please stay within the ten-foot wide path parallel to the bridge, being mindful of private property.

The Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) donated "Pack it in Pack It Out" signs, which were reworked by Yolo County Maintenance Dept. However, no maintenance of this site is planned by Yolo County. Fellow river-users (as always) are strongly encouraged to help maintain this access point, including trash removal and control of vegetation overgrowth along the existing path while respecting private property. Invasive non-native tamarisk trees are an issue at this site: Historic photos show that without maintenance it took less than six years for tamarisk to completely overtake this site. Many thanks to all the individuals who contributed to this positive outcome by posting our letters, providing historical usage statements and photographs and providing many important contacts we could not easily have made on our own.

After: Newly designated agreed access path at Rumsey Bridge.

new access path for Cache Creek at Rumsey Bridge

Happy Paddling,
Shawn O'Brien (
Lee Schmelter, Attorney at Law (
65 Thirty Sixth Way, Sacramento, Ca. 95819
Phone: 916 457.9001
FAX: 916 457.3200

For more information:
• (update) As rivers flow, so should public access - Editorials - Sacramento Bee 27march2012
• (update) California creeks, levees may be next battleground for public access - Sacramento Bee 25march2012.
Cache Creek access issues at Rumsey Bridge - Letters needed to document history of public usage 04dec2010.
Cache Creek Wild and Scenic - Whitewater Paddleboating Overview.
Securing paddleboater's legal rights to whitewater river kayaking, rafting and canoeing in California and Nevada.
West Coast River Touring - Rogue River Canyon and South, 1974. (pg. 197-201, book describes Cache Creek boating, including access at Rumsey Bridge)

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Hooked on Hiking: Northern California: 50 Hiking Adventures - book review.

Hooked on Hiking: Northern California: 50 Hiking Adventures describes 50 hikes in Northern California from the Oregon border south to Big Sur and from the coast to the Sierra. The hikes are all daytrips, ranging from easy to challenging. This "book" is printed on thick cardboard and bound by punching a hole in the cards and threading them on a carabiner. One side of each card has a description of the trail and the other side has a small topographic map of the trail. I've hiked six of the trails and all of them were awesome. I'm eager to try out more of these trails in the future.

See more about:
Reviews - Books, Videos, and Websites - BRT Insights.
California Maps - Atlas & Gazetteer by Delorme, 2008.
California Hiking Trails Directory - BRT Insights.

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