One for the it’s-hell-getting-old file (whose corollary is “holy shit I get more like my old man every day”): My dad got his absent-mindedness from his old man and thoughtfully passed it along to me.

Because I’ve been trying to figure out how to take pictures of moving water in forests, which is pretty much impossible without a tripod, I really needed to take my little Gorillapod along. Naturally I realized I had forgotten it 20 miles down the road to Big Basin.

(This is going somewhere, I promise).

So there I was about four miles down the Skyline to the Sea Trail where a couple wooden plank bridges cross a creek, Gorillapodless, when I thought it’d be cool to just set the camera on the edge of a plank and see if any cool images ensued.

I was bending down when the camera slipped out of my hand. I was quick enough to save it from falling in the creek, but it fell just far enough (four inches max) to jam the mechanism and turn itself off, never to turn back on again.

Normally I’d get in to a raging fit of pique over something like this, but after you’ve killed a few digital cameras on the trail, you pretty much know it’s living on borrowed time the minute it enters the woods. I took over 4,000 shots with it, so it had a good life. I was like “so much for that one” and on my way.

I couldn’t have walked 60 seconds before turning the corner to see Berry Creek Falls shimming in the late morning sun.

I did take a few pictures on the way there — might as well take a look at them:

Little bridge

A little bridge not far from the park HQ along the Skyline to the Sea Trail.

Trees, live and dead

Wow, was that sky ever blue.

Another bridge

This along the Alternate Trail on Skyline to the Sea — it’s a nice little detour with a bunch of ancient redwoods.

Creek spill

Water in the West Waddell Creek is flowing well. This is a hand-held quarter-second time exposure, using the auto shutter release. One of the last shots before the cam gave up the ghost.

So, thoughts on doing this hike sans camera: The rangers try to encourage folks to start out on the Sunset Trail and return on Skyline to the Sea, but after today I’m convinced the only advantage of a Sunset-first route is to miss some of the crowds on a weekend.

Coming back on Skyline to the Sea really turns into a death march — uphill for four miles. It’s not super steep but it gets really, really old, which is a shame because it’s the prettiest part of the park. Much more fun on fresh legs.

Also, climbing up past the falls on the Berry Creek Trail is far less harrowing that trying to go down. Incidentally, Silver Falls and the Golden Cascade were even more gorgeous than usual on Monday.

Something to keep in mind if you get an early start on this hike: it’s seriously cold at the park HQ first thing in the morning. I was practically running up the trail to get warmed up. It’s a welcome bonus in the middle of July when it’s 101 in San Jose, but this time of year, bring your gloves and fleece.

Be ready to dodge muddy areas and pick your way through a couple fallen trees; I’ve had much worse at Big Basin.

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