2023 Feb 20 | Alamere Falls hike with Monica, Mongolian New Year

Ogii showed Chemka around San Franciso today; Monica and I hiked to Alamere Falls. Pulling out of the parking lot in the morning, I hit a pylon and scratched Ogii's RAV4 a bit.

And also hit the side mirror.

Thankfully those just turn out of place, so you can turn them back, and the outer plastic shell snaps off and back on.

Looking south towards San Francisco along the coast.

A rather skinny road.

I had read that the parking lot can fill up by 8am, so we got there at 7am since it was a three-day weekend. Not many people here yet.

It's around a 15-mile hike round trip.

At the start.

There's occasional poison oak you need to watch out for.

Through some tall trees.

Out onto an open trail.

With the ocean far below.

Into some woods.

You want to go after some heavy rain, so the waterfall is good, but not too recently after the rain, so the trail isn't too muddy.

This was the only area where there was a bit of water you had to navigate around. We just walked on the branches.

Bass Lake.

Sun through the trees.

There's an infamous shortcut. The entrance is just a space in the trees, but at least for now, there's an arrow made out of rocks pointing to it.

Through some trees.

A more open area. It's still quite a ways to the shortcut, which is a steep hike up and down by the waterfall, and all of the hiking guides warn against taking it. We thought we would be fine, but just to be safe, we decided to turn back and take the longer route, which adds around three miles to the trip.

The longer route goes through Wildcat Campground. Either of these routes goes there.

Some mushrooms.

Bright flower.

Fairly flat area.

Then up a bit.

Looking back, you can see Pelican Lake.

A bench with a great view.

Monica taking a break on the bench.

She actually got a bit of a phone signal with Verizon, so we called Ogii.

There was a bird chirping there.

Droplets on a leaf.

We're almost to the campground. If you camp, you have to carry much more with you; I'd rather just do the day trip like we're doing.

I don't think I'd even want to let a horse drink that.

There were some elk hanging out just above the campground.

A small herd of just under ten of them.

We stopped to have an early lunch.

Lots of portable food.

There was plenty of toilet paper in the bathrooms.

Some weird plants.

We had been hiking north. Now were hike south on the beach for around a mile to the falls.

We were actually starting around high tide, which you have to be careful about because the water might come all the way to the cliffs, and then you have nowhere to go. We were going to wait, but other people were walking, so we thought we'd go, too, and just keep an eye on the water.

A little stream.

So far the water isn't even close to the cliffs.

The water would roll all of these rocks around and make lots of noise.

Interesting, multi-colored water flowing through here.

Some big bushy plants.

You could see where the tide had reached to by the semi-circular lines and where the previous hiker tracks on the right disappear.

Very red log that washed up.

I see the falls ahead.

The water came up a bit closer here, but still not to the cliffs.

Following the trail of previous hikers.

We made it!

Us in front of the falls.

The water in slow motion.

It's a tidal fall, which means the water flows directly into the ocean.

There were a few other people there already.

A piece of a starfish.

Monica using some ocean thing...

... as a way to grab this bottle.

People on top of the falls.

And taking the shortcut down.

A video of a few of them.

People were even bringing their kids down the shortcut on their backs. That seems rather dangerous.

My noon, many more people showed up.

I wanted to stay until sunset, but it was pretty sunny out, so I flipped my hoodie around and covered by face with that.

More people walking up and back the long way.

A few people went out swimming.

Riding horses.

A lot more people on the shortcut.

Now there's even a line to take the shortcut.

Monica wanted to walk out to these rocks, except the water came up unexpectectly high and got her feet all wet.

She did find a really neat shell.

The water from the fall went into the sand and seeped underneath it until coming back out down here.

A little rainbow in the middle.

Drying my sock out on top of the tripod.

Monica brought an extra pair of dry socks, but her shoes were still wet.

So she used Ziplocks to keep her shoes from getting her socks wet.

There was a stick with a tag on it. I wonder if it's to measure erosion or the size of this crack?

Some big waves crashing farther out while this couple looked for animals in the tide pools. I thought there were be a lot, but we didn't see any.

By sunset, almost everyone else had left.

Taking the shortcut back up.

Me getting a picture from the top of the falls.

Looking down over the edge.

Don't want to fall over.

This was really pretty; some smaller waterfalls above the big one. We have to cross over them to get back to the trail.

Another set up steep climbs. This one was actually more slippery, but still nobody fell.

We brought headlamps because we had planned on hiking back in the dark.

Everyone else just used their cell phones.

Back across the wet area. This is a picture with my new Galaxy S23.

And this is with my old Galaxy S10. The new one takes much better night pictures.

Monica coming across. Don't fall in.

Stars with the new phone; they're very easy to make out.

With the old phone, you can barely see any.

Some very loud frogs.

Almost to the parking lot.

A salamander.

I haven't seen one of those in years; we mostly have lizards here.

After 15 miles, back at the car.

Trip reports had said to not drive a car and take a truck instead, but for the most part, the road wasn't very bad. This area was a little elevated, but a car could still make it.

Monica was really hungry, so we stopped at a 7-Eleven. They had one piece of pizza left.

Which I grabbed, along with a hot dog. Overall, it was a great hike, and I'm glad we took the long way there, because we got to see a lot of neat things that way, but also glad we took the shortcut back, because it saved some time.

The next morning, my legs were pretty tired, so I went and got a massage.

It was right across the street from Monica's hotel, so that made it easy.

That night, we had Mongolian New Year dinner with Ogii's and Chemka's family chatting via the phone.

Some champagne.


Mochi for dinner.

I had a lot of bags to carry.

Rules for the new year.

Ogii made dough dog heads.

So we could take them outside.

And bury them. And I just noticed, that leaf looks awfully shiny; I wonder if that's poison ivy. Looks like I avoided it.

An offering for Ogii's mom and Buddha.

I found the first coin in the dumpling breakfast.