Hike down from Giant Mountain campsite

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I got up around 6:30, ate a Zone Bar and some fruit, and started breaking down camp. Grace got up a few minutes later and we disassembled the tent and packed everything. We got a sprinkling of rain just before we left, but otherwise we were again very lucky with the weather.

When we got to the sign pointing to the top of the falls, we decided to check it out. We made our way over the rocks to within about twenty feet of the precipice, and then it got interesting. A careless hiker might walk to the precipice, holding casually onto the three-foot-high shelf of stone running along the left of the stream bed, not noticing that one misstep would send him careening down a series of slippery depressions in the rock, into the notch, and down over the falls.

I was acutely aware of what would happen if I slipped, so I made my way gingerly along that shelf. Then I stepped out onto the precipice, which was even more disconcerting. It sloped away gradually so that there was no place where one could say “That’s the edge.” It was the most vertiginous spot in recent memory, because something in me wanted desperately to take just one more step out onto that slope so that I could see over the edge. And that is exactly how people get killed in spots like that: they reach the point of no return before they realize it.

So I got what view I could from a safe vantage point, worked my way very carefully back past the treacherous flume, and crossed the notch on some relatively flat rocks. I took the picture of the notch from a point that was absolutely as close as I dared get; even then I was nearly trembling with vertigo. Man, ya gotta watch that first step — it’s a doozy.

I got some shots of the woolly aphid colony I’d spotted as we approached the falls, and we hiked the rest of the way down to the car. And that completed our first high peak climb.

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