Uvas Canyon County Park
It has been a long time since I visited a waterfall in a misty green meadows.I was pining for trying all those skills I have gathered to shoot a waterfall reading articles online and photography blogs.
|Waterfall in the creek|
Uvas Canyon County Park situated on the East side of Santa Cruz Mountains offers a beautiful jungle trail crossing a number of waterfalls in its way. In a late spring Sunday morning I didn't find a better option for a day hike just driving about 1 hour from Downtown Mountain View to see the waterfalls in its flow.When the destination comes closer,the view changes to blue-green valley and rocky mountains just enough to give an adrenaline rush to explore what's inside.
As usual its hard to find the parking spot when the GPS doesn't do that for us. But its lucky us,as we followed the lead of some other cars and paying the parking fee as well as taking a trail map we started our day.
|Testing with Shutter Speed|
Just entering the trail,crossing a little wooden bridge,we saw our first waterfall.Although its a small one,still the sound of running water in the creeks,I knew the hiking is going to be exciting as well as great learning opportunity for my waterfall shoot-out. Walking another 0.4 miles there is a fork which goes up inside the evergreen forest in a narrow slope of wet rocks to the Black Rock Falls.The mossy landscape,slow chirping of birds,few water habitats creating a rainbow effect in the glimpse of sunshine coming from the tall-grown trees,reminds me of some ancient time when the Tribal Indians gathered here for seasonal hunting and camping inside the canyon.
|The Upper Falls|
Two other waterfalls on the Loop Trail were Basin Falls and the Upper Falls which was the most beautiful of the lot.I spent a significant amount of time setting up my camera and trying different lenses,angles and shutter speed to experiment with waterfall photography.Though with limited experience I was lost how to adjust the broad mid-day sun with the slow shutter speed to take that effect of bridal veil without burning the photo!
|Way to Knobcone Point|
Of course its boring for your company for a day hiking who is not into photography.So,its time for the real show - paying attention to the actual hiking we came for. The 0.4 miles to reach the Knobcone Point was the steepest hike I have made in USA so far and a backpack full of camera equipment,water and the scorching afternoon sun, made it worse.Though the view was worth the toil.The wildflowers still in bloom,vast open view of chaparral shrubland in the Santa Cruz Mountain range soothed the eyes. There was a nice picnic bench on the summit,though the trail was completely empty because of its steepness and many people came here,enjoy the most traveled waterfall loop trail with several picnic spots here and there,to share few bites of snack and chat with their friends and family.
|Crossing the waterfall was fun|
The downward slope was a bit challenging for me,from the Knobcone Point as I actually had to learn how to put my steps to avoid an injury falling from the steep slide of the trail.We didn't take the same route back,rather opted for crossing a small waterfall to climb uphill to take the Contour Trail. It was fun and tickling of the cold water of my bare feet which again refueled me apart from the low calorie granola bars!
|Green Contour Trail|
The entire 1.4 mile trail was up and down slope inside the forest with shady evergreen trees,the air filled with heavy refreshing scent of Eucalyptus and some other unknown leaves and wildflowers, sounds of rushing water and slow chirping of resident birds.
When we reached the Alec Canyon we had an option to go more toward the jungle and another falls which would be no less than 2 miles to and from. So we decided to walk back down to the starting point as it was already time for sunset and 4.5 miles walk for a day was enough for the starters after a long break for such hiking!
Well, hopefully I will get enough chances to come back here as there are still 2-3 untouched trails in the Canyon. Next time the target would be to increase difficulty level with respect to number of miles and steepness in any other trail in California State Park or National Parks. Overall a great experience and refreshing treat for mind and body to go on the entire week.
More information about the trails,location and how to reach, you can take a look at this page.