mission failed

When You Don’t Reach Your Destination – Preston Falls, Stanislaus NF

Hiking with a destination in mind it sort of my thing. I like goals – or at least a solid turnaround point/time. I don’t like it when I can’t reach my planned destination. I hate it when I miss my destination without even knowing.

That is what happened today on my hike to Preston Falls – I walked 4.4 miles, like All Trails said, and I did reach a fall. I was a little underwhelmed, but whatever. It was alright I got to enjoy a hike in the Stanislaus that was closed off a week ago. Goal accomplished, right? Wrong.

Now that I am back I have loaded my GPS into the map, and bam I was a half mile short of the real Preston Falls. I somehow missed the trail, or got distracted thinking I was at the falls, or I had walked exactly the distance it said that that falls would be at, so I don’t know, I guess I assumed. I assumed wrong.

This is not Preston Falls

This is where I turned around. It is pretty, it is the Tuolumne after all, but Preston falls it is not!

There are lots of good reasons to miss your destination – weather, injury, acknowledging that you are outside your ability, insufficient daylight, crazed mama bears blocking the trail, snow fields, high water, and the list goes on… but having a crappy topo map is not a good reason. I had a terrible topo map, no trail & no falls marked. I’m so upset with my own planning skills right now.

Of course I still had a nice day of hiking and enjoying the Tuolumne. The tiny waterfall is cute, and would make for a great swimming hole. I am sure there is a metaphor for life here somewhere (you win some, you lose the trail on some?) … But imagine how much more satisfying this hike would have been if I made it to Preston Falls proper. Plus I was SO CLOSE.

Anyhow, next time Preston Falls I am walking 5 miles to find you – and I am going to enjoy the crap out of you, you elusive waterfall. This is not over.