The Bubbs Creek Trail follows the South Fork Kings River to Avalanche Creek and on to Bubbs Creek. A little over two miles long, it is the first leg of the hike to Mist Falls (2.5 miles further), which was my ultimate destination. The trail starts out on the north side of the river. Crossing a suspension bridge gets you to the south side where the trail meanders through meadows dotted with ponderosa pine and cedar trees. Towering peaks rise up on both sides of the river dwarfing everything beneath them.
A calm section of the South Fork Kings River. The big boulder in the distance is known as the Muir Rock. From this wide, flat rock, John Muir used to deliver impassioned speeches about the Sierra. When referring to logging the giant trees, he said that mankind may as well "sell the rain clouds and the snow and the rivers to be cut up and carried away, if that were possible."
Narrow spots in the river, along with boulders and rocks in the water, create sections of rough water. I love the sound of the water flowing through these areas.
There were some areas along the trail that required scrambling over rocks, but for the most part the trail was relatively level with open meadows mingled with forested areas. About three quarters of the way down the trail there were several small streams that had to be crossed using rocks as stepping stones, or simply walking through the shallow, swift flowing waters.
But then I came to this. The three logs were 8-10 feet long. The water was about 18” deep and very, very fast. I stuck my hiking stick in to the bottom of the stream and the current almost grabbed it out of my hand. It's hard to see in the photo but once you got across the wet, slippery logs there was a downed tree that you had to get over and another 10 feet or so of water (though it didn't look quite as deep) before you reached the other side.
Three times I made the attempt to cross. The logs were of varying sizes. They were slippery. There was no good footing and I'm not good at walking the balance beam! I looked upstream and down for another way to cross but saw nothing. There was no one else around to offer assistance. Reluctantly, I turned around and walked back the way I had come, disappointed but at the same time, savoring the beauty around me.
Along the way back I thought of my options. I could go to the beginning again and take the trail on the North side of the river but that would make the days hike 12.5 miles instead of the original 8.5 and though the view at Mist Falls promised to be nice (a 50 foot waterfall that drops over a ledge into a boulder-lined pool) I decided not to continue on to the falls.