We were so excited to be making the loop with Hackett Gulch and Longwater Gulch. We never got to do it as we started wheeling after the Hayman Fire of 2002. We came down Hackett Gulch and north along Corral Creek. We had more of Corral Creek to explore, but the sun was going down and we found ourselves staring at the Longwater Crossing. It was time to head back up the hill.
It looked deep. It looked even deeper than Hackett Crossing, and that was pretty deep. Monica went first, and it came within a couple inches of the tops of her 37" tires. It stayed that deep for a few yards before she slowly worked her way out to the other side. Awesome!
Matt went next, and didn't realize until he was on the other side that he stayed in two-wheel drive the whole crossing. That made him need to go a bit faster, and the water came up to his headlights. His Jeep wasn't thrilled about it, but it stayed running.
Chad came last, and he came in fast. The water went over his hood, and he even floated a bit on his way over. Still, he made it through. We were on Longwater!
The climb away from the river on this trail is steep and long. It was a good time, and when we came to one of the few flat spots we stopped to get ready for the rapidly decreasing temperatures and threatening rain. Though it never did more than sprinkle on us, we were happy to have tops and windows put back in.
When we got to Longwater Rock, we discussed it and decided that Longwater Gulch is actually more difficult than Hackett Gulch if you skip Widowmaker Hill. Longwater Rock is steep, and if it was wet it could be very difficult. If you screw up here, it could easily be the last thing you do. The fire left no trees to stop you from tumbling down the hill for a long distance. We all made it up, though, without incident.
The trail just kept climbing, and it was always fun. It was cool to see Little Half Dome from the other side, as we'd seen it from Hackett Gulch earlier. We thought that people probably climbed it all the time, but no one was on it.
It wasn't long before we were out at the trailhead. We took Cedar Mountain Road a short distance to the trailhead for Hackett Gulch, where there was a lot of room to air up. We just finished when it started raining. By the time we got rolling, it was pouring hard.
We had to take a bit of Highway 24 to get back to Lake George, and at one point everyone had to pull off to the shoulder. It was hailing so hard you couldn't see where you were going, and it was thick on the road. Matt just got done replacing his hood and windshield after hail damage, so he wasn't thrilled. But we all made it through without any damage, and soon we were back at our campground in Lake George. It was a fantastic day!
Reports from Other Days: 2
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Longwater Gulch. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.