The return journey took probably 1-1.5 hours. Totally brutal. Every steep slope we had climbed on the way up looked entirely more treacherous on the way back down (especially now that if we started slipping, it was a face first dive into DOOM, which is for some reason more scary than rump first, if only because you can see the danger and cannot ignore it).
Iâ€™m obviously here to write this story, so we made it back safe and sound. That would be the end of the story in a non-ironic world, but we, at least Alicia and I, do NOT live in that world. When we reached the paved path again (this time it didnâ€™t look so disappointing, even to us naturalists) we gazed upon a sight that we had missed in our eagerness to reach the falls so many hours prior. No more than 30 feet DOWNstream of the waterfall, there was a HUGE gorgeous pool to swim in, which required nothing but a hop over a fallen tree to get to, and provided everything we were looking for. Having just exerted ourselves in the California sun for 2 hours, we jumped in. And let me tell you, I now know joy.