Three “Sisters”, three floaties and a lack of nutrition.
14850 Boulder Creek Rd
Julian, CA 92036
Welp, let’s start by saying this is easily the hardest hike i’ve done so far here in San Diego. Don’t let the 2 miles in, 2 miles out fool you. Also, let’s not forget to mention if you plan on driving make sure your car can handle a little off-roading. The benz took a slight beating on this one. However, she held up great. The last 13 miles of the drive are through a windy, dirt road carved into the side of a mountain. Claire and I got a little car sick on the way however the beautiful views kept us motivated to keep going!
Once we arrived to the trail signs we parked the car along the dirt road, gathered our belongings and applied the sunblock. It was MUCH hotter in Julian than home (Pacific Beach). My car was reading 90 degrees. Definitely chose a hot day to hike… be sure to bring lots of water! The first two miles down took us 3 chicks (Keri, Claire and myself) 2 hours. The hike starts out leisurely through windy paths and greenery but suddenly leads to a very steep decrease in elevation. I guess you could say this is the part where most people who may have not finished the hike would turn around. It’s really not too bad as long as you take your time and get your footing right! Keri took one for the team when trying to figure out how to approach the descent – Ran down and completely wiped out. Crazy girl.
It’s important to remember that once you make it down you have to get back up these steep hills! (That was the part I was dreading the entire time we were happily floating in the water once we arrived to the falls.) Also it’s important to bring some snacks, extra water maybe even a gatorade. Us girls really blew it when it came to this. We basically starved ourselves for the day. Idiotically I ate an apple for breakfast, Keri had some watermelon and Claire the smart one had an actual hearty breakfast. I mentioned the idea of stopping on the way to grab lunches to pack for the hike however per usual my excited but lazy self didn’t want to take the time to stop because I just wanted to just get there. WORST DECISION EVER. Us girls were exhausted and hungry by the time we reached the waterfall. I guess it makes sense seeing as we got to Julian around 12pm and stayed down in the falls until about 4pm. Then had to hike back up to the car another hour and a half and drive an hour to get home! So note to everyone… eat more than a piece of fruit for breakfast and bring lunch and plenty of snacks this is an all day excursion! On a positive note us girls are all now better hikers due to our failures in being prepared on hikes such as Three Sisters. In a nut shell if you don’t pack snacks you will look end up like this (pictured below).
^ The second waterfall.
Once we arrived to the second waterfall we were questioning the idea of swimming in the water due to the fact that we had just seen a water snake. The water was a bit murky and there were lots of weeds and water plants. We wanted to make it up to the third waterfall to see if it would be better for swimming. In which it certainly was! To get to the third waterfall you have to cut across the second waterfall depending which way you hiked up (we hiked up on the left if facing the third waterfall). Once you cut across there are two ropes which lead up to the third waterfall. The third waterfall it where it’s at! There’s an actual run off where you can float through it. It reminded me of those waterfalls in the pools when you stay in the all-inclusive resorts in Mexico. However, this was a natural waterfall! Such a beautiful place.
^ The third waterfall.
Keri and Claire blew up their floaties (a lizard for Keri and a whale for Claire). Once the floats were ready we all took the plunge collaboratively on a 1, 2, 3 count. The water wasn’t too cold and Keri wiped out once again. Her float flipped causing her to be the first in the water. We each spent about 5-10 minutes with our feet up with the fear of them touching something creepy not realizing how shallow the water actually was. When we stood up it was pretty much below the waist.
We took turns going through the waterfall. The water was so refreshing… especially after that incredibly hot hike down. We spent about an hour messing around in the falls before drying off. While drying off a helicopter flew by and I genuinely wished they would’ve just sent a rope down and picked me up because I was not feeling the hike back up.
^ The hike back up is that small, brown dirt path, back left in the photo. The hike back to the car was when I started to second guess why we did this hike. I haven’t been that physically exhausted in a while. Claire prior to the hike mentioned it’s a hot day and to let each other know if we were feeling light headed. Me 5 hours later on the hike back up: “I can hear and feel my heartbeat in my head is that bad?” Safe to say the hike back up consisted of several stops for water and catches of the breath.
Shoutout to Claire for bringing her camelbak backpack of water and a few extra granolas for Keri & I. We continued up the trail eventually making it back to the top. It felt like the trail just kept growing on the last stretch of flat land back to the car. However we eventually made it to the car and all agreed to stop and grab a gatorade and snacks at the first sign of civilization we saw. Although the hike was tough it was rewarding to know that if you just push yourself it’s really not THAT bad. Such a rewarding feeling questioning your physically ability to do something then actually doing it! It reminded me of the days we’d be running full out at practice high school, college whatever and I seriously thought I was going to give-up, collapse, die, etc however something kept me going and I got through! It also gave me a flashback to that time sophomore year in college when Clare and I went to Rocky Road for a party to celebrate during our birthday weekend wearing mini skirts and high heels in the middle of winter, the party got broken up, taxis were impossible to catch, it was snowing and we were forced to stand in the middle of the road for at least an hour. That night I knew we were NOT walking back to the dorms. I considered knocking on a rando’s door for warmth or curling up in the ball and hoping for the best… but somehow we made it home safe n sound! WOW. Classy night. Miss those days – Clare, Nat, Court, Mol.
Anyways, enough with the college reminiscing. Here are some more awesome pictures from the hike to Three Sisters!
Check it out next time you have a day off… Although it was one of the most difficult hikes it was definitely the most rewarding hike so far!!