Here is a series of broad-ass, big-shouldered tanks of water such as mortals seldom see. At the top hole, noonday sun penetrated the smoky emerald water to a depth of 15 feet without hitting the bottom. The tank is 40 feet from wall to wall. Sides are sheer except for a lovely rock terrace. The fall is wide compared to its downstream cousins, but relatively short at a mere 12 feet high. The terrace is on one side of the fall. On the other is a ledge more than 35 feet high.
Five Pools is a rugged approach through about three miles of alder-choked canyons without benefit of a trail. The brush was so thick, I had to wear a helmet. Catís claw is ubiquitous. Poison oak abounds. You might also need to wade or even swim short portions. In addition to any amphibious gear, sturdy boots and a good hiking pole are strongly recommended. Best if you have bionic knees and a Teflon serape, too. Budget at least three hours of travel time in both directions.
Also, getting to the terrace will require a short, hand-over-hand descent via a rope. There might be one knotted to a tree on the left as you approach from upstream. Better yet, bring 60 feet of line and some runner.
Bonus Feature: Just below the hole is a short slide. It spills into a tub perched right at the lip of the second fall.
Copyright Running Water Publications 2000